Category Archives: 1932

February 8, 1932

February 8, 1932
10 a.m.

My Pinchos, please do not scold me for writing in English instead of Jewish, for I am in such a mood, and who should allow and understand my moods if not you.

Here I sit with my book “The Children of the Ghetto” before me and cannot concentrate. I have the feeling that I must write to you first since I am  sentenced not to speak with you, and who is it that has pronounced this judgment? Were it a man of flesh and blood, I would beg him for mercy, or take revenge of him, but since it is fate, who am I to go against it, and to ask why of fate. I am tired. I have asked “why” ever since I was but five years old and now I am tired. Oh my Pinchos my only friend, it is so hard to understand life with its curled up problems, with its cares, with its duties. Only this I know and feel, how poor and meaningless my life would be without your everlasting understanding, through your ever watching eyes.

As I sit now and read these sad lines of these great men “Shpiz******” “Momoyn,” “Jusepa,” “Dacosta,” who are just a few of the many thousands more who have suffered, each in his own way, I cannot help but glance back to my years gone by. And what do I see dear Pinchos, sadness, gloom, it seems like a black cloud has always covered the sun for me. I have had no childhood, no girlhood. And ever since I was 13 I thought of Death as my only friend, my only redeemer, and how I have prayed for him to come and make an end to all my suffering. But this I learned, that even Death does not come when I desire it.

And all through this without the least bit of understanding from anyone, until you came along and awakened me, showed me that even through the blackest clouds one can see the sun if only one should look up. Yes my Pinchos, you have taught me that, you have taught me much, much more than I am able to explain. You have made me see that life could be tolerable, that life could even have a little happiness for me, and I am waiting as patiently as I can for it. You, who sees life as I do, whose heart and soul bleeds like mine for every injustice done from man to man, from life to man, and from the creatures who call themselves our brothers and sisters who make all the beauty of this world low and intolerable. I do pity them and forgive them, for I say to myself “they do not know any better.” But oh my Pinchos I cannot mingle with them, the nothingness about them, the very air chokes me. Oh my beloved, if I could only get away from all this with you into freedom, into the beauty of nature. To study together the different problems that puzzle us, to seek beauty and truth together. I am trying so hard to believe that this dream will come true.

The rain is still pouring, and the skies are not clear yet. But I am waiting for the sun, and when it will come out I shall look up and let her rays awaken me, to life and to beauty.

And now I feel a little better, it seems I have spoken to you. Will you mind if I write to you instead of a diary? Will you? I see you, you smile.
Good bye until next time. B.

March 14, 1932

To remind everyone, Bassya and Philip had decided to commit suicide, but Bassya told her uncle about her love for Philip. The uncle went to talk to Sol, Bassya’s husband, who agreed to a divorce. As long as he could keep Lila (Stephen’s mom and Bassya and Sol’s daughter) for a year. Though Bassya regretted leaving her daughter, she saw no other way.

Divorce in the 1930s was a social disgrace. Bassya had grown up in a family with parents unhappy with each other. Her love for Philip was as strong as ever. For her there was no other choice, so she went to Reno, Nevada for six weeks and got the divorce.

There are letters that will be added later since they need translating first. Patience please.

Reno, Nevada
March 14, 1932

My beloved Pinchas

I just came back from the lawyer — he is awfully nice, promised to help me get a position. It is wonderful to know that there are such nice people in this world. I paid him $25 and he gave me a receipt for $50. I also paid another $10 for the board. I still have $15 so do not worry beloved.

Thanks for the sweet telegram — I thought I would not hear from you today.

In the last letter I sent you I mentioned two fellows — new boarders, they are salesmen of oriental carpets and possibly I shall work for them — all I will have to do is telephone to people and try to make appointments for them, I won’t have to go anywheres just telephone from the place I reside, wouldn’t that be nice beloved?

At this point the letter changes to Yiddish and we are left with 3 pages not knowing what they say.

March 16, 1932

This is an 8 page letter, but all we get is one page in English, page 5. We will get the rest translated soon.

Reno, Nevada
March 16, 1932


I have gotten a hold of myself, and answered him a long letter. Told him repeatedly that there are no hopes of me returning to Sol, not alive anyway, and I meant it beloved, I shall make an end rather than go back.

The way Don writes, I believe that Sol will not sign the papers. Oh what shall I do? It seems dear soul that our cup has not yet filled with sorrow. If only I had you near me now, not to cry for you, I can’t cry anymore, but just hold your hand which gives me so much courage, to feel your strong arms around me, which gives me strength. Oh my Pinchas, when shall I be able to hold up my head with a light heart. When dearest?


March 17, 1932

This is almost a whole letter, but unfortunately ends in the middle of a sentence. Perhaps the rest will show up eventually.
Bassya is still in Reno trying to get a divorce. Apparently one has to live in Nevada for 6 weeks to do so.

Reno, Nevada
March 17, 1932

Beloved Soul of my Soul!

Please do not scold me of writing to you in english — I have often explained to you that sometimes I fall into such moods — and it makes me think that I can express my feelings best in english. You really do not mind my Pinchas do you? For after all, what difference does it make in which language one expresses himself.

Each day that passes by makes me long for you more, and it is with great effort I keep from crying out. I feel as if I were no older than 14 or 15, one who has not lived yet, one that is just beginning to bloom, and dream of her prince charming. How happy I would be to see myself with you in New York, to realize with a free sigh that I am reborn. I do begin to believe that God is going to repay me for all these years of pain, for taking everything away from me. He sent you to me,  and through you and only you, I shall find myself. You were, and are to me the awakening like the month of May is to the flowers to the birds, to all nature, at last I can see myself as I am, no more puzzle. I am a dreamer, a child, yet a grown woman, one who understands and knows what it means to be a child in dreams. God is indeed kind to me for giving me youth, for giving me the chance to start from the beginning with you, with you my beloved, one in youth does not rejoice with its youth, as I do, for I can feel its blessing.

We shall be so happy, such pals, I do hope we shall be ready to be married in May, it is so symbolic.

Pinchas, beloved, I was over to the lawyer this afternoon, and told him that Sol might come here, he advised me not to move, as he is sure, that he would not come, and Pinchas dearest, you know what he told me he could win Layelle [Lila] for me, as long as there is no evidence that we have been together.

What do you think should I do now, please beloved be sincere with me, if you think that Layelle will stay between us, that she will be in our way, be honest enough and tell me so. Until today I thought I had no chance, you see if Sol could procure witnesses that I went out with you, does not mean much, he says that I can plead on the fact he used to go away to the country and leave me alone so I sought companionship. He won a case like that not long ago, and he also wants me to get all property signed on my name.

What beloved, do you advise me to do, without you I am lost, I must have your thoughts.

I received today a letter from Don, the longest letter I have ever seen in my life, he is with me, but at the same time he is afraid of the future…. and then comes the part which tore my heart, he writes that Layelle goes around like a little orphan, asks for me all the time, you can imagine beloved, what a wreck that made of me, it shook me all over, but

March 21, 1932

It appears that Bassya wrote every day if not several letters a day, we have to skip several letters for now until we get them translated.

Reno, Nevada
March 21, 1932

Beloved Pinchas

I have written to you already today — but since I have not written on Sunday — I feel that it will cheat you out of a letter. Am I not wonderful?

Oh dear Pinchas — my Pinchas, how I want to play with you — to read with you to be with you eternally.

How much faith I have in you — how much love I have for you, and what beautiful thoughts I have of you.

When I think of our belonging to each other in the eyes of all the world — When I think of our friendship — of our worship for one another, my heart fills with indescribable joy — and my face covers with smiles.

For the first time the sun shined the whole day — and I sat on the front steps — bathed my face and hair in the sunshine — drinking its beauty and watching it grow weaker and weaker until the last rays have said their good-bye. With the book on my lap — I couldn’t read much — I had sat there with my eyes closed — listening to the whispering of the trees — to the continuous chattering of the birds — and do you know that I was dreaming — day dreaming — and do you know who I was dreaming of? I will let you in on a little secret — promise not to tell? — well about four years ago I met a prince — yes — a real prince — he had the whitest face — the dreamiest eyes — and the most beautiful blond hair, but most of all — this charming prince possessed the most beautiful soul — and a strange thing happened — his soul began to speak — now remember his soul not he — it said to me: I am so unhappy — I am so lonely — I see nothing worthwhile for  me to go on living — please let me have your soul and then I shall have everything — and never ask for anything else.

But I waited for the time when the prince himself would whisper these words — that his soul secretly told me — and then one day he whispered these words and many more into my ear — and since then I have been dreaming of him day and night. But wait — I have not told you his name — his name is Pinchas and he is the prince of my world of dreams, a world sublime.

Oh beloved — you are my prince — and I feel like believing in this fairy story.

I was over to the lawyer’s office — told him of my wanting to go away, he told me that since I intend leaving on Friday morning and coming back Sunday night — it would mean that Saturday is the only day I’ll be away — and that I’ll have to stay a day  longer in Reno — I must complete six weeks, this is the law.

And now beloved I shall bid you good night — and sweet dreams —

eternally your Bebe

P.S. my best regards to mother father sister brother.

You’ll see dear that you should deliver this letter to mother personally — will you? — oh you are dear.

Give me your ear — and I’ll whisper another secret — are you listening? — sh sh — I love you — did you  hear it?

March 23, 1932

Reno, Nevada
March 23, 1932

My beloved Pinchas!

I have sent you a letter today — and meant that I shall write no more until I should see you, but I have spent such a beautiful afternoon — that I must have you share with me.

After I mailed your letter I thought I would go for a hike — and I walked up straight with Virginia — until I came to the college grounds — oh dearest — what beauty — the college is surrounded with a park and a river flows right in the middle of the park — and such beautiful white swans swim around, it took my breath away.

I laid down on the grass right near the water with the book near me — but I could not read — not a page.  Such a restful feeling came over me — such lightness of heart and soul. I felt my rebirth, I looked up the sky — and what beauty what enchantment met my eyes — my heart filled with Love — my eyes with tears — i was happy — all I needed was you by my side to change this place to paradise.

No one seemed to be there — all was quiet — only the beating of the swans’ wings in the water — and the singing of the birds was heard. Such a peaceful feeling came over me — I wanted to spread out my arms and embrace the whole world. Oh beloved how wonderful it is to feel thus. I lay there — listened — and dreamt about you — about our future.

Have I succeeded in making you feel the peaceful afternoon I spent? Do you see it? Do you?

Oh beloved how I love you — and I seem to find you in everything that is beautiful.

Have you the real conception of how much I miss you? — and what you mean to me? and of how much I have given up — sacrificed for you? have you? — oh beloved I wonder where I get the strength to go on, so all alone, so lonesome, and you know how I am used to being alone — especially in a strange lace, it must be love that does it — what do you think beloved?

I want so much to love — to play — to sing — I am tied of suffering. I want to be free _ to be I. You know beloved what I mean?

You will bring me all the things I asked you to? won’t you? Just think beloved Pinchas — one more day…. and I shall be able to look into your eyes — to feel your strong arms about me….

And now beloved I shall say good night to you — until Friday night when I shall see you, it seems that I have not seen you for years. I wonder what you look like?

Good night dear — I am going to send away this letter tonight yet.

My sincere regards to our family —
Your B.B.

March 30, 1932

Reno, Nevada
March 30, 1932

My beloved Pinchas!

Again I am in the mood of writing in english. God help you — you will need his help when you will marry me with my moods. You still have time beloved one — think it over.

All this afternoon I was so happy my heart sang within me — I felt like a rose trying to open up — to show her leaves to the world. I bathed in the sunshine I walked humming a tune to myself — I stopped to talk with children. I listened to the murmur of the water — over the bridge — to the gossiping of the birds — a little bird flw by caught a piece of bread in its mouth and flew off. I was happy I read — I dreamt — of you of our future — I thought of our restlessness — our moods — our understanding — our love — our friendship — our work. And I smiled — wondered how long this mood will keep up. I am still happy — although my heart is heavier, it is because it is night — darkness — and I love sunshine — darkness depresses me so.

But I have you beloved one to dream of — think of, and I cuddle up in my bed with the thought.

It is a great wonder that I do not go crazy with loneliness here. I think I shall get myself a “Gigolo” what do you think of the idea — there are so many of them around here and it is quite the proper thing here in Reno, they are rented out from five dollars up — by the day.

There is really no danger for me — in getting one — as I am only a poor girl and cannot afford one.

I have just finished eating and have no idea what I will do with myself — I might take a walk to the station and mail this letter to you — and then I shall wait for your letter, I might play cards. I do not know.

How is your cold Beloved one? — please take care of yourself — if not for your own sake — for mine. We do want to be healthy now — we do want to live — for we do have each other to live for.

How good it is to know that your parents do like me. It makes it easier to go on — so very few have any love or respect for me now — I hate to think how our names are chewed by everyone’s mouth. Did you find out the real reason of Irving and Rosalee’s divorce?

Have you sent me out your picture yet — how I want to look at you. You know dearest Pinchas I do believe that I begin to fall in Love with you — be on your guard young man — remember I am warning you as a friend — and I am no bargain my friend — just a commotion of — thoughts — moods — restlessness — I am quite in earnest when I say God help you.

Good night Pinchas Zisinger [?] — wie lieb ich hab dich [how I love you] — und wie goot du bizt [and how good you are]. Altz lenkt in mir nuch dir [everything in me wants you]

April 1, 1932

April 1, 1932
1:30 am

Pinchos dearest

Here it is so late and I am up sitting with my coat on in my bed, my nerves at the edge. Pinchos Libinker it is breaking me, everything, Reno, my loneliness, my longing and yearning for you and my Layelle.

I can’t go on, I need someone here with me, I am too much alone. I am going crazy, I might do something horrible. I don’t know, I am not responsible.

You do not realize what I am going through, or you would do something, you would send up someone, chaelle (sp), Leon, anyone.

Oh God, why must I suffer so. Pinchos dearest, my only, it is no use. We want to make the grade, not with $103 in the bank, without a friend in the whole world. Pinchos at least let us die together, are you strong enough to do it? I am. Please dearest help me somehow, I am desperate, I want to die. I am tired of suffering, I want to rest. Pinchos my Pinchos, I have no strength, my head is empty, burning, my cough chokes me, I am trembling all over, and no one near me, everyone asleep upstairs.

I, who have been afraid to sleep alone in my own room, have to sleep alone in five rooms. At this condition it is no wonder that it breaks me. I feel that after all it will be death that will end my suffering.

I’m afraid that when I’ll be away with you, my heart will yearn for Layelle, and that shall make me unhappy. And we cannot afford to take Layelle with us, your uncle would hardly give you a position if he knew the whole thing. And I cannot and do not want to live without you, so what end can I expect except Death? It would be easier to die with you, if you would wish to. Of course, if you should still see something in life for yourself, you should not join me, I would not want that of you. I will face it myself, eight aspirins will do the trick, and then everything will be over.

What I have done to suffer so much I do not know. But I guess it has to be so, or it would not. It is only 15 minutes to two, what shall I do this long night. Sleep is out of the question, I can’t read either, and yet how can I keep from thinking? How? What shall I do with myself? Why do I torture you so, soul of my soul, heart of my heart. Why? What have you done to deserve this?

Darling Pinchos, calm yourself, it is 3 o’clock now. I do not cough anymore and my trembling stopped. I am going to read now as I am not sleepy and perhaps I shall be able to get interested and calm myself. Please beloved, do not worry yourself. I shall try and calm myself, since there is no one else to do it.

When I think of me here alone, going mad, of the stories people are inventing about us, my name in every common being’s conversation, I want to laugh and cry at the same time, but I do not do either. I am afraid, for then I will think myself mad. Oh my Pinchos why do I love you so much. Why have I come into your life to make you unhappy.

Just look dearest of souls, I have always loved to see people happy. Tried to do what I could for people, wished everyone good within my heart and yet all I do is make people unhappy. Look what I am doing to you at this moment, tearing your heart, your soul. Oh Libinker, forgive me, forgive me.

Oh my daring boy, it is 4:30 am and the storm is over. I have read for the last hour and a half and it helped me. Now please Libinker forget this horrible night and just remember that I am calm and even smiling. Forgive your Bibi who is just a confusion of moods, forgive her dearest Boy, for she loves you, and now I shall try and get a little sleep.

11:00 am
I just woke up, feeling a little tired from the night, but much better, much calmer. Do not let this letter upset you, you must expect these breakouts, in this critical condition that I am. You my dearest Boy would be no stronger.

I do not know what I shall do today. Well anyway it is noon already, and the morning is gone. How glad I am when a few hours pass. It is my thought watching the calendar, scratching out day after day, I have the feeling that I am serving a term in jail, for the crime that I want to set myself free, that I want to better my standard of living. And you know dearest that the Law, the people, revolt against such a one. They believe that one must wait until life frees him.

Do you, dearest soul, believe that I will stand the test? Or will I break down like the majority do? Can you stand the test? What do you honestly think of our condition now? Be frank, no illusions. Why are we parted when I need you most?

Why do I ask “whys” when I know the answers. I am tired of myself. I would gladly fall asleep if I did not have you to think of, you to love.

I shall dress now and have something to eat, and then I shall go and see the attorney and mail the letter.

I wrote you that I have signed the papers, and that the attorney keeps them here.

The lady that I found her ring has not come, I have not heard from her. I doubt if I will, you see dear, people get used to the thought that when a favor is done to them it is natural, they deserve it.

You do not mention about getting money from Mrs. Bergman. Has someone in my family gone to her and discouraged her? Have you asked, and she refused? Or do you not expect to ask her, why the change of mind? Do not keep anything from me Libinker, remember it is much harder to travel in the dark.

Good bye dearest Pinchos, please look upon this letter as a natural expected mood, and do forgive me for making it so hard for you. If I did not write all this down last night I would have not been able to calm myself. I thought of not sending this letter, but since I promised not to conceal anything from you, I shall mail it.

Goodbye and God bless you. Remember one thing above all, that I love you.

Eternally your B.B.
Regards to everyone.


April 4, 1932

Reno, Nevada
April 4, 1932
12 a.m.

It’s twelve o’clock, midnight, and I have lost hopes in getting a letter from you, Libinker Pinchos meiner. I am so sorry that it happened so. It seems the only thing I look forward to, and when I do not receive it, then I get an empty feeling. I get lost, I feel as if I were alone in this great big world, and no one cared wether I lived or died. How dreary this would be without you, how empty, meaningless.

It is so windy outside, and so very cold inside. I have three blankets on me and still my feet are as cold as ice.

I will try and cuddle up, maybe it will be warmer. Good night libinker. I think I’ll read “Beethoven” for a while and then I’ll try to sleep. Good night Beloved one.

This letter ends here and continues the next day. I will make the next part another post. 

April 5, 1932

April 5, 1932
9:30 a.m.

Woke up with a smile, do not know why, must have dreamt of something good. Or maybe because the sun greeted me through my window. I see the sun so seldom here that it really is a treat to see her. How did I sleep? Well, Libinker, what am I going to do today? I am going to wash my hair, eat breakfast, play a little “solitaire,” read, eat lunch, read, then I’ll go down to Rabbi Opochinsky and go down together with Mrs. Opochinsky to the sisterhood. I expect the pictures today, you have not forgotten to send them have you beloved? Oh how I miss you. I just seem to be lost. I have grown like a statue, do not hear what is spoken to me, do not feel. I do not know whether I am alive, I seem to be just existing.

I am waiting impatiently for 10:20 when they deliver the mail. Just think of it libinker, yesterday the all day not a word from you. You cruel Boy why do you treat your Bibi in such a way. Why don’t you figure out the exact time for me to get your letters. You know what your letters mean to me.

This is where this letter ends, if we’re lucky we will find the rest eventually.