11 September 1924

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 11 September 1924

Page 3, "Letters from Russia"

Wiesenmüller, 18 July 1924 
To: David Mut (Muth) and family, Otis, Kansas

Dear brother-in-law David and sister Maria Katharina! 
     We all send our greetings and wish you the best of health as ours is at the present time. 
     Our family is composed of 10 souls, 2 sons, Friedrich and Alexander are still here with us but our oldest son Johann Georg has left us (moved). He has 8 souls in his family. Also Jacob has left. He had 7 souls. 
     The harvest here was very poor, wheat only 2 pud per desyatin [a pud = 36 lbs.; desyatin = 2.7 U.S. acres], rye 5 pud per sown desyatin. It is nearly as bad as 1921. 
     If it rains soon we'll still be able to harvest potatoes, if it doesn't rain then things will really get bad. 
     We still have 2 old horses, 2 foals, 3 camels, 2 suckling foals, 4 cows, 2 heifers, and 12 sheep. We have fodder enough and some old fodder left over from last year. 
     The price of fruit is horrendous even if one had the money to buy it. A pud of wheat is nearing 2 rubles. If there isn't any help coming soon people will be selling livestock to buy bread. One could write still much more but what's the point? 
     I have already written to you once but have received no answer. Now, in my old age, I think often of you. I am carrying 62 years on my back, my wife Katharina is a year younger. I don't need to work anymore. 
     Johann Jacob Muth is also still alive but he is old and feeble. The old friends who remained here are all dead. 
     I send my greetings to all friends and acquaintances. Let us endeavor afterward when we are no longer here, to meet again in blessed Heaven. 
     With regards, you brother and brother-in-law 
               Georg Stuckert

[Translator's Note: Die Welt-Post had to have made a typographic error in the letter. Two rubles for a pud of wheat is a very low price. They had to have left off several zeroes after the 2. A pud of wheat would have cost in the millions of rubles during this time.]


Page 5, "Letters from Russia"

Brunnental, 5 August 1924

My Dear brother Elias: 
     Your last letter of 12 June I received with great joy. As I read the letter I could not but loudly cry over the death of our oldest brother Jacob. 
     The words that he spoke to me when he came from Bakunde to say goodbye to me as I was leaving our parent's home to become a soldier and would never meet him again, came to my mind: "I will not see you again in my lifetime." This statement has now become a bitter fact. 
     I will tell you how bad the harvest was: from 5 desyatin (13.5 acres) planted in rye, I harvested 9 pud (324 lbs.), while from 7 1/2 desyatin (20 1/4 acres) I recovered 8 sacks of wheat. Barley, oats, "Dotter", and millet were not even planted. The seed potatoes were eaten by worms. The harvest failed along the entire Volga watershed. 
     Many people are already out of bread and we also have not had any for a while. However, when the $10 came, $5 from you and $5 from my wife's brother Jacob Hergert, we were able to buy some again which lasted beautifully until the beginning of harvest. I pray to God to cast out this misery but it always returns. 
     "What will we eat, what will we drink, with what shall we clother ourselves?" 
     The government is building a huge dam with locks and we (the community) do the work. The funding for it was in the form of a government loan to us. There is some work to have there at the rate of 1 ruble 40 kopeks per kubik [possibly he means a cubic yard - Translator]. One cannot earn enough for food at that rate. It reminds me of the children of Israel in Egypt. 
     The dam below was built first and the dam above remains yet to be built as well as the tract dam and the sheep dam and all the bridges. 
     A misfortune occurred while working on the dam: Johannes Koch's 13-year-old daughter along with 2 other girls were running alongside a wagon snatching stones from it to use as skipping stones and they were caught up by the wagon wheels and run over. They died within the hour. 
     My daughter Amalia and her husband David Kindsvater have gone to Kuban. She wrote me that the harvest there was good but there are too many people there and as a result wages are not the best. Amalia worries a lot about us, she's afraid we will starve. I wrote her that the old God still lives and He can and will help us. 
     My daughter's husband David Kindsvater has harvested 15 pfund (13 1/2 lbs.) of grain from 24 faden (about 900 sq. ft.) of land and 2 pud 15 pfund (85 lbs.) of wheat from 1 1/2 desyatin (4 acres). 
     I also must inform you that our half-brother Heinrich Bretthauer is dead. He died peacefully. I dressed him in his burial clothes. 
     Please dear brother, publish the details of this letter, because I know our Brunnentalers will be glad to read bits of news from their old homeland. 
     I also send greetings to our friend Heinrich Hergert from Walter
     As my Pastor says: we stepchildren are well taken care of by the government. 
     Forget us not in our great need. 
               With heartfelt greetings, your brother, 
                       Johann Georg E. Hergert


Page 5, "Letters from Russia"

     Under the date of 22 June [1924], Heinrich and Katherina Hoff from Russia (probably from Frank) write to Johannes Eckhardt, 491 Fremont St., Portland, Oregon. In the letter "brother" Jacob, Adam and their wives and "brother-in-law" Heinrich Hoffman are mentioned. 
     They write about the severe drought and their misery, that they have no bread and must eat soup without bread. They often dream of gorging themselves on leftovers from their friends in America. They have 7 children, which makes their situation even worse. 
     They would like to write more often but have no money for postage. In their distress they ask for assistance and letters of reassurance from America. 
     Their address is Frank, House Number 470 [Translator's note: quotation marks and parentheses are those of the Welt-Post editor.]


Page 5, "Letters from Russia"

Schilling, 31 July [1924] 
To: John Roh, 222 Van Wagoner St., Flint, Michigan

Dear Children Johannes and Maria: 
     On 2 July we received your letter of 11 June and we are happy that you are well. I would have written sooner but I had no money for postage and had to wait and see how the harvest turned out. 
     From 3 desyatin (8 acres) planted in rye, I harvested 12 pud (132 lbs.). With wheat it was still much worse. 
     For 3 months there was not a drop of rain. Now almost every day there are passing showers so we have hope for the sunflowers and potatoes. As for fodder, we here in Schilling have no problems because we used our wheat for it, but in other villages they cry out to heaven in distress over the fodder shortage. 
     The impending shortages have caused so much fear among the people that markets are overflowing with cattle and prices are very cheap, but produce prices are rising daily. The government has acted quickly to put an end to the panic by sending a representative to the villages and reprimanding them, telling them not to sell their property and to trust the government to provide seed, bread and fodder. Also it was published in the newspapers that the harvest failure was not widespread throughout Russia. In Ukraine and the Caucasus and in many other parts of Russia, farm production is such that Russia will not harvest any less on average than it did last year. 
     This is easy to believe because thousands of pud of rye have arrived for seeding, and thus the government will also provide for others in need. 
     I sold my oxen for 170 rubles and bought a pair of horses for 180 rubles. Now I will sell hay and buy a cow. We are in the midst of harvesting hay. 
     Now, I ask of you, send a pair of eyeglasses for the 52 year old. We have not been able to set aside anything for them for we would otherwise lose the hops and malt because of the high release tax we must pay. 
     Goebel's Feede was here recently on a visit. They are in Baku. 
     Your parents-in-law are well. We returned home yesterday from mowing grass on the Wiesenseite where we were together with them. 
     The ruble is once again strong and has more value than the inflationary currency. There are perhaps those people who are going mad counting their old money which now has no worth. 
     Our family now consists of 7 souls. All will soon be adults and will have to go to work for Faust. Then life will be easier. 
     We would like to send you some photographs but are not able to afford the best packaging. Send us some money for it. 
     We do not know when we will next go to the market [words obscured] children forgotten and do help. 
     As for you, Johannes, don't be so lazy and write to us more bits of news. Of Strackbeins, one can always hear something of interest. 
               With greetings from us, your parents: 
                         J and E. Roh


Page 5, "Letters from Russia"

Kolb, 25 June [1924] 
To: J. J. Thaut, Ritzville, Washington

Dear brother-in-law and sister-in-law: 
     Receive from us our warmest greetings. Our family consists of 6 souls. We have 2 daughters and 2 sons. Two sons have died. 
     In our day we have lived through difficult times: there are many temptations from within and without. There is now no more war in the country but shortages are again widespread. In the past 2 years it was such that one could manage to live but in this year we can't even take the machines onto the acreage. In many villages it hasn't rained at all since the new year. One could say that things look pretty bad. The people look sadly at the fields and gardens and with heavy hearts say to one another: What is there yet to come? 
     Dear brother-in-law for now there is no help to be seen. Our eyes look to the living God who caused you in America to let flow the bread from your hands during the past poor years, and again we so hope that your hearts will again be softened and provide help. 
     Make your brothers Alexander and Johannes aware of our situation. 
     Your 2 "Posilke" that we received earlier--the food and the wares: they came at the right time during our great need. Heartfelt thanks, we cannot repay you but there will come a time when you will receive payment. 
     Many people are now receiving money from friends in America. 
     Wheat is once again at its old price of 2 rubles per pud. 
     Religious observances are still carried on, one can daily visit churches and religious gatherings. Recently in Kolb we had a religious conference that was attended by over a thousand people. 
               Greetings and kisses, 
                              from Jacob Benzel and family


Page 5, "Letters from Russia"

Brunnental, 3 July 1924

Dear Mr. Volz: 
     First, now receive the answer to your dear letter, which after a long round about journey finally reached me. It was, naturally, instead of Kriwoi-Jar, addressed to Krasnoyar
     Had I written as I would have in March, my answer would have been happy. Now I can only report sadly. We have once again had a very poor harvest. It clutches at one's heart when one hears the complaints of the farmers and sees their sorrowful faces, many of whom had sown their last seeds on their acreage. 
     At the beginning of the year all of our strength was focused upon having a really heavy sowing because the winter of 1923 was snow free and this led us to hope for a good harvest. 
     Thus the people looked forward to quickly recovering and once again increasing their farm economy, and they were prepared to fight through until harvest time. But during the week of Pentecost a terrible heat wave occurred which crushed their optimism. 
     Many must once again suffer from hunger and sell their animals in order to purchase bread. Many are beginning plans to emigrate. 
     [Words obscured - Translator] and it is possible that the government can provide bread for our community. Would that this happens quickly! Should we once again appeal to the love filled hearts of our American brothers? You have already sacrificed so much! Once again you must help us, perhaps this will be the last of our miseries, perhaps God will bless the work of our hands in the coming year. 
     Concerning myself and my family: we are all still healthy and are working industriously, wife and children in the garden and in the home, me at the office. It is certainly difficult to perform my official duties when I am beset by the problems at home. But it is not the first deep valley through which we have had to travel. It is once more an opportunity for us to practice our faith in God. 
     Father-in-law Kosczol is still healthy but is very old and will most likely leave office this summer. Perhaps he will come and live with us. I would be happpy to have him. 
     Receive the heartfelt greetings of myself and my family, 
                         Johann Grasmick, Pastor


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.