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A letter from Sorina

I have very little understanding of what Sorina Perceval was like, as all of my impressions have been formed through reading Dick's version of what Sorina was like. So I was thrilled when a collector from the USA with an interest in 'Undercover Mail' had a typewritten letter from Sorina translated. This is actually a letter that she wrote to 4 people, sending each a carbon copy with their name written at the top. In addition to Dick, it is also written for her former husband Fritz (at least, I am assuming that it is Fritz Erbes) and her two sons Gunter and Wolf. Her third son, Horst had already died in the war. It is written from the hotel that she lived in during WW2.

Huge thanks to Ed Frasier for sharing this translation with me.

Zurich, April 4, 1944

In the Easter week

Sorina Perceval

Hotel Pellerive

My dear Dick,

Today is one of the first Spring days, it is 5 o’clock in the afternoon and my room is suffused in sunlight. On the lake are sailboats and little fishing boats gliding along in the sun. On the opposite shore are houses and villas hidden by the green trees, and behind this is the forested ridge of the Metliberges, where the sun sets. The trees of the ridge can be clearly seen against the sky. Pure Spring air fills my room.

Light red carnations in a vase, a mirrored side table with cocktail mixes, a long row of my books and beloved photos of you. The mood in the room created by the lake, the sun and the mountains lets me forget the whole world and carries my thoughts and love to you (pl). It is foremost my knowledge that Wolf is on vacation. He is so close to me and in the midst of all the people I love and who are in my thoughts.

Since Easter is coming up in the next few days, I know that everyone will have more time to think about me. All of this I can feel and it makes me so happy.

The beautiful colorful calendars that are hanging in your places show the picture of a colorful April. Looking at these pictures surely brings your thoughts to me in beautiful Switzerland. Luckily for us and the whole world we have another Spring and nobody can take this away. Nature remains unchanged, forever beautiful and renewed. Green grass covers the meadows, primroses and daffodils come up, the little almond trees are budding and the chestnut trees are beginning to show flower buds. All of nature is evolving.

How strange it may sound to you, we have fashion shows here and as a result I am wearing a dark blue narrow dress with a white stripe as closure down the middle. Along with that a white coat, a white straw hat with dark decorative feathers on the side, dark blue gloves and handbag and white fur shoes. All of it very ladylike and elegant and fitting the times…….On Sunday I went to the opera to listen to Parsifal. My speech lessons make me work and present diversion to me that I enjoy.

Now the time where I can take photos has begun again, and I promise to send you many many photos something you always liked.

Since I have a small kitchenette in my room with built-in wall cabinets that hold my porcelain and glasses and hot running water, I could invite you for tea or coffee, or small sandwiches and diverse cocktails. I have very good gin and vermouth, salted almonds and raisins as a snack. Then we would walk along the sea promenade and ………finally being together again. As you well know there are moments one feels very happy and everything seems possible and within reach. I have such an afternoon today and that’s why I am writing you this letter to share with you my mood of hopefulness and luck that we’ll see each other again.

This letter is composed with three carbon copies and this same letter with the same wishes and love goes to Richard, Fritz, Günter and Wolf. You all know that my heart and thoughts are with you and that I am at the center for you and always ready to receive and transmit your greetings.

The high point and the most beautiful in this time is our knowledge of our never-ending love for each other.

The Swiss Spring is sending its greetings to you,



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