18 October 1933

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 18 October 1933
Page 4, "From Russia"
Old Dönhof, 14 Sept.-- 
To Rev. Jacob Wagner, Denver, Colorado
Dear brother in Christ: 
     I wrote you a letter in the early part of last year from Norka where I was living at the time and I urgently asked you for some support because in my old age I was in great need and badly affected by the emergency. I have to this day received no answer. 
     Until now I would from time to time receive support from my children. Now however, since they and their children have problems of their own, they have nearly stopped and now my situation has become quite sad. 
     Because I am no so heavily afflicted and find myself almost totally alone with my 67 years behind me and with a suffering body, I have returned to my home village of Old Dönhof where I have decided to spend my remaining time, here where all my ancestors sleep and rest. 
     I can no longer work and that is why I ask you, dear brother, very earnestly and very insistently for immediate aid and support. 
     I ask for a speedy answer and ask that the same be sent to the following address:
     Soviet Russia, Republic of Volga Germans, Kanton Balzer, Post Station Messer, Village of Dönhof, Wilhelm Keller, House number 594.
     I let myself hope that this time I will get help from you and bespeak my thanks in advance. I greet you and your family from you severely tested teacher, 
                    Wilhelm Keller, from N.D., now residing in Dönhof

Page 4, "From Russia"
Dönhof, 27 July 1933
Very Esteemed Pastor Maul in Lincoln, Nebraska 
     I feel myself compelled to write to you. At present I am the schoolmaster in Dönhof. I am with mine, those who are yet alive, which I also wish for you and yours and I also wish for you God's grace and rich reward at work as well as at home. 
     How are things with you? With me things are going poorly, especially with regard to food and clothing. Since Christmas we have gone without food. My children, wife and I are quite emaciated. Two sons, one 16 years old and the other 8 years old, have already died this summer. 
     If you could see my situation you would be very much astonished. My salary is small compared to the existing prices, besides that I am only receiving one third of it. 
     The church members are insipid, lazy and of no worth. Church services are rarely attended. Many are the dead who once made the church come alive with their singing. Now it has become a soundless place. Is it any wonder that things are so bad. 
     If things continue in this fashion I will have to give up my position and take myself off to another more hospitable place. You can probably imagine, esteemed Pastor, what the purpose of my letter is. 
     Please send me something to help me in my great misery. If you yourself are not able to send anything, ask you parishioners if they might want to take up a collection for me. You can bring my difficult and stressful situation to the attention of the Kuntz's and Dönhofers in your community. 
     In the spring my wife's sister sent us $5: perhaps you can give her a sharp poke in the ribs. Her address you will surely know. 
     Perhaps you can lobby on my behalf among your fellow pastors so that they might also send me somewhat. 
     For 5 days now we have eaten ants. There is nothing left here to sink one's teeth into. 
     We have need of clothing; furniture and bedding are all worn out, we have already eaten mushrooms, toads, crows, roots, etc., in short, my situation is very sad. 
     Therefore I ask of you to not let my desire go unfulfilled and quickly grant me assistance. 
     The good works that are done in His name for the welfare and blessings of His kingdom: feeding the hungry; clothing the naked, God will reward and repay on earth and in heaven. 
     My family members who are now so emaciated they appear to be only skeletons and whose eyes look out in hunger beseech you not to lock you heart and you hand. 
     Greetings from all of us to your wife and children. 
               I greet you with regards, 
                    Jacob Rusch, son of Jacob 
                    Wife Elisabetha, née Michael


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.