10 August 1922

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 10 August 1922

Page 2, "From Nebraska"

Bayard, Nebraska, 2 August [1922]

Dear Welt-Post
     I have now been here for one month. I could not send a report on the journey from Alexander, Kansas to Bayard, Nebraska because there was so much work to be done. One of my village members, Mr. John Weis, received 2 letters from Frank, which I attach (in copy). The letter of 26 May is from his brother-in-law Conrad Weber. 
     Perhaps someone knows the address of Georg Weis, the father of John Weis. He lived in Greeley, Colorado about 1 1/2 years ago. Letters sent there have been returned. Whoever is aware of Georg Weis' address, please communicate with the undersigned or with Mr. John Weis in Bayard, Nebraska and perhaps give these lines to Mr. Georg Weis to read. 
               Rev. H. D. Scheer, Bayard, Nebraska

Frank, 25 May 1922 
From Adam Link to Johannes and Anna Maria Weis and family

Much loved brother and sister-in-law: 
     God's greetings and the comfort of Jesus Christ. 
     We are still all healthy and, including our 5 children, wish you the same from our hearts. 
     We thought that blood had been turned into water but now the good Lord has heard our plea and softened your hearts so that you have come to us with assistance. 
     Today on Ascension Day, we received the gift (the Basilka). With it we refreshed ourselves again. Our best thanks for it. 
     We have sown about the same as other people like us have sown. We possess nothing more than one cow. everything else we have killed, and whether this cow will yet remain with us we do not know. We have 5 children: Konrad is 14, Lydia 7, Jette 6, Emma 4 and the youngest is 1 year old. There is no food and clothing here. May the good Lord favor us with a good year. The weather is still good. 
     In the kitchen we have 5 children but there is so little and not the same as when we had our own. How indescribably sad things now are in Russia. 
     If it is possible, we ask you to get us out of this great affliction. The "Basilka," 3 pud, we divided with brother-in-law Konrad Weber. It brought 30 pfund flour, 14 pfd. rice, 4 pfd. sugar, 1 1/2 pfd. tea, 4 pfe. meat and 10 cans of milk for us. Once again receive our thanks for not forgetting us. Our house number is 573, we have our own house. Please write a quick answer. We know Songbook No. 675 like the poet.

Frank, 26 May 1922

Dear brother Johannes Weis and your wife and children: 
     We received your letter of 11 April and from it we see that you are all still well. 
     Our oldest son remained in Turkey. It has been 6 years and we do not know where he is or if he still lives. Our 2nd son Konrad had his right leg broken when a wall fell on him. We took him to Saratov on May 21st. It was a great calamity. 
     Dear brother and sister-in-law: Sister Annamarie Weber is also very weak. She lay sick 8 months in the winter and had to be taken to Saratov. The doctors said she has to have an operation. It is for me another great calamity and is very sad. 
     The 2nd son Konrad, who lies in Saratov in the Lazaret, came home from military service 4 months ago on a 2 month leave. Because he broke his leg we are hoping than he doesn't have to go back into the service. He married 2 months ago. He is now 23 years old. Heinrich is 20, Jakob 16, Jette 10 and Karl 6 years old. 
     The oldest daughter Katharinmargaret married a widower, Heinrich Riehn. He has 3 children and is 24 years old. 
     Since Heinrich is 20 years old we worry every hour of every day that he will have to go away for military service. Our sons are a very great worry for us. 
     Dear brother Johannes: When we heard that the old father still lives, we all cried. Where is brother Hanngeorg? We have heard nothing from him since he went to America. 
     We still have 1 cow, 1 horse and 3 fillies. One cannot do much with a filly. 
     Yesterday on Ascension Day they came straight from Saratov with "Basilka." There was a great amount of joy and also suffering. 
     The American Pastor Wagner was in Frank yesterday and it was said he would hold a church service but he was not able to do so because he was heavily committed to the great efforts of the A.R.A. He held a meeting on the village green which pleased us. 
     We thought that blood had been turned into water, but the old God heard our plea and came to meet us with the right help. We give you a song from the Song Book, No. 675. 
     To close we heartily greet everyone, also give greetings to old father and Jakob and Hanngeorg and all their children. 
     Hoping for a quick answer. 
     We have sown a desyatin of maise and a desyatin of corn. It took us 2 horses.


Page 2, "Letters from Russia"

Balzer, 28 June [1922]

Dear brother-in-law Friedrich Bolz, your wife and family: 
     We thank you for your letter and are pleased that you are well and we communicate to you that we are also healthy. 
     But, oh, such a sad message I must bring to you now, that is, that my dear man, your brother Karl died and was buried on Good Friday. He was laid up sick for 7 weeks with pernicious typhoid fever along with other ailments until there was no longer any help for him. Oh, what pain it is for me and my 7 orphans in such an expensive time as this! May the good Lord pity us and guide us through this dark time. 
     My man had such a high fever and in fact the high heat of his delirium came so quickly that he could not say a comforting word to his children. It was a sad Good Friday! 
     And for a time, as we all lay sick from typhoid fever, we met with further misfortune. Six times our food was dragged off, stolen. Now I stand helplessly as a widow. If my man were alive and still the family provider then it would not be so bad. 
     Dear brother-in-law Friedrich and nephew David in Loveland, Colorado, do not now forget us in our painfully sad situation. That you have sent us food, brother-in-law Friedrich, brings joy to our hearts and we thank you many times for it, although it has not yet arrived. We wait day and night for the happy hour when it finally arrives into our hands and at our empty table. 
     Just as sadly as it goes with us, it also goes with sister-in-law Katharina Popp: Her Johannes has also died and left her with 4 children; but the death angel came last winter and took 2 of the children away. Also the step-father of David Bolz died of a dangerous illness and one weeps for Kathche with her 5 children. Already many friendships have left our lives like that and left large gaps. 
     With brother-in-law Friedrich Schmueck in Usmorga and Johannes Eirich it goes better. 
     Step-father Konrad Spät and Alexander are in Siberia. 
     Since my Karl died we eat only 2 times a day and at that we do not have enough to eat to satisfy us fully. Every 2 weeks we receive 12 pfund "Welchkorn" for each soul, then we must carefully ration it so it is sufficient. Yes, who would have suspected such a thing a year ago. 
     Your sister-in-law Pauline Bolz and my 7 children cordially greet you.

(Sent in by David Bolz)


Page 2

Dönhof, 28 June [1922]

Dear friend David Bolz: 
     At last the long awaited letter came into our hands. It made us very happy to once again hear from you especially in such a time as this when our relatives are quickly becoming fewer. We were sad to learn from your letter that aunt Elisabeth Hettinger in Lincoln, Nebraska, had died. So there is cause for lamentation on both sides of the ocean; despite the great words that fell from the Master's lips over 2,000 years ago: Peace on earth and good will to men. 
     At present a ray of light penetrates into all the darkness, and that is the prospect of a good harvest. It is a shame that there are those among us who were not in any condition to sow something in the spring. Among our remaining friends here in Dönhof, little Mindel Legler is found to be in this sad situation. 
     Brother-in-law Jacob Legler also died of Typhus and left behind his wife and 7 children. In addition the eldest daughter also died of it and thus there are 6 little ones remaining. 
     Dear David: I know that you have your hands full with your mother and brothers, but, if possible help us also. Send us the address of the widow Legler's sister and brother-in-law Johannes Deines; also of Konrad and other brothers and sisters. 
               Greetings from your friends, 
                     Jacob and Elisabeth Rutz

I would like to add that friend Johannes Deines is in Hastings, Nebraska. Certainly he will help. 

[Sent in by David D. Bolz, R.1, Box 10, Loveland, Colorado.]


Page 2

Frank, 29 March 1922 
To: Jacob Grosskopf, Casper, Wyoming.

Much beloved children Jacob and Liese: 
     Be heartily greeted and kissed in spirit from all of us. 
     Your letter of 17 February was safely received, but I, your father, could not read it because I was overcome with joyous tears, so Maria had to read it. 
     You have loved us with the deep love of children and we cannot thank you enough for it. We want to also thank the dear Lord and ask his blessing be upon you; He will not leave you unrewarded. 
     Your help came at the right time because frankly, now everything is at its poorest. There is no bread, no fodder, no clothing. Many people get help from America and with it many souls can still be saved from starving to death. The farmers are still surviving, those who were able to harvest a little something and have cattle, but non-farmers frankly must starve. There is also the free "Kitchen Aid" which only feeds the children. 
     When we read the promise in your letter that you wanted to get us to America, I loudly wept and Mamma, Maria and Adolph were overjoyed. I took the letter to Schuster Bauer's and read it. There it produced joy upon joy. 
     Right now we are in the middle of a thaw but as soon as the water is gone I will go to the next station and get the things you sent to us. 
     Jacob is separated from his wife and is with us. Amalia married in Franker-Khutor to Konrad Bastron, son of Heinrich. He is religious and a good and strong man. Of Katharina we have heard nothing for a long time. Perhaps she has died because there was a great war in Baku. 
     Here in Russia there is Soviet money which can be exchanged for old paper money and also for gold and silver. For 200,000 Soviet rubles one receives 1,000 rubles old paper money. I have already sold our little wagon for 5,000 rubles old money. 
     Be heartily greeted by your father and the entire household.

This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.

Page 2, "A Cablegram from Walter, Russia"

On the second of August a cablegram came to Lincoln, Nebraska, from Russia with the following wording:

Frank-Walter, Russia, 31 July [1922]

Christian Butherus, Box 91, Holbrook, Nebraska, America

Quickly send food; save us; great hunger. Horses are all dead. Help; let all my friends know.

               Brother's son Jacob Butherus.


Page 3

Norka, April 28, 1922 
To the Volga Relief Society
Portland, Oregon

Dear and Honored Friends: 
     A little while ago I got a copy of the March 2nd issue of Die Welt-Post from a kindly disposed stranger. It was the first German-American newspaper I had gotten my hands on in years. I was impressed that our kindred brethren were so extraordinarily interested in their former homeland, the colonies on the shores of the Volga. People who are already a generation removed from here still cling with such great and deep affection to the place where once their cradle stood. This interest was for me a new stimulus to write as much as possible. Unfortunately much time and opportunity to send letters has been lost. We have had no postal service for about 1 1/2 months and no contact at all with the outside world. It is only the departure of winter hindering service. The snow this year melted very slowly and so thoroughly saturated the ground that one was unable to drive out for weeks even after the snow was all gone. This circumstance is regarded by the farmers as a very good sign. The snow had hardly left when it rained several times very heavily. Steam rose from the richly soaked earth in the mornings. The old people recounted that it had always been thus before a good harvest. We want to hope that they are correct. 
     Even though the roads were soft the people still had to make the difficult drive to the station at Medivedisa in order to get the seed wheat and American sweet corn. The difficult route took a heavy toll of livestock. In particular, on one of the only hot days of this spring, several oxen died. Our communities have received sufficient seed for sowing, especially those where there are still more working livestock. Norka received more than 25,000 pud of seeds for sowing, Huck about 20,000 pud. Unfortunately many landowners have no more working livestock. Also, last autumn hardly any land was prepared for spring sowing because of the land reform (the transition from municipal ownership to communal ownership. In my next letter I will write more in detail about the land reform). 
     For some days now they have busily begun preparing the ground and sowing. But it is to be expected that many of those who do not have working livestock and also those with a good harvest on the little land given them by their fellows, will not have a sufficient harvest to relieve the state of distress. In most colonies there are now too few working livestock and the few are so weak that even the best harvest will not make an end of the emergency. 
     On the second day of Easter the Children's Kitchens ceased operation since they were out of supplies. Fortunately however, the Welschkorn [sweet corn – translator] for the adults arrived during Easter week so that the greatest of emergencies was avoided. Today, May 1st, we received instructions to pick up supplies for the Children's Kitchens in Schilling. Now almost all of the children will be accepted into the kitchens. 
     Despite my best efforts to get to Balzer to see Mr. Repp, I have not been able to do so because all the working livestock is necessarily being used in the fields. We heard that the Central Receiving Point for the products for our Rayon [district –translator] has been shifted to Schilling where they can distribute them more easily. But even with that, it is difficult to fetch the products because the farmers are now not easily torn away from the soil. 
     The distribution of Welschkorn saved many people from starving to death and prepared many to carry out the difficult springtime preparations. Hopefully there will be no disruption in the distribution of this valuable commodity. (The day before yesterday, news came that the distribution of Welschkorn is assured.) A woman said to me: "If we get it regularly then we will not starve." 
     But now there are also other commodities that are needed. The farmers now have months of hard work before them, working at least a 16 hour work day. They must also have nutritional food. Apart from the shortage of Bread there is a most noticeable lack of fat. Poor people eat a mash made of ground Welschkorn without fat (lard), many even without salt. The government established a salt monopoly but made no provision for sending salt to the farming population. In the cities there are various cooperative enterprises which have access to this commodity but for private trading salt costs too much for the poor to buy. (About a month and a half ago I paid 380,000 rubles for 1/2 pod of very poor salt). 
     Generally, salt is no longer available to the poor, much as is letter writing. A simple letter already costs 30,000 rubles, an insured letter 60,000. Recently a woman came to me and brought a letter to her friends in America with the request that I forward it. She had gathered all of her money together. There was Soviet money of all kinds, there was money from the Kerensky period, also Tsarist money, all in all something over 11,000 Rubles. With tears in her eyes she had to take the letter away [from the post office –translator] with her again. The people would like to complain to their friends about the emergency but cannot do so [because of the cost –translator]. 
     I write here once again what I wrote to a good friend in America: Do not use the fact that your friends here do not write as an excuse. They have no paper, no envelopes (a sheet of paper or an envelope costs from 1 to 2,000 rubles), they have no ink, no pencil and finally, no money for postage. One must also take into account the uncertain Postal Service, writing to incorrect addresses---Thus you should understand that letter traffic is not totally reliable. If you have a friend here, then help him through a $10 purchase. If your friend has died or moved away, then your money will be returned to you. 
     You could truthfully say the assistance through Food Drafts has been ingeniously planned to exclude every risk. Or you could say; perhaps my friend does not have it so bad. Whereupon I have to say the following: Norka and a group of 4 or 5 other villages are places where the emergency is relatively smaller than elsewhere. We have, here in Norka, about 900 families. Among them I could not name 10 families that do not require assistance. 
     Along with the food shortage there is now a noticeable clothing shortage and it would truly be helpful if, as expressed in Pastor Wagner's letter (see Welt-Post of 2 March) something like Food Drafts where $10 is spent for food, could also be added that would provide money for which one here could also buy clothing and material. Just as the food parcels contain different products, so also could clothing parcels contain material, men's clothing, women's clothing, children's clothing, linens, needles, thread and buttons, etc. 
     Some such packages have arrived here at the Post Office. Yesterday a Deines came to me complaining that his friends had sent him an 11 pound clothing parcel. However he was supposed to pay 6,800,000 rubles custom duty for it. Since he did not have the almost 7 million ruble amount, the greatest portion of the clothing was taken and he was given only the small amount that remained. There is a clothing emergency! Assistance is urgently needed, but a new way must be found for it. The National Lutheran Council does provide clothing aid but this organization, understandably, cannot provide aid on such a massive scale demanded by the emergency. From them the middle-class receives nothing. Their gifts generally go only to the poorest. There is a clothing and material shortage in every home. Even families who had a supply of clothing and material now have had their supplies dwindle down to nothing. May the prominent men and women leaders in America give thought as to how they can also begin such Christian and brotherly assistance here. 
     The diseases here have diminished, particularly the terrible spotted fever, but now many people, exhausted by the hunger of the long winter months are dying. In Huck the death rate is significantly higher than in Norka. In Grimm and Messer and many other villages, a massive death rate prevails. The dead are collected and buried in mass graves of up to 25 people. Most are buried without ceremony. Sometimes one is seized with a terrible fear of the approaching summer. Many people were too weak to dig graves and scooped up existing ditches and put their dead into them, many quite shallowly. When they begin to decay as we enter the warm season, the poisonous vapors of the widespread dead will pollute the air. Many people are poor and are impoverished. A terrible barbarity prevails in our German Volga colonies that is growing ever greater. The future lies dark before us. Sometimes the powerful image that we here are on a sinking ship or in a death camp, forces its way into our thoughts. Will there be another Easter for our Volga Colonies? 
     With German greetings,your 
              F. Wacker, Pastor

A short postscript to Die Welt-Post
     It brought me great joy to receive an issue of this beloved newspaper. I cordially thank the friendly unknown donor who sent me this newspaper and I send my greetings. I greet the highly honored Editor, Mr. Lorenz and his co-workers. I greet all the compatriots and readers of this newspaper. I wish to express my desire that the Welt-Post and the other German-Russian newspapers in America to unite in common cause for the well being of our compatriots on both sides [of the ocean??—translator], here and there. 
     And now a request: Amalie Schleunning, née Brunn, here in Norka, has no news of her dear brothers, Johann George and Konrad Brunn, residing in Denver, Colo., Globeville, Leef St. Could your local agent there, Mr. David Kissler, make inquiries about them? Amalie Schleunning is a cook in an American Children's Kitchen, but the emergency prevails in her home. Likewise she also awaits aid from her brother-in-law and sister, Heinrich Saeder and Luise, née Brunn, formerly residents of Denver and then moved to the country. Please, help this poor woman to find her friends. 
     With heartfelt greetings, 
              F. Wacker, Pastor


Page 3, "Widow in Messer Thankful for Aid"

Dear Brothers and Sisters: 
     As I take up my pen in thanks, hot tears are rolling down my widow's cheeks. These are my tears of love and joy, shed for you because there was nothing left for me as a poor widow but death from starvation. You however, dear brothers and sisters, have rescued me and my five dear orphaned children so that I can experience the beautiful springtime and, if the Lord so blesses, take part in the working of the fields. It has now come to the point where perhaps we will be able to eat our own bread. 
     I send to you so far away many thousands of thanks for the loving gifts that brought us through this difficult time, especially difficult for widows and orphans, but the Lord does not leave behind those who steadfastly believe in Him. He will aid widows in need, yes, he has promised them a special blessing. He will stand by them and promises His grace and assistance. 
     Thus the word of the Lord has again been confirmed to me and my dear children. Through God's assistance the lot fell to me to be a cook in one of the Kitchens and I was thus saved. Because He always has the way and is never without means. Praise His blessed works. Thus the Lord receives those who lose themselves in Him and steadfastly trust in Him. The Giver of all gifts will bless you, dear brothers and sisters, a hundredfold for the fact that you saved so many souls from a cruel death of starvation, and after this life give you eternal blessedness: 
     Our dear mother sends cordial thanks through her tears. Yes, often on both her knees before God she has given thanks for the wonderful rescue. Dear friends: We five orphans also want to thank you for the many and precious gifts that you sent to us over land and sea. We can say as did David in the Psalm: "My father has abandoned me but the Lord has taken me unto Himself." 
     We thank you all, so far away, many thousands of times, dear brothers and sisters. 
     The dear Lord will bless all those who gave for our relief in the great emergency. 
     Thanking you, your grateful sister, 
              Maria Lipps


Page 3

Portland, Oregon, July 27

My dear friends: 
     It gives me great pleasure to be able to share with you that George Repp is once again totally recovered and is on his way home. For ten days he was laid low with cholera. Then he, as the following letter relates, once again went to work distributing food to the hungry; and after he had finished his work he began his journey home.  
     Your Devoted, 
              John W. Miller


CABLEGRAM Saratov via New York (Arrived Portland, July 20th) 
John W. Miller 
623 Lumbermens Bldg. 
Portland, Oregon

Enjoying good health. Leaving for States July seventeenth. 

F.A. Lorenz Received Advice from Rev. Wagner. --- Mr. Repp Again Well.

Lincoln, Nebr., July 11, 1922. 
John W. Miller 
623 Lumbermens Bldg. 
Portland, Oregon

My Dear Mr. Miller: 
     I am so very, very busy, but must take a few minute's time to express to you how sorry I feel that Mr. Repp was so ill. Last night however, we read 5 cards from Rev. Wagner, in which he says that Mr. Repp was to accompany a barge down the Volga on the 14th of June, from which we conclude that he had gotten over his sickness, and instead of taking the first train for America, he took the first barge out to the poor. 
     Brave man that he is! I trust that the good Lord will bring him home in due time safe and sound. Now, I do not know whether this is any news or not to you, but I am happy to convey it to you and his good wife, anyhow. 
     We have two carloads of clothing here, and shall begin loading today. If we had given them more time, I am sure we would have had another carload in a week or ten days; but perhaps we shall arrange for another consignment a little later. 
     With kindest regards to you and yours, Mrs. Repp, Rev. Hagelganz and the rest of them, I am, 
              Very sincerely yours, 
              F. A. LORENZ




This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald