15 March 1923

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 15 March 1923

"Page 3, "Expression of Thanks from Schilling"

Esteemed Editor:
     For a long time I have pondered what the best way might be for me to state my thanks and appreciation to our brethren in America who provided so much assistance to me and all the German brethren at the Volga River during the great emergency. I came to the conclusion to accomplish this by way of your publication. Therefore I sincerely ask that you not deny my request and print the following notice in your publication at your first opportunity:
      Deeply beloved brethren in America, great and small, young and old, all of you who had a part by doing everything and as much as you could for us during the great famine which affected us, perhaps many of you giving your last bit of savings in order to rescue us from misery and distress. For some this help came too late and they succumbed to starvation, but for many and yet many more the help came at just the right time so that thousands upon thousands more, next to God, owe their lives to you.
     Dear brothers and sisters, my heartfelt thanks for the good work you have done for us and are still doing. May God bless you for it a hundredfold, for we are unable to repay it in this lifetime. The dear Lord will repay you now and also in eternity, for He has said: "What you have done unto these, the least of my brethren, you have done unto me."
     Hopefully, you will find these poor thanks acceptable. And to close, we call out to you "God Protect You" and "Live Well."
     With greetings from your loving friends, Martin Kaufmann and wife Amalie Ernestine, nee Froschhaeuser.
          Address: Dorf Schilling -- Sosnowka
                         No. 422 bei der Wolga
                         Gouvernement Saratow
         Martin Kaufmann


Page 3, "Letters from Russia"

5 or 18 November 1922
To: David Graf in Denver, Colorado

Dear brother David and brother Karl and your families:
     This evening I want to tell you that we are still wonderfully healthy, the lone exception being myself, because in April I came down with Typhoid Fever and after it went away it left me with a nervous disorder that I am still dealing with today. If only I were in America so I could get medical assistance! I have, however, set aside my earthly wants and desires and concentrate on the heavenly, as it is said in John 3: "You must be born again." This earthly existence is short and given to us to prepare for eternity. About this the Psalmist also says: "Lord, teach us to consider that we must die, that we may do so intelligently." I must agree with Zacharias who says: "I and my house wish to serve the Lord." (Not Zacharias but Joshua. Joshua 24, 15. -- editor). Therefore I would also like to call out to you: Work while it is still daylight because the night will come where nobody can work.
      Now, we inform you that we have received the Food Draft and clothing that you sent to us. Mine came 3 weeks before the other brothers and sisters got theirs. I received: trousers, shirts, shoes, stockings, blouses and dresses and 12 spools of thread. If you send anything more, list what everyone is to receive so that it will be easier for us to distribute. You can imagine how very happy we were to receive these things since there is such a great shortage of clothing. To redeem the things from the Post Office we had to pay 62 million and some thousands rubles, which is lot of money, but shoes alone cost almost that much here. This gives you an idea of how high inflation is here. We say to you our most heartfelt thanks for everything you have done for us. The famine is no longer as bad as last year and nobody need die of hunger; everyone harvested a little something even if they only sowed a little. In spite of my serious illness which still lingers, I am the overseer of the oil mill.
     There is still much to write but I want to close with my thanks and to acknowledge your great generosity towards us. Cordially greet everyone and write again soon.
     With cordial greetings from house to house, your brother,
                         Heinrich Graf


"Page 3, "Letters From Russia"

January 22 1923
To: Jacob and Maria Triebelhorn in Denver, Colorado

Beloved brother-in-law and sister and your children:
     I want to try to again inform you that we are all still alive and well despite the past bitter emergency which we withstood and despite all the losses we have endured from the Revolution to the present. I and brother Heinrich are together and each have a total of 6 souls. We are very poor and in need of horses and clothing. While I was writing this letter one of our horses died and now we only have one left. Now we should and must have another horse but we cannot purchase one from our means. We ask you to help lift us up because all of the people of Messerwho have relatives in America have been helped in various ways by them while we have received only one gift which was sent to brother Heinrich, for which we heartily thank you. We have not yet received the gift which you sent to me.
     Please, do not forget us, otherwise the emergency will again gain the upper hand. A pair of boots costs a hundred million rubles and a suit 300 -- 400 million rubles, while a horse costs 200 -- 300 billion rubles. Here the only thought is whether it is possible to go on living without assistance. It is only because of the large amount of American aid in the past year that we still live and we hope for further assistance from the A.R.A. The emergency became so large that we were unable to help ourselves. If a farmer does not have working livestock his hands are tied and even with his best efforts he cannot till his fields.
     Many of the Lehrs went over there and they have recently sent for their wives to come. Just now a letter came to the Lehrs here with the information that the women are at sea on their way to America; they embarked on January 17th.
     It is our wish that you send everything through the A.R.A. because if is shipped by other means we will be unable to redeem it because it will cost too much money. (It is now too late to send anything through the A.R.A. -- Editor). And it is our wish that you also send us the dear Christian magazine because in its writings there is much to nourish us in the evenings, which is very necessary for us in our present time of great emergency, and we are thus comforted and better able to bear our end. I hope that my letters will not remain fruitless through time and eternity.
     In closing, be cordially greeted along with all our friends and acquaintances .Should we not see you again in this life, then after our struggle, may we greet you again in eternity.
     Write us more often and do not keep us waiting so long (between letters).
      With well wishes, I remain your brother and brother-in-law in old Messer,
                             Franz Lang


"Page 5, "American Relief Administration Praises American Volga Relief Society Representatives "

     When our vice-president, Mr. John Rohrig was recently in New York, in order to assist with our last clothing shipment, he met with leading officials of the American Relief Administration who expressed their complete satisfaction with our work. Mr. Page said there was hardly any other relief organization with whom they would rather work than with the A.V.R.S. He also said that there is no relief organization, neither in America nor in possibly any other country, that has rendered more direct assistance for the German Colonies on both sides of the Volga, than the American Volga Relief Society.
     What Mr. Page painfully touched upon was that there are nevertheless some people, despite the self-sacrificing work in this relief effort, who always find fault and throw criticism at everything. He had heard that one such person had tried to attack the character and work of our two representatives, Mr. George Repp of Portland, Oregon, and Pastor J. Wagner of Lincoln. In this regard, Mr. Page contacted the leading officials of the American Relief Administration in Russia and received the following letters in reply.
          Here are the letters:
              American Relief Administration
              42 Broadway, New York
              February 21, 1923

American Volga Relief Society
126 S. 11th St.
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dir Sirs: You will find a letter enclosed which arrived here from Russia and which reports about the distribution of food by the Volga Relief Society.
               Frank C. Page, Secretary
               Saratov, Russia, January 11, 1923
               Historical Division

The Director in Moscow, Russia

Dear Sir:
     In answer to your letter of 19 December, No. 496, concerning the distribution of food during the time that Mr. Georg Repp was here, I have to say that we cannot give you an accurate accounting for the food that was distributed by Mr. Repp and Pastor Wagner. We know however that both Mr. Repp and Pastor Wagner distributed a great deal of food for the American Volga Relief Society on the Wiesenseite. Besides this, the National Lutheran Council focused its entire relief work on the Wiesenseite of the Volga and together with these two men, distributed much food and clothing in the German colonies.
     We agree to the fact that the harvest on the Bergseite was somewhat better than that on the Weisenseite, but we should also point out that the "in kind" tax was much greater on the Bergseite than on the Wiesenseite. Thus one must conclude that the population on the Bergseite was more hard pressed.
      In the Balzer Canton there are presently 16 Thousand orphans and a similarly substantial number of widows because this area was the most heavily affected by bloody butchery during the Revolution. The relief effort of the German Red Cross is very small. As far as we know they distribute only 1,000 rations per month, exclusively on the Wiesenseite, in the Rayons of Tonkorshurowski and Pokrowsk.
      We have no information about the complaints, only letters from individual persons on the Wiesenseite complaining about the lack of food.
              Faithfully yours,
                    John. P. Gregg
                    District Overseer
                    Moscow, Russia, January 24, 1923


"Distribution of Clothing on the Berg- and Wiesenseite"

The following lists from Village Committees covering the distribution of clothing were received by the National Lutheran Council.

     Parish Village Wiezenfeld. 37 clothing items were distributed. The list is signed by Church Council Pres. Kuenstler: Weinberger, Sittner, Secretary Kufeld. 
     Neu-Laub. 46 items of clothing distributed on 18 September. Church Council: Metzler, Merk, Waegele, P. Vorrath, Secretary P. Mueller. 
      Rosenfeld (Nachoi). 52 clothing items distributed to the most needy. List signed by Secretary Johannes Kufeld. 
     Alexanderhoeh. Schoolmaster H. Lehmann reports 47 items of clothing distributed. List signed by the Pres. of the Church Council Liebrecht.
     Gnadendorf. Clothing distribution signed by Secretary Nagler and Church Council members Friedr. Gaus, Andr. Herdt, Heinr. Fischer, Weinberger.
     Parish Village Fresental. 31 items of clothing were allotted to the community. Signed by: Gottlieb, from August Mueller, Schweigert, representatives.
     Neu-Boisroux. 31 items of clothing were received for distribution. Present were Church Councilors Halle, Kerel, Franke, and the Soviet representative Lieder.
     Lilienfeld. 28 items of clothing distributed to the neediest. Signed by the Church Council: Weis, Kutscher, Glueck, Sexton J. Leirich.
     Neu-Urbach. 21 items of clothing received for distribution to the neediest residents. Church representatives: Boelsch, Knaub, Al. Anschuetz, Sexton.
                    All of these distributions began in mid September 1922. 

     Parish Village Paulskaya. Pastor Seydlitz writes that up to now only a third of his Parish has received clothing and only 1 piece per family. In order to avoid offense the clothing was given out by drawing names, all were included. Those who were unlucky have to wait until next time. Distributed in Paulskaya 200 items, in Nieder-Monjou, 240 items, in Beauregard, 112, in Cano, 110, in Philippsfeld, 90 pieces.
     Parish Village Krasnoyar. The lists show 163 persons who were able to receive clothing. Sexton Wegelin verified that the distribution was correct.
     Parish Osinowka. In Reinhard a list of 103 were given clothing. List signed by: Ch. Diets and Schoolteacher W. Wagner. In Lipowkut (Urbach) 350 items of clothing were received for distribution. Distribution Committee: J. Goldmann, J. Pfister, J. Mattheis. In Schaefer 17 items of clothing were distributed. The list signed by Church Council members H. Gerber, Hermann and Ertel.
     Podstepnaia (Rosenheim). The list shows a distribution of 131 items of clothing. Chariman Velde.
     Swanarewkut (Stahl am Karaman). A bundle of 77 items of clothing was distributed. Secretary G. Klautz verified the correct recipients and the distribution.
     Neu-Bauer, Friedenfelder Parish. 116 clothing items were distributed to the neediest people. Distribution attested by Church elder Schwartzkopf and Schoolmaster Simon.
     Meinhard, Raesanowka Parish. A completed list of those who were distributed 56 clothing items. In Susantal 113; in Hockerberg 50 adults and 18 Confirmation students received shares (of clothing). In Näb 32 Confirmation students were clothed. In Irlowskoi 48 children who were confirmed were given clothing. A list from Hummel shows that 18 confirmation students were given clothing. In Baskakowka (Kind) a report from 2 October shows 72 persons, men and women, shared in the clothing distribution. Members of the Church Council: Fr. Rothermel, J. Voelk, F. Loos, D. Koppel, (name obscured).
     In Näb, in mid September, 88 adults received a distribution of clothing. The list was signed by the following members of the Church Council: Th. Reusch, Mchl. Reutz, H. Menzel. A distribution list from Kind (Baskakowka) also indicates that 28 confirmation students were supplied with clothing.

     Yagodnaya-Polyana. On 19 September 1922, 87 girl's dresses and 103 boy's shirts and 107 trousers were distributed, in addition, 207 items of used clothing were given out to the neediest of the village. The list is singed b Pastor Feldbach and Schoolmaster Kromm. In Neu Straub there was received for distribution: boy's and girl's clothing, 104; mixed clothing, 94.
     On 17 October there was a further distribution of clothing made: 96 girl's dresses, 105 boy's shirts and 108 boy's trousers; 207 items of used clothing. In addition, smaller articles such as caps, bundles of socks, children's things, etc, 41 items.
     Pobochnaya. 200 items of clothing were received and distributed to the needy: Pastor Feldbasch, H. Rudy, P. Nazarenus.
     Sosnowka (Schilling). Pastor Guenther reports that on 15 September and 4 October 1922, he received 20 and 40 clothing items for distressed children in Sosnowka. The report is signed by members of the Church Council: J. Maul, Lindt, Caufmann, Walter and Sexton Gerlach.

     Those are all of the clothing lists that we presently have on hand. Hopefully the rest will arrive soon and the unrest will gradually subside. In the aforementioned villages, food was also distributed. The lists however, are nearly all from June and July of last year and were used for general assistance. It is understood that the N.L.C. in New York City, distributes monthly rations to villages of the Berg- and Wiesenseite which is designated for the elderly, sick, weak and frail. This is done according to lists. The lists could be published if necessary, but in short form which would note the number of Packets your village received so you would know how much food your Colony receives each month. We should have the clothing lists from Autumn and early Winter by now. It seems to me that the main problem is with the village committees. They have been urged to send in the due lists. Have a little patience!
     The A.R.A. will begin accepting applications for Food and Clothing Drafts on 15 February of this year. Whoever has anyone they wish to help must hurry. The undersigned committee is ready to assist.
                    National Lutheran Council
                    Relief Committee for Russia
                    Rev. L. Hopp, Chairman
                    Hastings, Nebraska


"Page 7, From Messer, Russia to Denver, Colorado"

     On March 1, 1913, as a young man of 25, Mr. Heinrich Peter Lehr, son of Heinrich Peter, arrived in Denver, Colorado intending to stay for a year and build up his finances and then return again to his wife and children in Russia, as many had done before him. The Great War broke out the following year and foiled his planned homecoming. In the meantime he maintained letter traffic with his old homeland when conditions between the two countries permitted. The many tears shed by he and his wife, born Barbara Werth, you can imagine much better than can be described. Mr. Lehr left behind a 4 month old daughter who is now 10 years old and in pure joy constantly keeps her arms locked around her father's neck because on March 6th, these people were granted the great pleasure of coming together again after such a long separation.
     In addition to Mrs. Lehr and her daughter, there were also Mrs. Jacob Lehr, nee Meininger (Franzmenge), Mrs. Franz Lehr, nee Marie Brauer, Mrs. Heinrich Lang (Mauters), nee Amelia Wunder from Moor, and Miss Amalia Weber (Lena Nestert), who left Messer, near Saratov, Russia, on November 28, 1922, to be with their husbands and fathers in America. How many children of the latter there were is unknown to us. Mr. Heinrich Weber accompanied the group as far as Moscow and then returned home. The women stayed in Moscow for an entire month, not because they wanted to but because they were uncertain and had no leader to guide them onwards. Finally they gathered up courage and traveled to Riga, Latvia, leaving on December 28th and arriving in Riga on 1 January. Because they arrived in Riga during the holidays they were unable to get anything done until January 7th, on which day they left for Bremen. They arrived in Bremen on January 10th.
     Miss Amalia Weber remained in Berlin with her brother who had already been living there for many years.
     On January 13th, the four last named women boarded ship for America. Their destination was Flint, Michigan, where their husbands were living.
     In Bremen there was again the pain of separation because Mrs. Lehr and her Lydia were held back because the shipping company had not received the necessary authorization paperwork. They had no other choice but to remain in Bremen for an entire month until the papers finally arrived. On February 10th, the happy hour arrived when Mrs. Lehr and her little daughter were finally called to board ship for America. Happily they boarded, trusting their fate to the steamship Seidlitz for the long ocean crossing. They spent 13 days and nights at sea until on February 23rd, they arrived in New York.
     For Mrs. Lehr, another test arose: She had caught a cold and was put in a hospital where she stayed for 6 days. When the happy news was telegraphed to Denver that Mrs. Lehr and Lydia had arrived in America, Mr. Lehr was like a man sitting on hot coals, tense with expectation of the happy reunion after such a long separation. And when a further telegram arrived announcing their departure from New York, his joy and anxiety rose to the extreme. Mrs. Lehr and her now extremely happy Lydia, boarded a train in New York on March 2nd, which would take them, after a few days journey, to their destination, their new homeland, Denver, Colorado.
     During this time, Mr. Lehr heard almost nothing from the train depot. March 6th was the day his wife should have safely arrived, but when the Burlington train arrived that day he was informed that his people were not on board. With a troubled heart he went back home, but events were to change rapidly. He had not been home for an hour when a "Kutsche" (coach, bus) drove up to his house and in it sat his wife and daughter. The had arrived on a different train.
     That evening there was a gathering of 50 people, most all were fellow villagers who celebrated with Mr. Lehr. The dear man stood teary eyed with gratitude. Your Welt-Post reporter had the opportunity to see and speak with the newcomers and participate in the general celebration. By the way, the journey went well and Mrs. Lehr's and her daughter's faces have taken on a rosy color in the last few days.
     Mr. Lehr leased a roomy house and his faithful wife has made everything quite homey, which Mr. Lehr highly values and appreciates. In Russia he spent 25 years in one house, here he has had dozens of temporary lodgings because he never felt at home among strange people. But enough of this.
     Regarding the famine, Mrs. Lehr told us that in Messer alone 1,600 people had died of hunger. The families of Heinrich Jacob Moehr with 9 souls, Jacob Willmann's with 7 souls, and another Willmann family with 10 souls. (Ernste Hanna) and Heinrich (rote) Brug's with 6 souls all died of hunger. Those who came down with diseases were carried away by Death in great numbers. Now it is somewhat better, but even this winter many must suffer hunger. Many people have absolutely nothing to burn (for heating).
     In Messer there are more such women whose husbands have already been in America for 10 years. Mrs. Lehr said that she and the women in her group were the first to find the proper route to America, she means that now more will come now that the way is known.
     Kath. Lorenz, nee Weber (S'Lena), wife of Karl Lorenz in Okeene, Oklahoma, has yet to recover from her illness but happily sent off Mrs. Lehr with the words: I will follow (you) soon.


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.