1 March 1923

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 1 March 1923

"Certification of Receipt and Words of Thanks"

Franker Chutor 
12 January, 1923
To: American Volga Relief Society
      Lincoln, Nebraska

Mr. President:
     I am happy to be again able to greet the President of the A.V.R.S. My heart is glad because I know of the colossal amount of work that you and the American brethren have done and because we again have hope that America will not abandon us in the future. But before I go any further, permit me to bespeak my deepest gratitude for the unexpectedly large amount of assistance and for the great love and mercy you have shown us during the year. Thousands, yes millions cried out for bread, millions fell to their knees and asked God eternal for help, and behold, they were shown a miracle the like of which has never been seen since the world began. The old merciful God, He still lives, not only does He live in these latest times of trouble but so does His grace. From the beginning we were in disbelief that the Americans would help us. Yes, many thought it laughable and they along with others robbed and weakened those who still believed there would be help. And thus it remained until we received the news that the Americans had arrived.
      When Georg Repp arrived there were still many who did not believe, because we judged others by our own standards, then suddenly the paperwork arrived telling us to go to Schilling to fetch products for a kitchen. A committee was quickly formed and on that same day the committee met and with hope and joy selected 100 children for feeding in the American kitchen. On the following morning the community met and the names of the selected children were read, then came the first tears, but they were not tears of anger or worry. No, they were tears of joy. The people stood there as if dead, as the reading of the children's names came to an end, then the adults cried loudly and many of the community offered up prayers of thanks. On the 29th of January, brother Kasper Knopf opened the Kitchen in house number 76. At 11 o'clock the first midday meal was completed. The entire committee attended. The snow-white bread looked so lovely, the rice mash so tender and pretty. Everything was regarded with joy and with pain because we had all forgotten these things and had thought never to see such things again. When the bell chimed signifying that everything was ready, the children were peacefully assembled, prayed together, and then went directly to the distribution. Then there were more tears. The mothers of those children who could not come because of illness or lack of clothing, cried loudly. Young and old were crying and thanking the Americans and praising God from their hearts. As for me, it was to difficult for me to watch all this and I had to stop serving (food) and turn away for a few minutes. It was a soulful hour! May God bless you and all who helped us so that you are returned a hundredfold for what have done for us. 
      And thus the Kitchen functioned until September 1st. In those 7 months we received, for the feeding of the children: 
                    Flour, 842 pud, 18 pfund. 
                    Groats and Rice, 186 pud, 27 pfund. 
                    Beans, 5 pud. 
                    Lard, 31 pud, 26 pfund. 
                    Cocoa, 12 pud, 8 pfund. 
                    Milk, 91 and 1/3 crates. 
      In total there were 49,800 servings given out. The total number of children was about 515. Aside from the feeding of the children, adults were also given Maize. In total we received during these 8 months, 1,345 pud; also a valuable gift from our dear brothers in America. 
      For general distribution we received once in March and once in July from Pastor Wagner: 
                    Flour, 548 pud. 
                    Rice, 156 pud, 25 pfund. 
                    Lard, 38 Pud, 20 pfund. 
                    Sugar, 72 pud. 
                    Cocoa, 27 pud, 20 pfund. 
                    Milk, 124 and 1/2 crates. 
      The above mentioned products were distributed to the populace by the Church Council: Conrad Wacker, Jakob Goettmann, Heinrich Fahrenbruch and Schoolmaster Jakob Conradi. In total, in the summer there were 1,136 souls in the Chutor, so that it amounted to 18 pud per soul. The larger families received up to 10 pud flour. Certainly it is through these gifts, that we are thankful for, that we now have bread of our own. They arrived just as work was beginning and saved many from starving to death and strengthened many others so that they were able to work. The sick and the elderly also received something each month from Dr. Ernst. In all about 100 pud. It was distributed to the eldest in the Chutor and to everyone 60 years of age or older. It brought them great joy. They are deeply thankful and also somewhat proud to have been especially remembered. 
      Now a few words about clothing. In March we received some clothing, 2 sacks from Dr. Ernst. In the summer we also received some children's clothing for 12 children, and lastly in October we received 3 packets from Mr. Volz for general distribution. All the clothing, except for the children's clothing, was evenly distributed. During the long journey and because of bad weather, much of the clothing arrived in tatters. Only the shoes were unaffected by the journey. We received 40 pairs of shoes from Mr. Volz, but most of the children in need of them were unable to put them on because the shoes were too small. In our Chutor there are 226 school children but only 167 attend school. The others stay at home and do not go outside because of the lack of clothing and shoes. The best clothing and shoes were sold or traded during the famine and now there are no more to be bought because of the terribly high prices. Many children who attend school come with sacks wrapped around their feet for footwear. It is the same with clothing, if not worse. The children hurry into the school in order to warm themselves, but these are only the ones who live close by the school. Many remain home and wait for clothing to be sent from America. If I could say another word, Mr. President, I ask that you ship us more for general distribution and that everyone send things to their villages in their old country. The clothing shortage is now worse than the food shortage was last year. There is nothing alive in the streets, everything is dead (quiet). For example, in a single family of 28 souls they have only 1 pair of old shoes in the house and so it is with many others. If the Americans want to help some more -- send more clothing designated for general distribution. In this way those who have their roots in Franker Chutor can help us. So that you will have an idea of the prices here I will give you a few examples: 1 arschin of gingham costs 7 million rubles, 1 arschin of good suit material, 60-70 million, 1 pud of grain 7-8 million, wheat 11-15 million, millet, 7 million. 
      Produce is very inexpensive compared to clothing. Clothing simply cannot be bought. Also there is little bread left over. Our Chutor had to pay 5,000 pud of "in kind" tax all at once. Then another 1,000 for school, Doctor, etc, so that finally the farmer has nothing left over. In short, life is hard, hard for everyone, and especially for God's servants, particularly for pastors and schoolmasters. Bread, thank God, there is to be had, but with clothing there is a severe shortage. One must dress according to ones official capacity but one cannot afford to do so. This is the basis for which I come to you through the German newspaper. At the same time I am sending a few cards to some people from Franker Chutor whose names I only know from stories. I will not feel insulted if they do not send me anything. --- There are many here poorer than I, whose needs are greater than mine. I beg your pardon if it was not in the plan to assist the clergy. 
      God bless you and the dear valued brethren, not only in the hereafter but (may He) also reward you plentifully here on earth for all your trouble and love for us, which we have not earned. 
      Our heartfelt thanks! We will never forget you, not even in the hereafter. 
      With heartfelt greetings to you and to all the brethren, and to everyone from Franker Chutor. 
                 Jakob Conradi
                 Schoolmaster of Franker Chutor

PS: I ask that you greet Pastor Wagner especially. 


Page 5, "Provisional Report on the First Clothing Distribution in Odessa"

December 1922

The clothing bundles are there.

     The long and hotly desired clothing bundles arrived today and the first clothing bundle was opened and sorted in the presence of the Representative of the National Lutheran Council, Doctor G. Schilling. Each individual piece speaks to us of the affectionate empathy and heart stirring attention of our fellow man in America, and one can only wonder at what all these people must have sacrificed, what consideration they have shown for the needy of our day. How stirring were the little notes found in some pieces of clothing and what concern they expressed. We wonder whether that particular item of clothing achieved the purpose desired by the donor --- whether it truly came to a man who also used it well, or to a woman who would also cherish it, --- or finally, to such a child who had indeed been the most in need at this time.
     Understandably, the individual donors are interested in the fate of their sacrificed articles of clothing and we are happy to remove any possible doubt by affirming that all of their loving sacrifices reached here intact and in good condition and that the Commission selected for the distribution of these clothing items is always mindful to distribute each individual piece, whenever possible, in accordance with the noble purposes of the donors.
     The lack of good footwear and warm underclothes is most serious and are the items most often requested from the pastor, whose home was literally besieged by those loudly asking for them. Most have heard the good news of the clothing bundle distribution and would like their particular needs satisfied, but this cannot be, because the number of those in need remains overwhelmingly large in this most serious time of testing and continues to persist. Thus it is evidently God's wise purpose for us to suffer bitter and heavy affliction for some time to come.
     The degree of favor, that the individual articles of clothing recently received and distributed, and the fairness of the distribution, may best be seen from the number of thank you letters and statements of the the individual recipients.
     We however, thank the large cooperating welfare organizations --- thank them wholeheartedly in the name of our poorest fellow believers, for the rich gift of clothing and for all the things that have come to us from over there in far away America. "Gott Vergelt's!"
                Alfred Nowack-Kurringer, Teacher


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.