Collection: Benecke Family Collection

Author: Frieda Amerlan

Recipient: Josephine Amerlan (Benecke)

Description: Letter from Frieda Amerlan to her sister, Josephine Benecke, c. January 30, 1901. Frieda Amerlan initially began writing this letter on October 4, 1900, but she explains that she stopped midway through and then picked it up again months later.

Frieda Amerlan to Josephine Benecke, c. January 30, 1901

English Text

Dahme 4.10.00

My dear old Joseph!

Exactly one year has passed since I received your dear last letter; and this time it was unfortunately not possible for me to write punctually on your birthday. We just had a lot of illness in the convent and since I am one of the [underline:] youngest [/underline] and strongest, I had to take care of it. That takes a lot of time and with my soon to be full 60 years of age it also takes strength. But I don't want to complain, I want to be quite satisfied and hope that you are also doing well, that your dear brave boys

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have thought of the Germany-Fund again on September 16th. Take my congratulations not only for your new year of life, but especially for your dear, beautiful and talented children and your faithful, good man, to whom you owe all this happiness. If he brings you to Germany for a visit next year, he will crown his kindness and kindness! Make sure that you stay healthy until then and keep your courage for the long journey. In the Harz Mountains you should already be able to


At that time I did not suspect that it would take me almost 4 months

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to add the word “fallen” to that sentence I began. However, I was commissioned to write a report for a magazine about the arts and crafts exhibition in Berlin.


I wonder if this letter will ever be finished? When I was ready the other day, I was called away because one of our ladies suddenly fell ill. It was the oldest one; stone-deaf, half-blind, stubborn and rather malicious, she had few friends here in the convent. I was one of those whom she graced with her favor,

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and since I am also the most sought-after nurse, I stayed with her until death, thank God, gently released her, and we led her to her final resting place yesterday.

This position of honor is not always pleasant and as you can imagine it takes up a lot of my time. In the summer I spent [underline:] four months [/underline] sitting in the infirmary opposite my room; her leg was cut to the bone eight times due to suppurating phlebitis. For many weeks she hovered between life and death. And the smell was terrible; I always bathed myself in carbolic and lysol. That naturally unsettled my nerves a bit

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and is actually the main reason why you didn't get a birthday letter. By the time the invalid was well enough to be taken out of the infirmary, it was high time for me to get back to my little literary work, the yield of which I cannot do without. – Therefore I was very happy about the commission in October; I spent a very stimulating week in Berlin and made a detour to Angermünde. Unfortunately, the weather was not favorable, so that the hustle of the big city heated me up, I soon caught a cold and brought home a little influenza. As a result, I had to give up

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my Christmas trip to Hasserode, which Sister Auguste and I were very sorry about; and so was her Frieda.

Frieda has now gained a very respected and secure position there through her music. She has more students than she can accept; she gets 3 marks for the lesson (about 1 dollar) and recently she performed with one of our most famous virtuosos (Klotilde Kleeberg) and received much honor. - Of course, Sister Auguste is very happy about this; now she knows that she can close her eyes and be completely reassured about Frieda's future. Also her youngest (your godson) is now placed at a very good head forester's lodge in the Tuchler Heide. He has a farm

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with horses, cows, etc. and is very happy. Next summer we want to visit him.

Uncle, Aunt and Nanni are all quite happy and we celebrated his birthday on December 28th with our usual cheerfulness. Toni's eldest came with a young woman; the second with his bride (both are beauties); the youngest has been in Paris since the world exhibition.

Brother Albert is still in Vienna; he is miserable, but he never complains. - - - - -

You will find many things changed when you come to Germany; I am quite curious how you will wonder at everything. Especially about Berlin.

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But I am even more eager to hear everything you will tell us about your dear children. Letters do not tell you everything you want to know. And yours are already so old. Most of all I thought about Otto; whether the good consequences of the operation have not come after all? I wish it so much for the dear boy and you caring parents. – Luiy will already be a radiant young woman! I send her my congratulations, and only regret that you could not keep her in the same way as Dora. The fact that the latter is getting "round and fat" as you write is bad news for the little brother which little Alma surely wishes for. Give the dear child of your heart a kiss from me. – That reminds me, Anna Jungheim has now also become a grandmother. Her only daughter married the son of one of our former dancers ([illegible] Schmidt from Dobberzin). – It is splendid that Ludwig wants to settle Ruby in St. Louis; but who is to "mother" him? or is Ludwig not yet thinking of a bride? –

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With the warmest greetings to you and yours, dear old Joseph, I am your [1 word, illegal] A.

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Original text