Berlin, January 7, 1919
My dear child,
At the moment I cannot come up with a longer letter, but at least I can get this postcard off to you. These days are turbulent beyond belief, with constant putsches and riots. Who knows what we have yet to go through. Machine-gun fire rattles while I write!! The Spartacus people have occupied all of the newspaper offices. Your father has just told me that a regiment of the Guards has gone over to their side. In the past few days, they’ve been agitating for a general strike. Yesterday our workers walked off the job at 10:00 a.m. in order to join in the street demonstrations. This morning they all showed up, and after half an hour their spokesman, a Spartacan, again asked for a day off to demonstrate.
(January 9) The workers held a meeting after your father flatly turned them down, and the older and more rational ones, in particular those who had just returned from the front, well-nigh beat the life out of the Spartacus people. With a vote of everyone else against four (the four Spartacans in the shop), they decided against a further strike. I wrote the beginning of this letter on Tuesday afternoon. I had stayed home because I’d invited Richard and Fritz Pflaum for dinner, and wanted to show off the house all spruced up. Then suddenly the underground and the trams were shut down, and a terrible gun battle broke out on Wilhelm Strasse by the Brandenburg Gate, so that the Pflaums quite understandably feared coming. How were they to get to Grunewald and eventually return home?! [ . . . ]
On Monday, when I took a walk with Reinhold through Old Berlin to show him the Ephraim House, Nikolai Church, Kroegel, City Hall, Kloster Strasse, Marien Church, and so on, we kept coming across parades of people demonstrating. They marched in unison, of all things. And why not? They did so for the simple reason that they had all served in the military! [ . . . ]