Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 11 June 1925
Page 5, "Original Reports from Russia"
Alt Dönhof, 12 May 1925
Esteemed Welt-Post Reader:
Über lock're feuchte Erde
Geht der Sämann hin;
Emsig streuend Samenkörnlein,
Froh in seinem Sinn.
Spricht: Mög doch der Herr verleihen
Meinem Acker hier,
Reichen Segen und Gedeihen
Reiche Ernte mir!
Not und Sorgen muss Ich tragen,
Manchen Kummer, schwer;
In der Harten Wintertagen,
Grossen Mangel, sehr,
Doch, Gottlob, nun kann Ich wieder
Frohen Herzens geh'n
Meinen Acker auf und nieder,
Meinen Samen sä'n!
Who will begrudge the farmer the pleasure he derives from again being drawn out to the fields with a glad heart to prepare his acreage?
It is yet again finally summer! We have again, as in every year, the hope: From my seeds a harvest must follow; It cannot be another harvest failure like last year's.
Not only the farmer, but everyone is happy that the "green spikes" come out. Everyone is praying for a good harvest because all of us have need of it. You can believe us, dear Americans, we are weary of eternally calling for support from you. We would very much like to again be independent and eat our own bread gotten from our own fields.
The spring weather also started out beautifully but it no longer is so, wind and cold have followed. The grass doesn't want to grow correctly, which is something of a necessity which we have been in need of and hungered for the whole winter through. Many heads of households had to use roof straw for fodder. A man told me he had to use 20 year old soiled stable straw for fodder. What this means is well known to your farmers and it also means the same here; and cold weather is still very much a threat, it has yet to become warm.
The acreage was prepared, the fields were sown with seed sent to us by the government. Received at Dönhof were 8,334 pud (300,024 lbs.) wheat, rye in the autumn 3,000 Pud (108,000 lbs.), oats, barley, millet and others, also some hundred pud. Altogether about 12,000 pud (432,000 lbs.) with a bit left over.
Our village has 2 Cooperatives and 1 private bank, all three of which, despite the poverty, are working well. The agricultural Cooperative is led by Jakob (son of Wilhelm) Rutz, Philipp (son of Philipp) Rutz and Theodor (son of Michael) Schäfer, accountant. They have leased a Steam Mill and in the spring put in an experimental field. This experimental field which was plowed with a tractor is to be a "beginning" and is to be provided with water by an irrigation plant from the Karamysch River.
The executive committee of the other Cooperative is Johannes G. Schwartzkopf, Wilhelm Kaiser and others.
The Private Bank belongs to: Johannes Erbes, Gomer, and H. Altergott.
It is pleasing to see enterprising men endeavoring to make things better for the community.
From these "Kolonist" corporations our spinning population will be provided weaving work and "Sargin Soyuz" (technical research??). As the leader told me; they have 13,000 chairs to run, the 1st 4,000 chairs are running, of which Dönhof alone could serve 2,500 chairs but a large number failed to work during the previous winter.
Katharina Feudel née Hahn, NR 255, asks her friend Jakob Feudel with his sons, Franz Steinmark in Greeley, for help. She is a widow with 5 children in pressing conditions.
Heinrich Becker, Mrs. Maria Elizabeth Schwab, earlier living in Muscatine, Iowa, are asked for news and help by their sister Elisabeth Eichhorn who has received no news after 4 letters.
Wilhelm Jacobi (Johannes) seeking help from his uncle Johannes Erbes and Konrad Heinrich Keller. He has a sick wife and is badly in need of help.
Wilhelm Held, NR 628 thanks Jakob Hergert his polite letter in which he wrote that he would not pay for the trip.
In the past days approximately 20 families received notification that clothing packages from America were in Pokrowsk (Engels) for pick up. I do not know if there are any more packages there to be picked up. In any case, it's too soon to complain. One does only the necessary steps, then perhaps there will also be other missing packages to receive.
Died since 1 April: Wilhelm Müller, Philipp's son, 25 years old; Johannes Wolf, Michael's son, 21 years, and 2 children.
Since 1 January of this year 30 people have died; 84 children have been born.
Confirmation: Those who will be confirmed at Pentecost are 60 boys, 84 girls; of these children 53 are orphaned, under that 41 fatherless.
Next Sunday a conference of brethren will be held here to which all Dönhofers are invited.
The oldest living couple here is: Johann Heinrich Scheller, 79, and his wife Katharina Elisabeth, born Held, 79, married 60 years. This old couple are still healthy and regularly attend all church services.
While we're on the subject of old couples, there was an old married couple I knew in 1910 in Walter Chutor. He was 93, she 91, married 73 years. They died, one shortly after the other: I buried the old woman on Good Friday and the old man 2 months later. Their names are: Heinrich Hill and Kath. Elisabeth nee Braun.
It is still cold and windy. Fodder in the fields is weak. We console ourselves by remembering the year 1909; at that time the spring weather was also like it is now, if there is a harvest such as that one then we will quickly be in need.
To my father-in-law John Lebsack and Brother-in-law, I received the letters and an answer will follow soon. The letters from sister Pauline, I have not received.
Die Nachtigall, die Lerche
Der Fink, das Schwälbchen klein,
Die lieber Klapperstörche---
Sie fanden sich jetzt ein.
H?rt, welch ein musizieren
Vollführt der Vöglein Chor!
Mensch, tut es dich nocht rühren?
Hör, offne Herz und Ohr!
With this I shake the hands of all readers in spirit, I remain, with German greetings,
I had already closed this report when I found a little bit more that I felt you would want me to include:
Since 1 January of this year Dönhof inhabitants have received $2,010 from America. This money quieted some of the emergency and worry.
Products for the orphans received from the government: 255 pud (9,180 lbs.) flour, 51 pud (1,836 lbs.) meat, 11 pud (396 lbs.) oil, 16 pud (576 lbs.) sugar, 500 pud (18,000 lbs.) potatoes, 81 pud (2,916 lbs.) millet, 20 pud (720 lbs.) groats. The products were given out for a three month period.
Katharina Elisabeth Kraus, Nr. 634, asks for help from her brother Wilhelm Gomer in Napoleon, Ohio. From her letters she has received no news.
Heinrich Scheller, NR 606 to his comrade Philipp Frank, his address is unknown.
This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.