After returning to Ventura from the trip to St. Anna am Aigen, I also wrote a letter to Elisabeth Weinhandl, the Mayor’s wife. In part of the letter I wrote:
When I was in St. Anna in last June you expressed – at the Fehring railroad station – that I made an impression on you. Told that it feels like Ron became your brother and it feels like I would be your grandfather. I am not immune of being impressed, I received an impression myself. With your guidance I was able to find a living person – Maria Lackner – who participated as an active member of an exclusive group, who saved Jewish lives, including my life. With you acting as my hostess, translator, tour guide you revealed that your generosity is matching with any member of that exclusive group. From the discussion of the very few people whom I met in a shortened week I spent in St. Anna, I found that the trait of generosity was passed on from mothers to children and you and your husband received a good dose of it. I feel that in you and in your husband I gained new members to my extended family.
Elisabeth Weinhandl and me, we are regularly exchanging correspondences. After the Austrian trip, when I got back to America, I went to see my first great granddaughter. Also participated in her naming ceremony. Elisabeth Weinhandl, through e-mail, asked how the naming ceremony was. In my answer, I told her that it lasted about 20 minutes. Paula, one of the new grandmothers, was tearing for 20 minutes and found a shoulder, her husband Ferenc’s shoulder to cry on. For twenty minutes I was wiping my glasses because my Shoulder is not here anymore.
She writes about their lives in general. How the extremely hot weather is impeding the blueberry harvest. Lamenting whether the too much rain might damage the elderberry crops. Writes that she resumed singing in the choir after the previous soreness in her vocal chords were improved. She writes about the harvest of the elderberries and the presentation of the elderberry juices. She writes about their family lives and occasional illnesses, just like family members exchanging notes. We have discussed their weekend visit in a Hungarian town Pécs. And naturally, we had a lengthy email exchange prior their trip to Budapest with the highlight of the trip, seeing a performance of the Csárdásfürstin an operetta by Emery Kálmán. Anna’s parents and grandparents were always humming the music from the Csárdásfürstin. Also while visiting in Burgenland where they were enjoying an outdoor performance of Verdi’s opera Nabucco. Ever since that occasion I am regularly playing on my harp a rendition of the Hebrew Slaves Chorus for the delight of the patients of the oncology clinic. I write about important events in my family, also about my volunteer work in the oncology clinic. I know the names of the members of her family. As a reciprocal, she knows my close family members by their names.
We have exchanged gifts since I came back from my trip to St. Anna. Also exchanging holiday greetings. She is still helping me collect missing information that I feel will enhance and make somewhat more complete this summary. I hope we will both cherish this newfound close friendship.
I wish to put this newfound closeness into a special kaleidoscope and contemplate of the view. The grown-up male population of the villages was away from home, fighting Hitler’s war. The food was scarce. And from the little they had, the women folks were the givers of the nourishments, which I received during the excursions I made after climbing over the fence of the camp. Those women, while they risked their own and their family’s lives, treated me with nourishing food. Those women were the Weinhandl’s generation grandmothers and great aunts. Therefore Elizabeth Weinhandl and the Mayor Josef Weinhandl are following old family traits. Let’s view the relationship between Maria Lackner and me through the same kaleidoscope. Maria Lackner was only 25 years old girl. She treated me especially well, while putting herself and her entire household in danger. And ever since her good deeds she was yearning to meet at least one whom she helped. She carried her good deeds with a bad conscience that she did not give enough. I was one who received nourishing food from her. With my reappearance her two daughters, Mary and Cäzilia were able to witness that their mother were shedding that burden off her shoulders. The Lackners and I are also in close contact. This closeness was demonstrated in the previously detailed good-bye scenes at the Fehring station between Elizabeth Weinhandl and Ron and me, also at the Schäffmann's house between Cäzilia and me.