Letter from my father to my mother and myself, by Oded Cohen
Dear Boeba and Boetska!
It is now 08:30 in the morning; we just had a tasty breakfast: bread, butter, jam, fried egg and coffee with milk and sugar. This is much better than we had under the Japanese. There they gave us usually a kind of rice porridge boiled in water. Uneatable! Now is the food very good. On top of this we are getting money, which allows us to buy whatever we want. My only worry is that you are well. Until now I have not received any message, but I hope to hear very soon something. We received a limited number of letters from Java, but nothing for me. I am waiting with writing to Palestine till I will hear something from you. If I would write now without having any knowledge about you, they will just be worried. The English and the Australians have left this camp and are on their way home. We Dutchmen are not so lucky and we do not know when it will be our turn to go. We only know that allied troops have landed in Java. It will take some time before the situation there will be back to normal. I am doing fine. I have again malaria, but of a light type. We enjoy now more freedom of movement. In the afternoon I go usually to Tammuang, some 20 minutes walking from here. There are a few shops and restaurants, where you can eat bami and nasi goreng. This evening I will go with my friend Rollen to Ranbury (some 15km from here) to retrieve from my old camp some books (Old Testament and dictionary). The Japanese confiscated at the time all books. Now we are entitled to take them back. Some days ago was Yom Kippur. We could not gather a minjan (ten Jewish men) for Kol Nidrei. In my previous camp in Tjoengkai I have given Hebrew lessons to an Australian minister. An English captain-dentist, also a Jew, taught us prayers. When we were in the Burmese jungle, some 100km from any settlement, I have given a speech about Palestine at a bonfire. 150km deep in the jungle we heard some news from a Burmese priest who came downstream by canoe. Then we heard already (this was in March 1945) to our great joy that things were going the wrong way for Germany.
My beloved two, we had a pleasant chat and there is hardly any room left on the paper! Our Oded should already be able to read. When Daddy will be back he will buy a lot of books and then will Daddy, Mammy and Oded read together and look at pictures and go to the cinema and make a beautiful mountain trip. Ok?
Be both of you embraced by your husband and father