Trug und Schein: A Correspondence

09. August 1938

[380809–2‑1]

O., on August 9, 1938

Dear Herr [Nord­hoff]!

Accom­pa­nied by your best wis­hes for a new begin­ning, I ent­e­red my work­place again on Mon­day. I must say it was easy for me to begin a who­le new year. At first the new sur­roun­dings had a plea­sant affect on me. We girls are now by our­sel­ves in a bright, airy room with seven lar­ge win­dows. The­re are con­tai­ners in each of the win­dows with plants of all kinds, which we tend to our­sel­ves. Yes, we intend to build our own small per­fect idyll under the mot­to: “utmost clean­li­ness.” Our male col­leagues shall be in awe as soon as they enter. It’s all good and well, the only ques­ti­on is whe­ther ever­yo­ne will stick to this reso­lu­ti­on. The best part is that I have the who­le room at my back; when I look up, I look right out into the gar­den. When autumn comes and it beco­mes more and more color­ful out­side until the trees are naked and bald, it won’t be so lonely. I have a clear view and can always see the train. You are not allo­wed to think that I am lazy. I have to moti­va­te mys­elf with some­thing, must watch, other­wi­se I won’t be able to stand it. Some sit the­re and sta­re at the machi­ne all of the time, I belie­ve what litt­le is left of my spi­rit would com­ple­te­ly whither.

On Sunday we had com­pa­ny from Hal­le to cele­bra­te my Grandmother’s bir­th­day. Isn’t it quaint that she tur­ned 80 on the eighth day of the eighth mon­th of 1938. She isn’t showing her age, she is still so spry. The rela­ti­ves were here on Sunday and today, the­re are so many dis­trac­tions. I still want to wri­te you today even if it’s almost 10 o’clock — You will wait. You are now in L.; I am so sor­ry about your mother, that she is left to her own devices with the care of your grand­mo­ther. When I read bet­ween the lines, I have been able to figu­re out that she lives in the fami­ly home. It is often dif­fi­cult to appease old peop­le — hope­ful­ly her con­di­ti­on will impro­ve.

To come back to the pic­tures. I know I have sin­ned, we were both some­what exci­ted; I will main­tain my com­po­sure in the future. Good that you asked me for them, they will keep the pic­tu­re of me fresh; but only this time, next time you’ll get not­hing to see. The out­co­me is also not good whenever one is pho­to­gra­phed direct­ly after having one’s hair done. I’ll be get­ting my pic­tures that I took the week befo­re on Thurs­day; if they are good, I’ll send them to you for a com­pa­ri­son.

Whenever you share your thoughts that you har­bor about spi­ri­tu­al acti­vi­ty with me, then I am able to under­stand you bet­ter. It is a back­wards mind­set if one thinks: too many ques­ti­ons are not pro­per, it is rude, nosy. With the signi­fi­cant caveat, natu­ral­ly,  that the­se ques­ti­ons, this inte­rest, are brought up in the pro­per place.

I admi­re time and again how you under­stand how to make ever­ything so inspi­ring. Basi­cal­ly, one just needs to keep his eyes and ears open, and be respon­si­ve to all that hap­pens around him. If one then could still live in the envi­ron­ment that he longs for; I belie­ve the­re is so much to obser­ve and to learn that one does not have time at all to be dis­sa­tis­fied.

Plea­se don’t ever again say that you bla­me yourself for bur­de­ning my dis­po­si­ti­on with your sor­rows. Do you think that I feel hap­py when I see how a per­son is anxious to only give me joy and I should accept it all, without a token of gra­ti­tu­de? No, I can­not do that. I am used to my life and I am thank­ful that you are tea­ching me to get to know the other side of life. You must not think that you are making things dif­fi­cult for me. How can I show my gra­ti­tu­de? When I have your full trust – let me be your com­pa­n­ion. I want not only to share joy with you, but also your worries and pain.

A cowor­ker of mine also spent her holi­days in the Harz moun­tains with her bri­de­groom. Perhaps you also saw the foun­tain? Plea­se send the card back in your next let­ter.


Rein­hold Ber­ger, Hand­buch des Wis­sens: Gemein­ver­ständ­li­che Ein­füh­rung in die Wis­sen­schaf­ten, Unter Mit­wir­kung bewähr­ter Fach­leu­te, Ver­lag R. Hal­beck, Ber­lin, ca. 1925

I rum­ma­ged in my uncle’s book­ca­se last week. I picked up some­thing very inte­res­ting: “Hand­book of Know­ledge” by Dr. Rein­hold Ber­ger. You must also cer­tain­ly be fami­li­ar with it, I once saw it lying on Mr. Hartlich’s podi­um back in my school days. It was during my break and I was just flip­ping through [it] a litt­le [when] he came in. He went cra­zy and rip­ped it out of my hands. How could I have know that he was wan­ting to assign a test in Phy­sics? I cer­tain­ly had not been loo­king for that. But now I knew whe­re he was obtai­ning his know­ledge. I revi­si­ted more clo­se­ly the topic of archi­tec­tu­re, qui­te a few famous cathe­drals and buil­dings were illus­tra­ted, even a Roma­nes­que capi­tal, but the­re was no trace of a choir screen, is that only to be found in the Meiß­ner cathe­dral? Oh, one can find so much infor­ma­ti­on about so many sub­jects; it makes one’s head spin, if one reads ever­ything out of order.

I have just one wish, whenever you have extra time, plea­se wri­te down the songs for me. Ode to Music by Franz Schu­bert and the folk song, which you tal­ked about in Mei­ßen.

I have inclu­ded your cha­rac­ter descrip­ti­on, [I won­der] whe­ther all of it is true?

Best wis­hes,

[Hil­de Lau­be]

My par­ents are gra­te­ful for your best wis­hes and send their best wis­hes as well.

Plea­se fol­low and like us:
09. August 1938

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