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159. To [----] Wilouner
[Berlin,] 6 November 1919
Highly esteemed Doctor,
[1]
A grave injustice is about to happen to me. My mother (a German citizen), who
is being kept at a Swiss sanatorium for health reasons, has been waiting for 6
months for an opportunity to take up lodgings in our
building.[2]
At last, an apart-
ment in the building became available, and we were the first to apply for it from the
building’s owner, Mrs. Pulsack. The apartment was actually granted to the rentier
Mrs. Israel and her son (refugees from
Bydgoszcz)[3]
and my wife, for my mother,
by the Housing Department. The current building owner is refusing to admit Mrs.
Israel and my mother and wants to hand over the apartment to a single gentleman.
The building owner, Mr. Eisfelder, claims that we could take the sick woman
into our
flat.[4]
I emphasize, however, that as a university professor and director of
the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics I have such a tremendous bustle of activity
in the flat (secretary, typewriter, incessant telephoning, constant visitors) that the
flat is absolutely unsuitable for a sick person; added to that, my two daughters, who
are studying music, must also practice daily for hours on
end.[5]
At the current catastrophic rate of exchange, the sick woman’s immigration is a
vital issue for
me.[6]
I cannot accommodate her elsewhere than in the building, be-
cause she relies entirely on our personal assistance.
With utmost respect.
160. To Paul Ehrenfest
[Berlin,] Saturday. [8 November
1919][1]
Dear Ehrenfest,
Well, that really was a nice, untroubled time we shared there. You’ve all done
the impossible, not only making sure life was comfortable but also keeping this
rickety trunk in good spirits.[2] To you, your wife, and to the touchingly solicitous
aunt, each a separate, hearty kiss—as meets gender, tradition, and temperament, of
course—in thanks. No less must Tatya, by nature so wonderously dreamy, although
somewhat infected with the germ of the classical school and literature (the smiling
enigma), suffer a kiss; naturally, also the shoo!-shoo! lizard Galinka with the ani-
mated pencil, the little blue tomcat Paul, and finally the patient little crawlikins.[3]
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