January 10, 1936 – It breaks Trudel’s heart that we can not help.

10 Jan
January 10, 1936 –  It breaks Trudel’s heart that we can not help.

My dear Father, and dear Lotta and Erna: LJG Letter 1-1--36 b letterhead

I hope this letter finds you all well. Trudel worries anxiously when she does not get word from you. Sometimes we do not feel we get all the news.

We have been very happy and she has been very brave this past year. Many millions of people are out of work in this country and those who are employed are paid so little. Trudel works very hard.

Three thousand lawyers in Chicago are starving with no work and no office. We have 10,000 lawyers in Chicago alone. Our dollar is worth only 59 cents. Under Roosevelt and Democrats food and everything costs more and the taxes are so heavy that business has not started again since the depression, which makes it VERY HARD for lawyers to keep their offices and place in the profession.

By working 18 hours a day I have done 20% better in 1935 than in 1934, but everything cost more this year than before. I write you because you should know if we could we would do something to help some of you come here. But this is impossible now. And it breaks Trudel’s heart that she can not help and the man who loves her can not. Everything is uncertain. Election year is 1936.

Would you make me happy? Write oftener to dear Trudel. Every day she asks – any mail from Germany? And she looks so sad waiting so long for letters, she gets so few.

Her throat bothers her. She has had a BAD cold and fever. She is so true and beautiful. She does not know what I am writing. She has written nothing to worry you since coming here, but everything is not easy for her and to get started in a strange country is lonesome work and very hard.

If I have made it easier and pleasanter for her, I am glad because I love her.
With love to you all, LJG Letter 1-1--36 b-signature


This letter was written by Leonard J. Grossman, Trudel’s fiance and my father, to Trudel’s sisters and her father in the midst of the depression, as dark clouds were gathering over Europe.


About Leonard Grossman

Writing about the online world since 1992: The ModemJunkie's Portal Taught school in the inner-city from 1967-78, Government lawyer from 1979-2010. Married to the incredible Cindy Barnard. Proud father of Sarah and grandfather of Gavin.

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6 Responses to January 10, 1936 – It breaks Trudel’s heart that we can not help.

  1. Fran Markwardt

    January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I’m old enough to remember 1936. That was the year of my 7th birthday, and I had a “birthday party!” Two girls from my country school walked 2 miles home with me to my party. My mother had baked a cake. (My sisters, 5 and 3 were at the party too.) I received a pair of pink ankle socks, my only present. I don’t remember how Marie and Mae got home. I hope my dad gave them a ride home after the party.

  2. Lidna

    January 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    How touching and how important that these letters are insight for so many to read. A lovely tribute and the reference to movies and such add that much more dimension to the days the sun shined and her heart beat. Thank you for sharing.

    • Leonard Grossman

      January 31, 2013 at 12:57 am

      Thank you for your comment. By the way, there are movie links on many of the pages but you have to look for them. Scroll over images of movie posters and the names of movies in the text. Many of them are links to YouTubes of trailers, clips, and in some cases, entire movies.

  3. Ed Hiestand

    February 28, 2013 at 9:20 am

    The letter from your father to the family in Germany is such a window into the family story. Ever since beginning to read these letters I felt the absent story in the letters in the room – so few hints of the dangerous shadow threatening her family. With your father’s letter we know something of how deep was her anxiety and why she refrained from writing it. As a child born in 1934 this whole story you are sharing helps us to better read between the lines of the stories our own families did and did not share.

    • Leonard Grossman

      February 28, 2013 at 9:41 am

      I wonder if some of those same concerns may explain why my mother stopped complete translations as things grew darker. Perhaps even after 70 years some things were too troubling. I am so glad I have these translations and can share them but I wish she had saved the originals so that I could look behind her notes.


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