Remembering Uncle I.

By the time Ismar Freund died, his nephew had been living in New York for three years. In a draft of a letter from Ismar David to his aunt and cousins, he expressed his gratitude and affection.

Letter about Ismar Freund
Draft letter from Ismar David on the death of his uncle, Ismar Freund. Ismar David papers, folder Letters in German, Cary Graphic Arts Collection, RIT.

While I write to you, I feel so near to you, that I have to share with you memories, in which Uncle I., a personality that was great, strong and rare [and will] live on.

Dear Aunt Liese, dear Peter, dear Paul,

A short while ago, I received the sad news from my mother that Uncle I. had passed away. Even though writing is my weak point, it is the only way I can express my sympathy. Even though our bond has surely loosened in later years, I haven’t forgotten the time I spent in your house and the time when we were so close to each other. I’ve never really expressed my feelings of gratitude. You all gave me the warmth of family life and taught me [so much]. I can still see Sabbath afternoons [in my mind’s eye], and I hear Uncle I. reading from the Bible. The [memories of the] musical evenings with the various (then young) musicians singing and playing the piano and the applause of the throng of listeners emerge from the past. I remember the advertisements for the election to the national associations and, in all the facets of this time, I can see Uncle Ismar as the head of the family and the organizer in Jewish community entities. I have never been able to express my thanks for all that I received from you in this time, which has become a foundation for my later life. Words of thanks seem so poor compared to that, for which they have been expressed.

So please take this letter as a sign of my sympathy. Forgive [me] that I haven’t written to you earlier. And I send my most heartfelt greetings.

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