28. May 1938


O., on May 28, 1938

Dear Herr [Nord­hoff]!

By now you will  have recei­ved the gree­tings from our jovi­al get-tog­e­ther at the bridal show­er of our fel­low choir sin­ger Ilse Wend, which we held at the Restau­rant “Ger­ma­nia”. Today, now that I have slept off my small buzz and the wed­ding nup­ti­als are over, I want to ans­wer your lovely let­ter.

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24. May 1938

T&S Ava­tar


L. on May 24, 1938

Dear Fräu­lein [Lau­be]!

At various points in my last let­ter I wro­te —I had to wri­te — the word God, and I did so not wit­hout some appre­hen­si­on. I would not like you to misun­derstand. It is that much more con­so­ling and reas­su­ring to me that you have a con­nec­tion to God.

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20. May 1938

T&S Ava­tar


O., on May 20, 1938

Dear Mr. Nord­hoff!

Three days have now pas­sed sin­ce I recei­ved your so very kind words. Allow me to express my heart­felt gra­ti­tu­de for the trust you have pla­ced in me. I know to trea­su­re it. I will never for­get how you show­ed me the mea­ning of the con­cepts “desi­re and love” in such genui­ne, vivid words. I was able to tell that we think the same way about many things. I feel and think several things, and yet I often don’t have the abi­li­ty to put it into words. Perhaps this is the rea­son why:

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16. May 1938


L., 16. May 1938.

Dear Miss Lau­be!

Our cor­re­spon­dence has reached a point whe­re it can only be advan­ta­ge­ous­ly con­ti­nued if we are com­ple­te­ly honest with our­sel­ves and with each other, and this sti­pu­la­ti­on con­fronts me with the decisi­on whe­ther, for the first time in my life, I should place my trust in ano­t­her human being in cer­tain things that, up until now, I had always reser­ved for mys­elf, in the deepest reaches of my heart. I belie­ve that you are an open and honest per­son and con­si­der you worthy of my trust.

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11. May 1938


O., May 11, 1938

Valued Mr. Nord­hoff!

I recei­ved your let­ter yes­ter­day. Thank you very much. Above all, becau­se I was allo­wed to con­fi­de in you, you could perhaps extend your hand to me as my gui­de. I know that I am put­ting you in an embarr­as­sing situa­ti­on; but you must be able to under­stand me. Do you know what it means to pos­sess a girl­fri­end, who inward­ly, howe­ver, is as for­eign as any other per­son? If you must car­ry alo­ne all suf­fe­ring, which one can­not escape in life? I am cer­tain­ly not one of tho­se who lets herself get dis­cou­ra­ged by the sligh­test event; but this time I find that I can’t go on alo­ne. I must unbur­den my heart to someo­ne. And the per­son whom I uncon­di­tio­nal­ly trust is you, Mr. Nord­hoff. I belie­ve in you, the­re­fo­re I can con­fi­de in you.

I want to be gone from here! I can­not bear life like this any­mo­re – becau­se I love you too much. Do you under­stand? Ever­ything in my home­land reminds me of you and some­ti­mes I feel like it’s bray­ing into my ear: “never again — never again!” I know that it is not allo­wed to be; that I am not an equal match for you. The­re­fo­re, I must go, must for­get. It hurts so much when one must repress what is bare­ly bloo­m­ing and always show the world a calm, fri­end­ly face. But deep insi­de the heart it con­stant­ly pier­ces and hurts. Tell me, have you any­ti­me in your life loved someo­ne so deeply and then fate inter­ven­ed with a rough grasp? I no lon­ger know what I should do. I had inten­ded to sign up for Labour Ser­vice or the vol­un­ta­ry two-year honor ser­vice as a nur­se. Howe­ver, my boss is not wil­ling to release me from work. I have not yet infor­med my par­ents about my reso­lu­ti­ons. But I know they will not stand in my way, if it is in my best inte­rest. Well, I ask you, Mr. Nord­hoff, tell me if you can. I can’t seem to get a say­ing by our poet Fried­rich Rück­ert [The Wis­dom of the Brah­min: A Didac­tic Poem, Book 1.1, transl. Charles T. Brooks, 1882] out of my head. Do you think one can belie­ve in it?

If ill befal­leth thee, count it a bles­sing still;
If ill thou takest it, that is a sorer ill.
For­gi­ve thy fri­end if he tormenteth thee; and know
He is not well, or else he would not vex thee so.
And if Love woundeth thee, let that but spur thy love;
For, that thou hast the rose, the thorn doth surely

I con­clu­de now by thanking you for allo­wing me to wri­te to you and will remain hope­ful for a mes­sa­ge from you soon, with best wis­hes,

[Hil­de Lau­be].

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