20 July 1933

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 20 July 1933

Page 2, "From Russia"

Mr. Jacob Schwab from Brighton, Colorado sent us this letter from one of his relatives in Russia and with the following we present the main points:

Dönhof, 13 February 1933

Dear Aunt Elisabeth: 
     I feel compelled to write to you today and tell you how sad our situation is. We are a fatherless family of 12. My brother Wilhelm spent 2 months in Balzer under arrest and on February 7th he and father were arraigned by the People's Court in Dönhof. Both sat in the dock downcast with tears in their eyes. We, their family, also sat sorrowfully and upset among the listeners and, oh, what a shock we had when the judgment was spoken by the People's Judge. Each of them received 10 years imprisonment for being anti-soviet elements. They are temporarily in Balzer and will be taken away in 2 days, but where, we do not know. 
     Our buildings, except for the house, were given over to the state. With the 5 dollars we have borrowed another 400 rubels (which we have yet to repay) and bought us a cow which we slaughtered. From the Collective we received 47 pud of rye at the end of the year. We did not harvest potatoes or other produce. The slaughtered cow and 8 pud remaining from the 47 pud was by court judgment given over to the state. Also we are now barred from the Collective so that we now have no work and can earn nothing. Our food and few clothes we have will not last and something must be done to handle the situation. 
     I had already completed 2 1/2 years of Technical School education and had another 1 1/2 years to go, after which I could have become a teacher, but I had to abandon my schooling in order to help my brother Heinrich work for food. We all look disgraceful. Our mother, your brother's wife, because of worry and the lack of food, has collapsed to the point that you would no longer recognize her. 
     Dear Aunt Elisabeth and your entire family, because we have lost our father and oldest brother for 10 years and have become very poor (as you can see from this letter) and still owe 400 rubels, so we come to you and plead for you to assist us as best you can so that we do not starve to death. Our father, your brother, left word that we are to write to you and ask for assistance from you. 
     Once we get out of this situation we will do for you what we can. We 12 fatherless persons ask you to do as much as you can and hope that you are able to help us somewhat. 
     To close, receive greetings from us all, your brother's family Becker. 
     We hope for a quick answer soon. Show this letter to our other acquaintances who you also know in America and tell them to also do something for us.

(This is one of the best written letters we have received from Russia in a long long time. It is to be wished that the American relatives of this unfortunate family were able to assist and strengthen them - Die Welt-Post editor)


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.