Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 26 April 1923
Page 7, "Letters from Russia"
Dear brothers and countrymen in the far off west:
Today, with both joy and sadness, I again take up my pen to report of many things. With joy, because you have done so much for us and have never tired of it and because most here, next to God, have you to thank for their lives. With sadness however, because in America there are still disgruntled elements causing a great deal of mischief for us here. For example, Mister Conrad Haag has written that he sent 9 Food Drafts to his people and that I had received them and not given them out to his people. Hear me, dear brother Konrad! For your father Heinrich Haag, I have not yet received a single Food Draft and I herewith ask that you refer the matter to the A.R.A for investigation, or do whatever you want! What are you thinking?
In Saratov, I sign my name to receipts saying that I have received Food Drafts from this one or that one, for this one or that on. Notices are then sent to America and the sender of the Food Draft writes to his friend here in Russia that the Food Draft has been picked up by Jacob Hinkel. Think then, truly, use a little common sense. I have picked up nearly 200 Food Drafts for Kutter and every one of them was safely delivered, and today and tomorrow, for over a year that is how we lived. Anyone can find out about the Food Drafts that have been picked up by me. Anyone who gets a receipt signed by me can write to their friends here with the number (of the receipt) and the number of Food Drafts I picked up. They can then take that letter with their concerns to the Village Council (if not to me), they will call me and then we will see whether I handed over the concerned Food Drafts or not. Later I will send in all the names and numbers for all the Food Drafts I received. Certainly Food Drafts have been lost, that is obvious because the D.F. Presse (Dakota Freie Presse) on January 10, 1922, send a Food Draft to my address which I have, to this day, still not received. I had even already sent them a letter of thanks, but the thanks were premature because I never received the Food Draft. Why, I do not know. Perhaps Mr. Kornmann can tell me if they received a receipt for it and who signed the receipt, or whether they know anything about it or not. (Mr. Kornmann has not been associated with the Freie Presse for some time----Editor).
Dear brothers: You have seen enough of this discord, bad feelings and the like, that has been printed in the newspapers about your gifts. From the beginning you could hear and experience the bitter slanders thrown at the Commission, and Misters Repp and Wagner received a goodly share of them and things are not any different for Mr. Volz; because that is the way of the world: "make use of it and then throw it away." Fortunate is he who keeps in mind Job 27, verse 9: "Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?" and strives to keep Apostles 24, 16: "And herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offense toward men."
News for Mr. Heinrich Boehm: Your old mother has left this place for heaven. Your brother Jakob had quite a lot of trouble taking care of her in the last few months, but all of her needs were taken care of.
I want to take this opportunity to let Mr. Ludwig Boeckel know that today I received his letter of 1 February. You asked if I received my things from the relief organization. Yes! I finally received 10 pud of wheat in Huck on the 8th of March (10 pud of wheat today costs 200 million ruble). Had you given the money to the A.R.A. for Food Drafts, then I could have sold the Food Drafts or if you had sent the money (a dollar today is equal to 50 million rubles), then I would have exchanged the $25 for 1 Billion 250 million ruble, 62 pud 20 pfund of wheat, thus it is with your gifts. On the 8th of December, I likewise received 25 dollars worth, in all nearly 6 pud 28 pfund of Lard and 2 1/2 pfund of sugar and other Flour, Russian rice and beans. I stress here again: Send whatever you wish but only through the A.R.A. and trust no others.
News for my brother-in-law Heinrich Reifschneider. The tickets for ship passage have arrived here but your wife cannot leave before July 1st, because the 32 thousand immigrant quota alloted for Russia has been filled and now Russia must wait until its turn comes again.
Dear brother Ludwig Boeckel: You write in your letter about the clothing. It is not here yet and as Mr. Volz tells it, it won't arrive until April or May. For everything you have shared, I say to you my warmest thanks and I will speak with Mr. Volz personally and he will then himself ensure that everything gets to all the right places.
And now I send you all a warm greeting, namely, you and your wives, Mr. Gottlieb Reifschneider and wife, Mr. Johannes Wagner and wife, Mr. Heinrich Broening and wife, Mrs Elisabeth Herzog and daughter Katharina, Mr. Johannes Schmidt and wife, Mr. Johs. Grasmick and wife and Miss Katchen Reifschneider, I say to all of you in the name of the Kutter community, "heartfelt thanks" and "God will repay you."
Further, I share with you that very few letters have been received here from you. Why this is so, is not clear, but it appears as if you are now writing fewer letters. Because the Post Office charges 10 rubles (10 million) for a letter, letter writing has nearly stopped. However, I will as before, write at least twice a month and bring you what is important.
Our government is once again giving out seeds. We received 1300 pud of Barley and 500 pud of wheat seed. Many have picked up their seeds. May God give us a good harvest so that things can get better again.
The weather is beautiful, everything is turning to water already and the roads will soon be impassable.
Often whole packs of Wolves are seen, especially on our "Kronsteppe" (crown prairie, high prairie). Yesterday I chanced to see 4 such beasts. They did not turn toward us but trotted on their way. Will they not cause serious damage to our livestock again this summer? The government must take measures to destroy them.
Greetings to all, I remain your brother,
House number 345, Popowka
Page 7, "Letters from Russia"
Dear brother Miller:
It was a great pleasure to receive your totally unexpected letter. It has been in my hands since the 9th. Heartfelt thanks! Your words of great love and mercy which come to us from so far away sound pleasant and so peaceful. It is undoubtedly the hand of God working through you to perform good deeds. It is a miracle above all miracles. Millions of people owe their rescue from starvation to you. Now, God be thanked, the food emergency is not so great as it was last year. Naturally, there are still many people in distress but a goodly portion had a more or less moderate harvest this year. It remains to be seen if supplies will last until the next harvest. The clothing shortage is still very large. At every step and turn one sees sad images. We have not yet received the clothing shipment you mention in your letter. Dear brother Miller, our wish would be for you to send donations for Kolb and address them directly to Kolb, or even better, to a particular person with a small note inside the packet explaining to whom the things are to be distributed. Should you wish to make a gift to me and the Church fathers, please put them in specially marked packages so there are no misunderstandings on the part of community members.
I will be happy and am prepared to take on the duty of writing you a monthly letter. I look forward expectantly for the newspaper, then those in America will be able to get a clear picture of our life and times here.
Your mother-in-law and sister-in-law were very happy when I brought them the news of your letter. The send their affectionate greetings. Your sister-in-law married Franz Beusel (who lives) on the corner by the Church. She now has many stepsons.
The old Church father Johannes Rehn died last year, in his place now is Konrad Kanzler. We also escorted brother Konrad Meier, the oldest brotherhood member and old Johann Wilhelm Juckert, of advanced age, to their last resting place in the cemetery. Many, a great many, left our ranks during 1922, the year of great famine, and many more would have followed had not you dear brethren taken pity on us in our poverty.
You beloved, the most beautiful words are not sufficient to give expression to your great deeds of love. If we cannot do it before eternity, then may God do it. I and the Church fathers H. Reuber, Fr. Juckert and Konrad Kanzler, affectionately greet brothers Thiel, Meier, Reiber and Fritz Rutt, who thought of us in your letter.
With best thanks and affectionate greetings, your
This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.