Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 13 July 1922
Page 3, "Of The Relief Work in the Volga Colonies"
[no date or salutation - Translator]
Assistance uplifts those who receive it even if the assistance is not enough for everyone, it is a help never-the-less because it is necessary. This fulfillment of this thought occurred here once again: At the beginning of April the hunger emergency had increased to the extreme. We could not travel to obtain any provisions because the weather with which we are plagued in the spring, made travel impossible.
The villagers sighed with hunger and agonized in fear: What's going to happen? One must begin to farm but how can this be done without bread?
Meanwhile however, the Lord had already done His work and again he used the Americans as His tools; the information came that provisions sent from the Council had arrived. Wagons were immediately rented and the hotly longed for provisions brought here from Krasni-Kut.
The same were immediately distributed to the people and naturally the poorest of the poor were served first.
Beaming with joy and gratitude the people received the valued gifts and asked that I write to the beloved American donors.
An ancient 75-year-old matron with tears in her eyes said to another: "Yesterday I had eaten the last of my food and thought that now I would have to starve. Tell the Americans that my lack of faith has shamed me. I have again been helped. My thanks to the donors over there in the New World where there already exists a piece of Heaven."
I hereby fulfill my obligation and say to all the donors from me personally and also in the name of all of the townspeople of Wiesenmüller, my heartfelt thanks and may God reward you! After God, we owe it to you that our farmers through your difficult work need not starve.
Without this help they would not have been able to farm.
Very much esteemed Pastor Ernst: Please, we hope that you will forward this letter to the newspapers.
For this I heartily thank you in advance, from:
A. Döll, Sexton at Wiesenmüller
Page 3, "About the Relief Work in the Volga Colonies"
Pastor Ernst reports about his work as follows:
The spirit of the people of the Volga District has lifted very much in the last few weeks. They have new courage. This is the result of two circumstances: increased health and strength through the large distribution of grain to the starving villages; And continuous feeding by the American Relief Administration and the National Lutheran Council.
Since American food has been regularly distributed in the Saratov District--through Children's Kitchens and grain distributions for adults--practically no deaths have occurred from hunger, the exception being among the refugees. The refugee movement is still large and despite all the aid for them, deaths still occur. The refugees who now come to Saratov are not fleeing from the Volga villages as they did some months ago but rather they are returning from Minsk, the Caucasus and the Polish border in order reclaim their homes. They fled from their homes and villages in the last year and walked over all of Russia, homeless, sick and hungry. Now, after their long migration they return home out of homesickness but are often so sick and weak from hunger that though they will see their homes they will not be able to recover. We are doing everything we can to help the returnees at the Stations and some are saved.
The harvest outlook for this year on both sides of the Volga is hoped to be the largest in all of Russia. Pastor Ernest reports that in the German villages--nearly 146--twice as much land is being planted than was in the last year. In the fall of 1920 and spring of 1921 there was 182,370 desyatin, compared to 372,457 desyatin this year. 111,400 desyatin wheat and 120,361 desyatin rye will be planted. There will be 5 times more wheat planted than was planted last year.
In addition, good weather conditions have prevailed this year. On the Volga, such a springtime has never before been seen, not like preceding years when the summer immediately followed the winter, but several weeks of spring with gentle rains nearly every day, just the way it is in Minnesota and Iowa. This weather allowed the grain to grow and brought new life and courage into the hearts of the farmers. Even Hay was made, in many cases enough for next year.
So far we have helped 176,000 persons, mostly the elderly, the weak, mothers with small children and the sick.
Mr. Beschorner wrote the following from the Wiesenseite:
In accordance with the agreement between Dr. Morehead, Commissioner of the National Lutheran Council and Colonel T.C. Lauergean an Operations official of the American Relief Administration in Moscow, I undertook the duties as an inspector with my quarters situated in Krasni Kut. My Inspection District covers the following Warehouse Districts:
Krasni-Kut, 25 villages, 30 kitchens, 10,331 children,
Langenfeld, 25 villages, 27 kitchens, 11,078 children,
Gmilinski, 5 villages, 5 kitchens, 3,395 children,
Pallasovka, 11 villages, 11 kitchens, 3,578 children
In addition, the villages where the rations are paid for by the Council:
Yagodnaja, 479 children,
together 14,860 children.
The distribution of grain, which was eagerly awaited by the adult population and contributed very much toward remedying the emergency was made after the following numbers:
Krasni-Kut warehouse, April 11,500, May 17,270;
Langenfeld, April 12,200, May 18,500;
Gmilinski, April 3,725, May 5,600;
Pallasovka, April 3,925, May 5,880;
Altogether in April 31,350, in May 47,250.
Many villages of my district are 100-175 versts distant from Saratov which is the distribution point for the next food packets. Since horses are scarce and all in bad condition, and they are needed for field work, I was asked by the people if I could bring along their food packages, since sending them through the Post Office or by freight was unsafe and hauling them by wagon too expensive.
With the agreement of the Food Director in Saratov, I was instructed to carry 60 packages on two railway carriages from Saratov to Krasni-Kut on May 3rd and informed the people whose packages I had that they might like to fetch these in Krasni-Kut.
Approximately 250 of these packages were delivered from the railway carriages, the remaining were put in a secure house so that the people could fetch them there. Among the packages were many from other organizations and the National Lutheran Council given for the public. The people and also the villages were very grateful for this assistance with the delivery since it saved them much expense and brought the packages 107 versts nearer to their homes safe and secure.
This also was a kind of aid and the people understood it as such and were grateful for the favor. I will again make it so in the future. I am prepared to give time and energy to all this extra work.
Page 3, "About the Relief Work in the Volga Colonies"
A letter came from students in Saratov and Pastor Ernst writes:
"The students of Gustav Adolf College in St. Peter, Minnesota transferred money for students who are in need in Russia. It gives me great joy to have the opportunity to assist these German students in Saratov with donations. (Again a long series of letters followed. The originals are in our office.)
We, the undersigned, herewith attest our heartfelt thanks for the receipt of support from the Councils through the Church Council. We are filled with gratitude for what the Lord has done for us and therefore we thank you and also those gracious donors who remembered the word of God: Break your bread for those in hunger.
Dated 25 April 1922, Johannes Wiegand, Annkathrina März, Kaspar Grossman, Karl Yurk, F. Paber, R. Gaste, D. Yurk, M. Müller (there followed a thank you note with a long list of names which certified the equal distribution of the donations)
From Frank, where 4 bundles of clothing were sent are receipts for clothing from Georg Bernhardt, Pastor Kluck and Schoolmaster Joh. Eckhardt, dated 21 March 1922.
The Church Council of Rosenheim gratefully attests to the receipt of food valued at $300 from the National Lutheran Council for the elderly, the sick and the weak and ask that this writing be given to the great American Press so that our thanks also reach the donors. We send thanks from our hearts to all our Evangelical brethren who were moved to contribute towards our aid during this great emergency. None believed that help would arrive so quickly. We must acknowledge that we were saved from starvation by the wondrous guidance of our Lord. His way is the best way. He does not err, His works are pure blessings, His path is pure light. No one can hinder His works. His work continues without rest when He wishes to do what is good for his children.
7 April 1922, Chairman Ott, Secretary Müller
The Church Council of Enders herewith certifies that we have received food shipments for the elderly, the weak and sickly persons of our community in the months of January, February, and March.
In the name of those in the community who were aided, we, the Church Council write our thanks to you for the assistance we have received to date. The Church Council asks that you bespeak our thanks to all of the donors for their compassionate gifts of love and as evidence that the gifts were received we openly write this in the American Papers. May God bless all who participate in this Samaritan-like work, and from whose hearts these words are heard: "I was hungry....this you have done unto me."
The Church Council of Enders, Chairman Schneider,
Trustee and Assistant Preacher A. Muhl, 17 May 1922
The church community of Hussenbach-Unterdorf, at a meeting of the congregation, resolved to express its gratitude for the assistance you have bestowed upon the hungry among our members and they hope that the American brethren will henceforth continue to help them through this difficult time.
On behalf of the congregation: Conrad Schmidt, Joh. Jac. Schmal, G. Afelmaien, J. Jac. Bekoldt, David Weigel, J. J. Tittle, Chairman T. Möllman, Secretary, J. Gidnen
"I was afraid and you comforted me." I cling to these words and to you Pastor Ernst, as well as all of our brothers in faith in America, and in the name of my parish of Oberdorf-Kamyshin, I bespeak my grateful thanks for the great amount of love that the hand of a brother has delivered unto us.
Our famine emergency was making us very disconsolate. From where were we to expect assistance? Then suddenly and unexpectedly came the news that the Lutheran Christians in America had come together in order to aid their brothers in faith. How this joyful news spread encouragement as it went from mouth to mouth among the starving people. Many came to me and said: "Pastor, it is to us as if we felt the breath of God." Indeed, it seemed to me as if the burden was now only half as heavy.
Please give all of our brothers in faith our heartfelt thanks, and you yourself receive our heartfelt thanks. We had no idea that you, 1st brothers, worked tirelessly behind our bacfks and collected donations in order to ease our misery. And truthfully, your efforts were not in vain. Your love dried many tears and gave life to many brothers in faith. That which America has done for our starving people, especially the National Lutheran Council with its pastors voluntarily and devotedly placing themselves in the forfront of this service, will be written in history by the finger of God and become a monument to the love and mercy of our brothers in faith in America.
Not only that but also the names of those who took part in these works of love will be registered by the invisible Hand of God into the Book of Life: as Jesus said: "Thus you have done unto me."
Do not tire of doing good, satisfy the deep hunger of the starving---there will come a time when you will harvest without end. A heartfelt "God will reward you" to everyone.
8 March 1922, Pastor Schwab
For the receipt of products on 26 April, I and my community send our deepest thanks to you as the representative of the National Lutheran Councils as well as each and every member of the committees in America who worked with untiring zeal in this work of love. We send our thanks to all of you across the wide ocean who thought of us in love. May the Good Lord richly bless all involved in this work of love and reward your diligence and sacrifice.
Thelausa, 14 May, G. Fritzler, Pastor
We hereby communicate to you that the 18 shipments received in Swonerewkut were distributed by 6 authorized representatives of the church council to some 200 families in need. All who were recipients were mightily pleased and thanked you a thousand fold for the assistance you have sent us. Heartfelt thanks for this help which has eased the hunger and sorrow of many.
We remain your thankful brethren: Joh. Gotf. Herzog, Schoolmaster of Stahl,
A. Otto, Chairman, Church Council. Stahl, May 15. Apostles 11:29
To the Lutheran Council:
Thus it was that it was decided in America to send help to their brethren who live on the Volga. The first time I received food for my parish, we distributed it in small gifts to individual persons, old, weak and sick.
At the end of April we were again called by your representative to Saratov, this time to pick up larger gifts for Beideck, Balzer, and Schilling. In April the famine was so widespread that we had become discouraged, then came the aid. The Kitchens again began their activities for children up to 15 years of age. With the food received from Pastor Ernst, I opened a Kitchen for 300 persons on 3 May. The sugar and tea was specially distributed. Only a little at first because of requirements of the newly opened Kitchen and the fact of there being only a couple of pfund on hand. Now everyone is content and expects to receive only a certain daily portion.
In the coming weeks we will again receive a "helping hand" from you and with it we will be able to expand our Kitchen efforts further. The wings of love move powerfully.
In spirit we extend our hand to you and look to God with gratitude and express our most intimate thanks to all of our brothers in faith.
God blesses givers and gifts.
Pastor Herbert Güther in Beideck
We, the undersigned representatives of the community of Susannethal, Rosonowka, Volga Region, hereby say our most intimate thanks in the name of our community to the brothers in faith in America for the assistance you provided by the food shipments like that which we have this day received, which contributed much to the alleviation of the famine emergency that rages here.
34 names and Pastor Heptner
The church council of Orlowloier on behalf of the entire community, all brothers in faith, to those who had a part in the sending over of donations for the alleviation of the emergency which has already taken away entire families, a heartfelt thanks.
It is comforting to know in our heavy suffering, that in the far distance there are hearts beating which will not let us sink in this great disaster and will come to our assistance.
May God, because we cannot, do the remainder and repay you over there.
May 18, Church Council: Andreas Reusch,
Andreas Reiner, Christ. Lär, Joh. Krüger
This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.