Sarit Amitai shared this letter that her grandfather, Elie Birman, sent from Saint Martin Vesubie in May 1943, when he was living there with his son Yts’hak, after Matilde (Miriam) – Elie’s wife and Yts’hak’s mother – had been sent to Auschwitz.
Dear Madam, Mademoiselle and Monsieur Coulet.
I’ve just given you some good news from the mountains, a very peaceful and restful place to come back to after the hassle of city life. We’re at an altitude of 1,000 meters with splendid weather. The beautiful scenery makes up for the lack of certain commodities. Obviously, the mountain air and its restrictions are not without stimulating the appetite. But that’s not the main concern. If I’d had my family with me, I’d have been happy to get through the bad times. As I haven’t had the chance or the pleasure of reading my dear Mathilde, I’d like to ask you again to send me her letters and the mailing slips so that I can have the joy of sending them something. My brother-in-law didn’t want to share the first slips with me, fearing they’d be out of date by the time I got home, especially as I was out of town.
Now that I am established you can send them to me to fill the pride of a good husband. I am writing to Mrs. Danielevier Helena to send me the items she has removed from the dye works. If you would like to write to me, please address your correspondence as follows: Mr Rudnizki 125 Rue Dr Cagnoli à St Martin Vesubie, Alp. Ma., as I would like to have your good news and especially from Miss Suzanne whom I like to read in her very expressive letters.
For your next vacation, I invite you to spend some time with us and admire the ‘Suisse Niçoise’ (Niçois Switzerland). You won’t regret the somewhat peaceful trip, which is not lacking in emotions.
Apart from that, I’ve asked my sister-in-law to bring me my little sweetie to help fill the void around me, as I’m suffering too much from the separation from my family. I hope you’re all very well and that this letter finds you in good health and that you could hold your own with everyone else, hold all the knocks until the end. I look forward to hearing from you and send you my warmest regards.
Your friend, Elie
St Martin le 4.5.43