Letter from my father to my mother by Oded Cohen, 2015
My dear wife and son,
Here is Father again.
Slowly but surely our letter correspondence is becoming more regular. Till now I have received from you 3 letters, dated 24/9, 10/11 and 18/11.
I have not yet received the telegram and I am afraid that most of my letters, in which I have described what happened to me from the moment that we were separated till we were liberated, were lost.
In September 1944 I received 2 letters from Palestine sent in September 1942, one from your sister Sara and one from my brother in law Albert. There was no special news, except for the fact that Avigail (sister of my Mother) has now 2 boys. If you feel jealous, we could order another child. I can imagine that Oded would also like to have a brother or a sister.
During all the years of war I have been interned in various camps in Thailand. In the beginning of 1945 I stayed 2 months in Burma in the jungle. This was a very difficult period. I was carried back on a stretcher to a hospital in a place called Tjoenghai (Chunkai) 150 km away. I was totally exhausted. After a blood transfusion I recovered quickly. I had iron will power and I said in my heart: I must see again my Boeba (in Hebrew puppet) and Boetskale (my nickname as baby), at any cost. I was lucky that I had everywhere good friends. When I was so weak in Burma that I could not get up anymore, a friend called Rollen nursed me as a brother. I hope that both of you are in good health and that you arrived well in Singapore. At first occasion I will come to you. I am very curious to hear doctor's opinion regarding the eye of Oded. It would be good for him to start slowly to learn reading and writing. I do not believe that if you write with big letters that this will be tiring for his eyes. I imagine that in a short while schools will be opened for children.
A small group of women with husbands in Thailand have already arrived. You should get in touch with RAPWI (Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees) and, who knows, they will send you here. And if not, I am sure that we will be again together in a short while. The soldiers are becoming impatient as they want to be united with their families. In one of the camps they threatened to burn all houses, unless something happens.
Here in the camp, where I stay, all is quiet and food is good. We are getting 25 good quality cigarettes a day and we sell these. We have a weekly salary of 60 tical, which is not too much as prices are high and raising by the day.
Nakorn Patom is a small village, the size of Pasoeroean. Here is a famous Buddha Palace and a beautiful Pagoda. There are 2 coffee houses, where they play music and dance. I don’t want at all to dance and I will wait till we can dance together and dance the three of us the hora together with Boetskale. Tomorrow is the first day of Chanuka. In Bangkok it will be celebrated in the house of a Jewish doctor. I will not go there. I will be with you in my thoughts and together we will sing "Maoz Tsur".
Before the war many Jews lived in Singapore and there should be also now. It would be good if you could meet them. Did you already meet Dwek? They will be very glad to meet you. I will make a picture of me and send it to you. Philip de Leeuw (Oerie) died in one of the camps in Burma. I have not seen him. A Jewish friend was with him and he built for him a tombstone with a David star and words in Hebrew. He died from dysentery. He neglected himself and sought too late for doctor's advice and could not be helped anymore. Many, many friends perished during internment and for most of them death was liberation from endless suffering.
And thus, my beloved, till the next letter. I will do some reading in the canteen and go thereafter to bed. Enjoy as much as possible. A little more love, belief and courage and we will be again united and build together a new and happy family life.
Be embraced and kissed with love,
Sent by H.M.Cohen, sergeant nr. 176102 Nakorn Patom, Thailand to Mrs. R. Cohen-Cohen, Wilhelmina Camp, House 99, Singapore by Ex-POW Mail