16 November 1922

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 16 November 1922

Page 7, "From Norka"

     Under the date of 4 Sept., Georg Feuerstein in Norka writes to his nephew William Feuerstein in Grand Island, Nebraska, and thanks him for a $10 Food-Draft. 
     When the revolution broke out in 1917, he was in service to Borell's in Saratov, where he had worked for 25 years. When the mill property was seized and everything taken away in 1918, Feuerstein left Saratov for Norka where he worked a year for his brother-in-law Hölzer. 
     Then he bought a small garden plot from his brother Ludwig and lived there in a shed. 
     Later he worked 4 years in the local mill which the government had taken over. In February of 1922, the mill was closed and Feuerstein lost his employment. Thereafter he remained at his shed in the garden plot. 
     Feuerstein complains that the people have become sinful and brotherly love was no longer the rule. Everyone had retreated from their neighbors into a thick shell, etc. 
     He harvested 19 pud (684 lbs.) of rye and 30 pud (1,080 lbs.) of wheat of which he had to surrender 7 pud (252 lbs.) rye and 11 pud (396 lbs.) of wheat for seed. 
     In September there was already a punishing raw wind coming in from the north. Then it says: "We have nothing to look forward to. Everyone walks around in rags and when I think about the coming winter my heart aches. No fuel, no clothing, nothing for the feet. The children are all going barefoot. As long as it was warm it was alright, but now it's getting cold. For 8 years now I have not been able to buy any yardgoods (material/cloth); One always hoped that things would become less expensive, but today one Arschin (2 1/3 ft.) Sarpinka (Gingham) costs a million rubles." 
     Then he writes what we have so often heard, that without any help from America, they all will starve. Also the emphasis in all the letters is: Clothing, Clothing and always again Clothing.

[Translator's Note: Die Welt-Post editors printed a synopsis rather than publishing the entire letter.]


Page 7, "Reports Originating from Russia"

Old Dönhof, 12 September 1922

     The fall season is upon us. "Old Lady Summer" has pleased man and beast. The entire day the sun sent its rays down to the earth and at the end of summer you do as much as you can. People have to take advantage of this gift and keep busily at work until the harvest is finished. Many are valiantly working to reap everything up to potatoes and carrots. 
     Severe shortages still remain, but we must say in comparison to last year, praise God, the terrible hunger which faced us has been defeated both by God and by your assistance, you dear American friends, though things will still be difficult. 
     Deaths have fallen off, in the last 4 to 5 weeks it was mostly the children in distress who died. Deaths from starvation have ended. 
     Now one begins to meet the challenge of agricultural levies. In previous years taxes were paid with money, now they are paid with produce. Only laborers. weavers and the like pay a head tax. 1,000,000 rubles for each worker 17 to 60 years of age. Dönhof has to pay an agricultural tax of 19,000 pud (684,000 lbs.) of produce. The tax is not based on the numbers of people but takes everything into consideration: working livestock, sown acreage and family size. 
     The feeding of children in the American kitchens has ended, also the distribution of Indian Corn (Maize) to the adults. If and when the kitchens will again open is unknown. One would hope that they would be reopened for the poorest of the children, the orphans and such like, and also because there are many people who were not able to sow and therefore had nothing to harvest. For them it will be a very difficult winter. 
     All of the people recognize and are grateful for the great amount of assistance that came from America. Everywhere one hears voices which say: Through American assistance large numbers of people were saved from starving to death. We received 17,000 pud (612,000 lbs.) of foodstuffs in Dönhof. Much distress was ameliorated thereby, many tears were dried. God will repay you compassionate samaritans! 
     Only now you must continue your christian duty and help your relatives as much as you can, they are in need, much need. 
     As I understand it, one can still send Food-Draft Packets up until May 1923. Here you have the opportunity to demonstrate your love for your fellow man. 
     There are those cynical whisperers who "speak badly of their neighbors behind their backs." Only people who are "good for nothings" do such. Thus I heard recently that a certain "W.L." from Dönhof, now in Windsor, Colorado, had written that all of the "kitchen people" were rogues. That one would get upset over this makes me wonder. You Dönhofers in Windsor, you know this "W.L." well enough, did you know that when the Crown Cossacks were still in existance and laid about the fences, he taunted them. Did you know that he was a "lost son" who squandered not one fortune, but three within a short period of time and something you might not know is that he and another "lost sheep," Top. Johannes were thrown out of a certain party here because of bad behavior. 
     I tell you that I am surprised that you listen to such "cross spiders." Ask respectable men there who became your representatives Repp and Wagner, listen to them, they will tell you the truth. 
     As far as I am aware, the much abused "kitchen people" were selected in the same way throughout all of the villages; from persons who were of the highest moral character, who assumed their positions and did what they could. 
     It seems to me that over there with you, only those people who did not open their purses when the call for assistance was sent to them, are those who now open their mouths and loudly proclaim "Homers do not see that everything has been lost." 
     Those in hunger are not smiling. 
     I want to tell you something: here with us still live many elderly couples, many brothers, sisters and friends who are in need, who have among you children, brothers and friends. Many of these people have still not yet received anything, "My Hannes or Willem sends me nothing at all!" I have heard many a father or brother say "I have already written several times, it (help) is highly unlikely. Are you, dissatisfied friend, that Hannes or Willem? Go and purchase a few Food Drafts and send them to your friends who have no "kitchen": and to others, they will get to the correct person. Or are you seeking a cause that does not require the opening of your much loved purse? Have you perhaps, instead of a sympathetic loving heart, a purse clutched to your bosom? If this is the case, I will leave you alone. 
     To you others, and I know you are in the vast majority, I say to you in the name of all who have been rescued, a heartfelt thanks. May a gracious God reward you here in this time and again later in heaven. 
     Go forth in support of your friends and do not listen to the deplorable creatures who wander the world to their shame, seeking to cause annoyance and damage to others. Who make it their business to be burrs and stinging nettles and bring pain to others. They see what fragments mankind and ignore that which (like a beam from a sawmill) provides support. 
     I would now like to direct your attention to the following general activity. Many people send parcels of clothing and other things to their friends. Unfortunately, they are of little help since the redemption fees charged by the Russians are so high. I know of people who have packages in the Messer Post Office who have left them there because it was not possible for them to pay the hundreds of Billions of Rubel to redeem them. "I would rather it be lost" they say, "than take the last bit from my mouth to pay this." 
     It is best if you send your friends Food Drafts. These are received free. If they sell the Food Draft themselves they can get 60 billion rubles for which they can buy 15 pud of grain (540 lbs.) or 10 pud (360 lbs.) of wheat. Also, one can buy clothing if one is a millionaire...We are all millionaires. 
     Perhaps it would interest you dear reader, to know the prices in Russia. Now hear this:

1 pud wheat (36 lbs.), 6 billion rubles
1 pud grain, 4 billion
[Portion of the list is illegible - Translator]
1 horse, from 300 to 600 billion
1 cow, from 150 to 300 billion

     I was recently in Saratov and I had a healthy appetite, but I however, had to go without because I asked the cost in advance and found that for a meagre lunch I would only have to pay a million rubles. 
     In recent times one has to go through troublesome calculations as things change. A ruble of the last issue is worth as much as 10,000 rubles of the earlier issue. 10,000 rubles of the last issue is like 100 billion of the earlier, 1000 rubles like 10 billion. It pays to be careful there. 
     A man who is well known to me bought a cap for 4 billion. He pulled out his purse and counted out 4 shiney 1,000-ruble pieces of the last issue to pay for the cap, thinking he had paid 4 billion. When the seller had gone out of sight it occurred to him that he had paid not 4 but 40 billion. He was in despair as he searched for the seller. 
     A local woman bought a cow for 195 billion, before she became aware of her error she had given 225 billion. Here one learns to calculate and to count. 
     Come over here, citizens of America, and Learn it! It only costs a heap of billions sometimes. 
     Some days ago some fellow officials met with me, one of whom took the opportunity to explain to me how he cpmputed that one could get through this distress by providing different work throughout the Volga Colonies (building dams and roads, etc.) it would cost so and so much trillions and billions, but we lost count. I hasten to close. I communicate to Pastor H.G. Zorn in Brush, Colorado, that I received the $10 Food Draft sent through him to me by the Women's Association. Say to those dear ladies my most heartfelt thanks. Everywhere that a work of brotherly love has been achieved there is a women in the forefront. Go only forward and continue your charitable works, not with words but with deeds. God will repay. 
     So a Food Draft-Powestka is like the Ravens that brought bread to Elias. I think that dear Godly man was not any happier over his ravens than we are over a food draft. Already many such ravens have flown throiugh the Saratov District, approximately 30,000 pieces. These can be more easily caught than the black ravens. 
     Our Postman Hannes came to me in the winter during the height of the emergency and asked me for the keys to the church. He wanted to catch a pair of Ravens for his lunch. After an hour he returned weeping and said: "I caught none, they all flew away." 
     American Ravens however, do not fly away but come flying straight into ones hands. Oh, make still many more such blessed Ravens come from America. Don't let them forget me. 
     Greetings to everyone. Also to Hannes and Willem, 
                    Al. Würtz, Schoolmaster


Page 7, "From Russia"

Frank, 18 September [1922] 
To Conrad Johannes Froschheiser in America

Dear Friend: 
     Your friend Johannes Schmidt has for the second time given me a greeting from you for which I thank you for still thinking of me. I have often thought about you and our comrades, especially since the time where everything we possessed was taken away. I often and very much regret that I did not stay in America but things done cannot be undon. 
     I was happy to receive your greeting and I would be still much more happy if you would help me with some clothes and food as it has again been a breadless year. With one horse and one cow one cannot sow much and prices are high. Would that you and everyone else would give a thought to helping me. 
     A thousand thanks, I remain your and everyone else's friend, 
                    Konrad Heinrich Baum

     To the above, I the forwarder of the letter must add that this Baum is the youngest of four brothers. The Baum's earlier were the richest people in Frank. They were in a word, "sitting pretty," and had inherited mills and inherited lands but now their situation has changed. Now this huge fortune has been reduced to 1 horse and 1 cow. 
     I myself have worked for these people many times when I was in Russia. That is why it is so unbelievable to me that the rich in Russia have become so poor, and yet it is true. It shows us how changeable things are in this world and how uncertain [line of text obscured - Translator] we hopefully, have to a better land where there is no poverty and no hunger. 
     Would that we people of God provide help to those left behind. 
                    Heinrich Zeiler, Hastings, Nebraska


Page 7, "From Russia"

Walter-Khutor [no date] 
To: Conrad Fahrenbruch, McCook, Nebraska

Dear Children: 
     May God grant you much grace and peace, this is the wish of your parents for you. 
     Be informed that we are in good health and wish the same for you. 
     You will be happy to hear that we received the money you sent. It was 10,300,000 rubles. With it one can buy 2 pud (72 lbs.) of wheat. It is indeed, a lot of money, but because things are so expensive one cannot do much with it. Rye costs 4,000,000, wheat 5,000,000 to 6,000,000, and meal 12,000,000 rubles per pud (36 lbs.). Clothing is even more expensive. For an arschin (2 ft. 4 in.) of trouser material 2,000,000 rubles and leather is even more expensive. 
     Our harvest turned out to be mediocre and the tax too large. We have to pay 84 pud "Podnolock" [storage tax] from our seed. 
     Everything is Russia is becoming backward. Many people work the land here with cows because horses are too expensive to buy, but, Praise God, we still have 4 oxen and 2 horses with which one can slowly make progress. 
     We are very short of clothing and the chest you shipped has not yet arrived. 
     On Sunday we were in Frank at your brother Heinrich's and found him in good health. They have received everything that you have sent but he has no horse. I told him that if his 4 brothers in America each sent him a Posilka (Food Draft?) he could buy a horse for the money he would get by selling them. Also he had received your portrait but we are still waiting for it. 
     A few weeks age Konrad Kissler who is Kasper's son's Konrad came to Russia.

[Later]...Dear Children: 
     We inform you that yesterday, it was 23 September [1922], Pastor Wagner and Jacob Volz came to the Khutor and informed us that wagons had arrived. We received 50 pfd. (45 lbs.) and should pick up the things in the next few days. It was the cause of much joy as one cannot buy anything. A pair of soles costs 5,000,000 rubles. These wounds still have a long time before they heal, it will take 5 to 10 years. 
     We are so happy that our Dear Lord softened your hearts for otherwise we would not have made it through. We can't [line of text obscured - Translator] winter will again be large. 
     Your letter of 15 August we received with joy; but the chest which you shipped on 11 May we still haven't received. Everything else has been received, and also the money. 
     Tomorrow we travel to Saratov to pick up 2 Posilka which Mama received from her brothers George and Konrad. We received 2 Posilke from Alexander and cousin Anna Margaretha Koch. 
     We still have our apple orchard and have also harvested apples. We dried 2 sacks of "Schnitz" [dried apple slices]. If we could only send you some as a token of our love for you. 
               God be with you, Amen.


Page 7, "List of Names of Refugees Living in Minsk"

(Continued from last week)

From colony Kraft: Heinrich Schneider

From colony Stephan: Reinhardt Fritzler; Alexander and Maria Balzer w/4 children; Friedrich and Ottilia Ruppel nee Knaub, and Frieda Ruppel

From colony Schulz: Heinrich and Maria Katharina Weinberger née Schulz

From colony Kamenka: Joseph and Christina Simon née Serling w/2 children

From colony Shcherbakovka: David and Katharina Bauer w/2children

From colony Kautz: Heinrich and Maria Schreiner née Maurer w/2 children

From colony Wiesenmüller: Katharina and Charlotte Strecker; orphans Pauline, Mina, Katharina, Therese, Olinda and Lydia Winter; orphans Heinrich and Maria Vogel née Dahmer w/4 children

From colony Seelmann: Anna and Joseph Rau w/2 children

From colony Marienberg: Clemens and Anna Grunewald née Leonhard w/1child; Barbara Weissbeck w/2 children; Georg, Peter and Barbara Weissbeck; Clemens Gr?newald w/1 child

From colony Ernestinendorf: Amalia Walker w/3 children; Dorothea Schmidt w/3 children

From colony Kukkus: Gottfried and Anna Maria Fatius, orphans

From colony Preuss: Johannes, Katharina, Anna Maria Schmidt, orphans; Katharina and Wendelinus Schmidt; Alexander, Adam, Joseph and Anna Margaretha Schmidt

From colony Laub: Andreas and Maria Christina Seiler w/5 children

[Text obscured - Translator]

From colony Katharinenstadt: Alexander and Sofia Rothermel née Altergott w/2 children

From colony Krasnoyar: Friedrich and Anna Belbusch née Kühn; Anna Bob; Caspar and Emilie Eckhardt née Dirboy w/1 child Emilie; Katharina Zeitler w/2 children; Anna Stegerwald

From colony Beideck: Maria Kress née Mahne w/3 children; Johann and Maria Katharina Papst née Weber w/1 child; Maria Dreidt née Wirz, Georg and Katharina Maria Dreidt née H?rter; Alexander and Johannes Dreidt; Jacob and Maria Müller née Spomer; Johannes, Johann, Maria Fögel; Baltazer, Amalia Eutel; Elisabeth Strauch; Peter and Katharina Herder née Dreit w/2 children; Johannes and Maria Katharina Römer née Korbmacher; Conrad and Lydia Froschheiser née Strauch w/1 child; Peter Beudeck w/2 children and Susanna Beudeck née Strauch; Elisabeth Frischheiser w/2 children; Heinrich and Amalie Fahnenstiel née Grünemauer; Paulina Fahnenstiel; Johann and Katharina Walz née Schneider

From colony Norka: Wilhelm Both and 2 relatives (names unknown)

From colony Semenowka: Peter and Maria Buss née Josephina w/1 child; Eynidia, Katharina Dieser née Belletier; Konrad Dieser

From colony Josephstal: Conrad and Katharina Kern née Arnold

From colony Marienfeld: Johannes and Ottilia Serling née Kern

From colony Köhler: Andreas Johann and Maria Anna Bellenthier née Klug w/4 children; Katharina Bellenthier

From colony Neu-Schilling: Fritz and Maria Jäkel née Keller w/1 child

From colony Müller: Maria Jäkel née Ebel

From colony Reinwald: Maria Katharina Dietz

From colony Romaninka: Michel Heinrich, Conrad, Anna and Olga Faldin

From colony Schwed: Gottlieb Aurich


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.