GermanyHolocaustRefugeeSurvivorWhat We Carried

Painted Letter #2, Berlin, Germany

Jim Lommasson
Jim Lommasson / What We Carried

Eva Rickles:

This is the second letter from Peter, expressing the joy he felt to receive my parents’ response to his first letter written from Shanghai. He describes their experiences adjusting to life in Shanghai and declaring at the end that he will not rest in peace and comfort until HITLER HANGS.

Here are the translations of the panels of the painting:

  1. Pear Simons – That we were delighted by your dear letter can be seen from this prompt reply. “Jou” read it to me immediately, as you see, while I worked. 
  2. Our Shanghai, unfortunately, is not situated at the ocean, but rather is 4 hours off, on the broad yellow river. 
  3. Whereas other people can travel to Japan, and all often, foreigners with a “J” on their passport are restricted in a barbed wire enclosure, guarded by Japanese and divided into thirds amongst the French, English & Japanese.
  4. Shanghai is mostly dirty and noisy, but at the same time fabulous in its color, loveliness and incredible freedom.
  5. The humanity of the city intrigues us most particularly. We are particularly taken with the Chinese, of which there are about 4 million.
  6. There are about 70,000 whites, including 30,000 Russians and 17,000 Europeans who have fled from Hitler’s lands.
  7. And whereas Dolf, as a new groom, drove diagonally throughout the new world, and can do so again.
  8. We travel through the small streets of this large city in our rickshaw. The large streets we do by bus and tram. 
  9. Everything amuses us so that I have rediscovered my knack for drawing and I have done 30-40 paintings of Shanghai, partly in oils, partly in watercolors. They are being published in an art journal and hopefully some will sell. 
  10. Besides that, I have a few commissions for interior decorating some apartments for immigrants. The furniture is being made in a wonderful Chinese Saelory.
  11. Which is now always so simple
  12. Now I must keep my nerves while a half-bearable existence must crystalize here. It gets more and more difficult, day by day, and unfortunately, I have no more money.
  13. But until he dangles (from the rope) it will not get better anywhere. 


Best regards to you both


Feb. 24, 1940