15 December 1921

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 15 December 1921

Page 7, "From Beideck Russia"

Beideck, 9 October 1921 
To: Lukas Dreith, Lincoln, Nebraska

Deeply beloved brother and family and all relatives and acquaintances:

We received your letter and heard with joy that things are going well for you. I note that you wrote of the Brotherhood Meetings. It reminded me of the Psalmist where he speaks of "protecting the righteous." It makes me happy that you attend the meetings, which I also do. In this we will not lose our faith, which has a great reward. As I read your letter my tears began to flow so fast that I had to stop reading. Our 3-year-old granddaughter went to her grandmother and said: If the man comes again with a letter, do not let him in the house with it, otherwise all of us will have to cry, because grandmother, you also have wet eyes.

What would a home be without the young innocent children, who nevertheless must suffer so terribly under the pressure of the emergency?

Further, we saw from your letter that you and all of our people in America have sympathetic hearts because you have organized a Relief Society and will come to us with arms mercifully outstretched in order to save us from starving to death. God gives his blessings in the same way, as Christ fed the people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The young were troubled and spoke: "Where do we get the bread to feed all these?" God also still does His miracles today for the children of man, that I firmly believe. If we open our hearts in child-like trust, then He helps us from all emergency.

Your former acquaintance, Konrad Balthasar Schneider, attends the Brotherhood Meetings; he sends you cordial greetings. Also your Pabst nieces and nephews greet you; they also want to write you. I learned from Heinrich Windecker that your sister-in-law Kathrinlis Seibel was in Beideck a few days ago. She is still well but things are also going poorly for her. Heinrich Windecker thinks of you as does Jacob Habermann from Balzer.

Some days ago my brother-in-law Georg Wagenleiter from Warenburg was here and told me of the burden he is under with trying to supply the needs of a handful of orphans. He tearfully took his leave from me. Dear brother Lukas: could you find some countrymen living near you from Warenburg who might have sympathy for the poor orphans in their mother colony who would cast their bread upon the waters in support of the poor little ones and would assuredly be doing a deed that would please God. These orphans are the children of the deceased Heinrich Wagenleiter; their mother, born a Busick, is also dead.

Now I must report to you with a heavy heart of a terrible murder. Balthasar Froscheiser, 42, and Georg Steinbrecher, 46, drove out one day at 10 o'clock in the morning, from Beideck, on the main road to Saratov. Eight versts from Beideck is something of a forest and as they entered it they were attacked by robbers, captured and shamefully murdered. When they were found after a search of 5 days, vermin had already taken over their bodies. No trace of the murderers was found. Such cases are not unusual here.

A Poor Kitchen was established in the village. Men were selected from each street who are to provide manpower for the thing. They are using my cellar and shop to store and distribute the products. I recognize the men here by name: Heinrich Grünemeier, Philipp Mohr, Georg Eitel, Balthasar Miller and Ernst Hörter; the chairman is Alexander Schultz, the latter also has brothers physically in America. The whole crew sends you greetings. They are mightily pleased about the aid that is to come from America. They are supposed to care of the hungry and yet have nothing on hand; thus they are hoping for what is coming from over there.

The son of the deceased Pastor Günther is taking care of pastoral duties for us. The Schoolmaster is David Gerlach, who is also an industrious church going brother. The "Vorsteher" (Mayor) is Peter Ostermiller. As fodder for livestock we have mowed "Dornenkraut" (thorny herbs, thorny weeds,??), the emergency being no longer quite so large in this regard. I did not want to write so much but the indescribable emergency forces me on. Every day people are coming to me and asking about the assistance coming from America.

Now I also will tell you that some families have recently left for America, among them is Susanna, the wife of Peter Müller. Her husband has been in America 8 years already, probably near you in the city of Lincoln (unless we are mistaken, Mr. Müller is not in Lincoln, but in Hebron, Nebraska, with his brother-in-law J. J. Spomer...the editor). When Mrs. Müller comes to you she can tell you much. In the emergency people in despair have exchanged their last articles of clothing for pumpkins and potatoes in order to satisfy their terrible hunger. May God quickly send assistance to us!

With best greetings to you all, I remain in hope of hearing from you again soon. 
               Your loving brother in the Lord, 
                         Conrad Würtz


Page 7, "Letter from Russia"

Balzer Colony, 15 September 1921

To: Johann and Jacob Jackel, Lincoln, Nebraska

Dear Johannes and jacob with your sisters, Mrs. Heinrich L. Kähm, Mrs. Georg Würtz, Mrs. Peter Würtz and Mrs. Martin Reese and their husbands and all their children:

I reach again for the pen to write to you because I have not received an answer to my previous letters.

Dear children: In this extreme emergency I take my last refuge in you, perhaps it is possible for you to rescue us from this great famine, of which you must certainly have heard. The World War and the Civil War and the total harvest failure have reduced us to beggars. Thousands have already starved to death and it will still cost many more victims. I and my wife, your foster parents, have been in Balzer for 3 weeks where we hope to struggle through for another 2 or 3 months. If by then no assistance arrives then we must resign ourselves to a death by starvation. You cannot imagine our present situation and we cannot describe it to you with a pen.

Is it not possible to bring us, your foster parents, to America? Naturally you would have to get permission from your government. If you send tickets, they must be sent through the American or German Consul, that way everything will safely arrive into our hands. You have no idea what we have already lived through. Here are some prices for food: rye flour costs 180--200,000 rubels to the pud, white bread, or biscuits, as they are called here, we haven't seen in so long that we cannot remember how they taste anymore. Potatoes are 30--40,000 rubels to the pud. You can imagine how we have to live. "Die Gäte ist nur noch der halbe Mensch." [Auntie is only about half her former size??? - Translator] Meat costs 3,000 and Rice 8,000 Rubel the Pfund. We lead a tearful existance and in tears I write to you and ask you, help, help us out of this bitter emergency, God will richly repay you. In my youth I tllk care to provide plentifully [for the future - Translator] but the good Lord has other plans for us. Our land, that would have been sufficient to feed us, was taken from us 3 years ago.

Entire households have already died out. Many people go forth but sadly do not get far because they are snatched up by death through starvation along the way. If no assistance arrives, then of every 100 people only 20 or 25 will survive until the spring.

Do not delay and act before it is too late. --- Johannes and Jacob, Elisabeth and Katharina, Maria Katharina and Amalia, all are affectionately greeted by your uncle and aunt, 
               Johannes and Maria Elisabetha Jackel




This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.