Letter From Anna Moritz Pinner to Gertrude Alexander Kuhn

This letter was written by my Great-Grandmother, Anna Pinner (born Moritz, 1852-1937) to her grand-daughter, Gertrude Kuhn (born Alexander, 1906-2000) (my aunt). It was dated July 15, 1936. It was tranlated from German by Gertrude's daughter, Anne Howson (my first-cousin), and placed here with her kind permission.

My dear Gertrude,

As an enduring memento of your childhood and your grandmother's home, I give you today the little silver Needlecase, which you have known since your childhood. I have always particularly treasured it. My grandmother, whose initials are engraved on the case, gave it to me when in my thirteenth year I came from my home village to visit her for some time. Perhaps you can pass the family piece on to a grandchild someday. You will then have to be able to relate who the previous owners were; what their familial relationship to you was, and which personal memories are evoked by their name. Some pointers may be helpful to you.

About me: Anna Pinner born Moritz born on November 28 in 1852, in Stettin. About me I donít need to give you any closer details, as long as you can remember for yourself! Each day of your life has forged a picture of you out of a thousand little images. From the first day of your life I have watched your growth and your development. I have participated in all your small and big sorrows 8O#v.~ and joys. With my good wishes for your life, I accompany your way to a faraway unknown place that shall become your new home. My feelings at your parting are spoken in the song:

I have loved you,
I love you still today,
I will love you into eternity

Only from stories and descriptions of other people, do you have a knowledge of your Great-Great Grandmother. Her name is on the case.

P. L. {Pessah} Pauline Latz born Kaul. She was born in 1797 in Posen where her parents lived. Unfortunately I have not been able to gather information regarding the livelihood or profession of the parents Kaul, only that they had a certain feeling of disgust of anything that was not jewish. My grandmother related a story of how deep their mistrust of anything german was. A mistrust that went so far that once a German newspaper accidentally found its way into the house, and the only way they would move it was with the firetongs!

I donít know anything about her upbringing, what she did, her character or her childhood and youth. Neither written or oral stories are known, which could shed light on these times. However anecdotes from her later life are often full of humour and wit, and have remained alive as inspirations in the archives of family lore. About the outer appearance of this your Great-Great Grandmother, there is a portrait of her hanging in my livingroom: a formidable presence. The outer depiction shows her being. She was proud, self-confident, very clever, and gifted with wit and humour. As she was used to the fact that everyone who came in contact with her showed respect and admiration; she took it as self evident that her word was valued. Talking back to her was not acceptable, something which we as inexperienced grandchildren thought was an unlovable trait, and left us with an uncomfortable feeling.

She had a loving regard, not only for the closest, but also for the distant relatives of the widely branched family . But not the blind kind of regard which is founded on the strength of being related alone, and disregards well founded criticism. A beautiful side of her being was her great charitableness Also seen in how she valued her household help.

Showing tenderness did not come naturally to her. Her children, especially her sons revered her with an adoring love. She herself did not understand how to give tender expression to her motherly love, with one exception: toward my beloved mother, your "Urchen", her heart overflowed .In spite of her strong nature she was a very sensitive woman, and had unending sympathy, and caring paired with tenderness. In this way my beloved charming mother has told this memory: Into her old and after a not so easy life, she kept her grace, courage and dignity.

You my dear Gertrude, have perhaps still a memento of her: you played the role of herself as the beautiful little bride in the performance at her diamond wedding anniversary. Her image stands so clearly before my soul that I have lost my train of thought.

But back to the Grandmother about whose outer life I want to give you some dates. She married into a highly regarded Jewish family. Samuel Salomon Latz with whom she lived in happy marriage. Three children: David, Benno and Bertha, your "Urchen"{great grandmother}, were born of this union, which death parted when the little daughter was still in her earliest childhood. The widow lived with her children as a well respected woman in Posen, then married for a second time to a respected businessman who was also widowed like herself : Isaak Philipp in Berlin, who same as her, had three children: 2 daughters and a son which he brought into the family. Into this marriage: Isaak Philipp-Pauline Latz, a daughter was born- Emma who you surely remember as the old "aunt Weiss" Isaak Philipp died in the revolution in the year 1848. As my parents moved to Berlin in 1867, and as we moved into grandmother's neighborhood, I was naturally very often in the old family house at: Neue Promenade no. 8. Not only the educated conversations with grandmother, but also the whole atmosphere; the old furniture, the uncountable family pictures, the antique tapestries representative of the town of Lyon, in the "good room", parlor. Everything made for a particularly charming ambiance. Hours long I spent with the almost blind grandmother, on winter nights, smelling the wafting smells of baking apples in the livingroom.; finding it very interesting and amusing that the dear grandmother had possessed not only a very fine understanding of good books, but also a very fine appreciation for being read to from the classic works like Z.B Kuallerbsen {or you will and must laugh} or "Travel letters of Nathan Tulpenthal, Mazzebaecker a D. ". How proud I was when she praised my retelling of the stories.

Of Knowledge and Higher Education, she had the highest regard. She complained often, that she as the child of poor people in her youth had no possibility to have lessons and educate herself. Until into her old age she cherished the striving for learning. So much so that she while supporting a poor student in his studies by providing him room and board so that he could study, she managed in her 70th year to master writing the German Script. Clearly I remember, when my mother received, to her greatest surprise, a letter written in German alphabet rather than Hebrew Cursive.

My dear Gertrude, we can well be satisfied with the legacy of our family. May you be blessed with countless generations to follow. May it be granted to you , to see all the worthwhile seeds of our family develop into bloom on the old stem of our family tree .

                     Berlin-Charlottenburg 

                      15. July 1936


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