29 March 1923

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 29 March 1923

Page 5, "Letters From Russia"

December 17 1922
To: Mr. Heinrich Baeckel Lincoln, Nebraska

Dear Friend Heinrich, your wife and children:
     I bring you cordial greetings from your old homeland from which you have happily escaped. It surprises me that you write so little to me. However I am glad that I stayed in contact with you and that I received timely assistance (from you). If I had not received it I would by now be again suffering; but there is nothing that one cannot obtain if one believes in God because He can send help though it may be from thousands of miles away.
     Pardon me, dear friend, for speaking so open heartedly to you, but what good does it do to be blinded by pride? One has learned to think and talk differently in this difficult time of testing. God has ways and means to gather us unto Himself and we should not cling to this place with sighs and prayers. God grant this sinner mercy! Amidst all my poverty I feel blissful. We can again eat our fill; in other regards there is much need. Wood costs 60 to 70 million rubles per Faden (a stack measuring 6'X6'X2'). Nearly in every house one now finds small iron stoves; one does not need to heat much before the room becomes warm but it does not last long.
      I now receive a salary of 23 million rubles but it is very little considering the prices of things now. Those here whose wages are not sufficient to get by on engage in speculation or resort to stealing. If you were to come here now you would find everything has changed. Imagine yourself in our church. There you will find no wooden cross and it is the same whether Protestant, Catholic or Russian. Tartars or Jews --- all are the same. The people have torn out everything that is wooden for burning during this emergency. If it is possible, could you help me still further, because I am all alone here.
     With greetings from house to house,
               Your friend,


Page 5, "Letters From Russia"

December 5 1922
To: Georg Sitzmann Culbertson, Nebraska

Dear daughter and son-in-law and your children:
     You have made our hearts happy by sending us a packet of food, thus giving us good reason to write a letter of appreciation because you have not missed showing your love to your parents again and again. A thousand thanks for everything you have done for us and still do. How wonderful it is that we now, after a year long interruption of mail service, are again able to communicate regularly with one another. Truly, what God does, is well and fairly done according to His will.
     We also inform you that we received a packet of clothing from brother-in-law Bohl and sister Katrina which brought us great joy. We siblings were all together in father's room and distributed everything. When father reached into the pocket of the trousers they sent him, he brought out a picture with the image of his child in America. The joy was so great that we all cried. Because she was looking directly at him from the picture, father held it for a long time in his hand and spoke to his daughter, but sadly, it was not a living being before us or else she would have answered him and we would have hugged and affectionately welcomed her.
     Dear children Georg and Annamaria: I, your Mama, have no more passionate wish than to see you again in this world.
     Our house number is 227. Write to us again soon and receive our best greetings.
                    Serving our dear Lord,
                         Johannes and Mariakatrina Bauer


Page 5, "Letters From Russia"

February 4
To: J.H. Baeckel Lincoln, Nebraska


God's greetings and may the Lord Jesus Christ comfort you. I lift up my soul unto the Lord and my spirit rejoices that God is my redeemer. When I am fearful You refresh me, for this I thank the Lord because He is friendly and His goodness lasts for all eternity.

Valued friend Andrei and Aunt Annche and your dear daughters Friede and Emilie:
     This is the third letter that we have written to you and I can only begin with a grateful heart to tell you that we received your order for food. I am exceeding grateful for such mercy. I give over to Him everything I own that is mine. What He will yet do is at His discretion; I give unto Him all my things to do with as He pleases because God will care for me and mine who are of my blood and believe. He gives us His comfort when all hope has already vanished. When things are going miserably for me and mine: God provides for me.
     We cannot describe the joy that we had when we received the food order. The children jumped up and down for joy. Our oldest son, Johannes, 13 years of age, we placed in the Children's Home, but only temporarily. There he receives food and clothing but sleeps at home. The other three look sadly out of the window at the outside because the other children are at play and sledding and they cannot go outside because they have no shoes or clothes. But soon it will amount to nothing because it will again be summer. Dear Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Annchen: I often think back to bygone times when you were still here, how much better it was then.
     We seldom go to Kathrinstadt now, but as far as we know the Finks are still well. I, Karl, was recently together with Heinrich Finks for a time in Krasnoyar; he has grown very big. He went off to Saratov. Peter lives in Kosakenstadt where he has a place. Now dear loves: We give you our heartfelt thanks for your gift of love you have given in the Lord's name and He will richly repay you. Yes, God does not forget His own. His is faithful to us, His heart is always open to us so that He might please us. We would like to send you a photograph of us but it is now too expensive and there are no photographers in Krasnoyar.
     Now, affectionate greetings from all of us, from me, Karl, Emma and our children, Johannes, Karl, Woldemar and Ernst. They pray earnestly and always want to learn new prayers. They are industrious learners. I, myself, must teach them.
     Greetings to all acquaintances from us, if there are any near you. Now live well until we happily meet again,
                         Karl and Emma Kraus

     Dear friends, perhaps you could find the address for my cousin Alexander Justus from Stahl. We sent him a card asking about goods and food. We do not know if it was the correct address. Perhaps he is known to you.
                    Heartfelt thanks for your love,


Page 7

Wiesenmüller, 8 January [1923] 
To: Heinrich Vogel, University Place, Nebraska

Dear brother-in-law and sister together with your children: 
     We would like to extend to you our personal greetings but because this is not possible we will do it in spirit. We are healthy and hope the same for you. 
     And now we want to make you aware that we have received the huge gift from you on January the 5th. We thought that it surely had been lost because a rumour was going around that one of Mr Volz's carloads of things had been stolen. But at Christmas time we had a letter from Mr. Volz that we should pick up the things in Schilling. He said there was only 25 pfund (a pfund=14.4 ounces) but when we drove out and arrived there, we received everything, exactly as you had written us. 
     But Friedrich Stucker, who had driven with us to Schilling had his "Arschinware" (yardgoods as in cloth) stolen. According to his estimate 70 arschin (an arschin=2 ft. 4 in.). 
     The things you sent arrived at a most perfect time as we were in need of clothing. In the summer we wear trousers made from grain sacks. Amalia has cut up the clothes that the children had outgrown and made trousers from them. We would soon have had nothing more to wear. That's how scarce things are for everyone. 
     You can't buy livestock at any price and goods are unaffordably high in price. 
     During the rye harvest I took on the job of cutting 3 desyatina (about 8 acres) for David Koch's son Gottfried for 13 pud of rye (a pud=40 pfund, 13 pud=468 lbs.). 8 pud at the start and 5 pud after the harvest. 
     Gottfried is a Seventh Day Adventist and they were given lots of rye by the Seventh Day Adventists in America. (The last convention of the Seventh Day Adventists in America announced that they had raised a sum of over $50,000 for the financially distressed of Europe--Welt-Post Editor.) 
     I hade the rye threshed and took 5 pud of it to Saratov and because your food voucher of 6 pud had come, I sold half of it and the 5 pud of grain in Saratov for 82 million rubles, and because I still had 14 million rubles in Saratov I bought 96 arschin of Sarpinka (arschin=2 ft. 4 in.) (Sarpinka=silk cloth) for which I paid 91 million rubles. An arschin of Sarpinka now costs 6 million rubles. 
     If we had had to buy the things you sent to us here in Russia, we would have had to have had 2 milliarden rubles. (Our Readers would better understand if he had said 2 billion rubles--Welt-Post Editor.) 
     Cousin Heinrich still lives in Saratov. He and his sons have done much service handling American Products. (Here he perhaps refers to the buying and selling of Food-Drafts for the ever present buyers. Just as we were told by returning relief workers--Welt-Post Editor.) 
               With best regards, I remain your brother-in-law, Peter Buxman


Page 7 "From the Volga Region"

Bangert, 19 January 1923

      Yesterday I received the Northwest issues 38 and 41, the first from the 24th of July in which I have an article. I rarely receive this newspaper, I cannot explain what happens to them because I am being sent several newspapers but only receive an issue every now and then. In my article is an error, a typesetting error which is twice repeated. I would like to correct it here; That the A.R.A. supplied us with cows (Kuehe); I however, wrote: they have opened Kitchens (Kuechen) here, which were of great assistance to us. 
      I had previously written that clothing had been sent from Fresno to our villages. Initially I was told, through the Volga Association or the Red Cross in Germany, but later someone wrote to me that it was shipped through the N.L.C. on June 12th and that it should be in Saratov, or so it was written, but up to today we have received nothing. What is the problem? The gentlemen of the N.L.C. cannot be very good at reading their maps, on this account I would have given them information, that is to say, accurate information. However I can only speculate but I do not believe I have judged incorrectly. The Pastors in America, among them some Russians like Schleuning and Schneider, collected everywhere promising the people: the N.L.C. will distribute all gifts according to the wishes of the givers, promptly and conscientiously, also to individual villages, do not worry, we will do everything in order to locate the addressees. Even the officials of the N.L.C. gave similar promises and they even do it here still, when we nevertheless ask them about possible problems that seem to exist, (they reply) that one would have to investigate..
      Last summer I advised that you should make inquiries to find out which society is the most reliable and then send things through them. I have it from reliable sources that the N.L.C. only makes collections for the general population, for the poor, the sick, weak, and then for widows , orphans, distressed clergy and the like. Other requests are seldom considered. Our villages and also individual families have recently received a large amount of clothing, shipped from Fresno and Lincoln, Nebraska. The things are most likely stored in Saratov, Pokrowsk and perhaps some in Krasny Kut. The people here have such a tremendous shortage of clothing that none of us are able to withstand the cold and bad weather in order to go and check (where the clothing might be), and so we wait, wait endlessly, without having anything.
       This summer an A.R.A. employee told me that they pay no attention to the addresses on packets and are simply told: these packets go to Norka, these to Huck, and so on, I would have to have many more workers, he said, if I had to find out (to whom) this or that (packet) belongs. Yes, one would like to ask, what do the people over there understand about this situation? One knows very well that if the truth of the matter were known they would not collect half of what they collect. I leave it at that and want now to tell you what I myself have seen and heard.
      I have a very good friend in Nebraska who is a supporter of the N.L.C. and who is well known by the gentlemen employed here. Last year he sent a packet of clothing to his sister -- it disappeared. On June 11th, he sent a crate with still more clothing -- it has not arrived yet. He wanted to send a third and larger shipment and, just to be safe, he asked New York if he could send a shipment for about 12 people. He received the reply that in no case would they be responsible for shipments to individuals. Finally, an honest answer, which, if he had been so informed earlier, he would not have sent 2 shipments in vain since he knew that his sister and her family hardly had a shirt left between them. In October, two of his friends came to me here and told me the things were on a train that had not arrived as yet, a train had gone to Odessa, another to Samara and a third to Orenburg and we would now have to wait until they all returned again. Half an hour later they drove to the home of our Pastor where they stayed the night. There they gave a different reason for the delay. The ship on which the things were shipped had arrived in Odessa and everything had yet to be fetched from there. 
      That same week our Pastor drove to Saratov and met with Mr. Volz, the man who was sent over here by our people to distribute the clothing. He told the Pastor that everything had arrived and that he himself would bring them to Schilling in the next few days where the various villages could pick them up. Our people drew a deep breath when we brought them this news. Large and small were pleased and now -- where is this promised (clothing), what is the problem? We don't know, and those who might be able to give us an answer are either distracted or blissfully sleepwalking.
      Those are the naked facts, if you can make sense of them, do so. I do not know what else I can say about it. Thus I was told, though, so many lies are spread here, I would not care to deal with it. Should I hear something more certain, I will not be shy about telling you.
      One thing I will not keep from you and about which much has already been spoken about here, is that all of the relief organizations certainly know how short the people are of clothing and yet they have done nothing to assist us and they could have easily done so. Many shirts and trousers and the like could have been made out of the sacks in which products were shipped, unfortunately, someone had the idea of keeping the sacks and selling them later. Now whoever wants to pick up products, be it a village or an individual, has to bring sacks with them or buy them in Saratov. The sacks are kept back at the American warehouses and sold later. Thus a side business was created selling the sacks to the farmers at double the price. Now if the money was required as supplemental income and had they set a fair price for each sack, then we would have gladly paid it. It happened the same way with all of the Kitchen products, everything (the sacks) could have been sold to each village, but no, they had to return them all to the Kanton and there speculators bought up entire cartloads of them so that they could once again make a profit from the poor. The first recipients of packets received them including the sacks, since then we have learned how they are saving them.
      Only Mr. Repp put the entire shipment, crates, barrels, bags, cans, at the disposal of each community and many shirts and trousers ere made from the sacks alone, and of the rest, not one milk can was thrown away, we used everything. Every nail is valuable to us, there is nothing that we are not short of. A person who has not seen the need, hasn't heard of it, cannot imagine and will not know (how great the need is). Many farmers this year are not sleeping on a bed of roses, some do not have enough bread to last the winter, much less until the next harvest. Praise God, this time there are more potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and cabbage available so that hopefully, nobody will need to starve. Of course, I can only speak about my Kanton, how things stand in the Steppe, at the Torgun, at the Jeruslan, on the Nachni, I do not know, but I have heard that the harvests there were weaker.
      Yesterday, as I was reading an article in issue 38, about the terrible suffering in Germany, I thought, it is not right that we should still be asking for assistance, because truly, it seems the suffering is greater there than it is here with us. There is not yet anything that can be said to be good about our lives here when children cannot go outside because they lack clothing, where for the same reason adults cannot attend church, where we are short of everything needed for daily life, where one knows when to make another coffin, but we have already become accustomed to such and are nevertheless happy that the specter of hunger is to be seen no more. Germany however, was accustomed to a much better and more ordered life, which stood as an outstanding example to the entire world, and which has now been ruined by people who are unworthy, a so-called educated people, or so they were regarded up to now. A people defeated, lying on the ground at the feet of their enemy, not knowing that the revenge upon them would far exceed that of cannibals by those not worthy to be called human beings. The whole world should rise up against such brutality, such misery, such broods of Satan and exclaim to them: Hands off! That is enough misery, enough horror! My soul suffers that America has become a confederate of such vampires. Our century is truly a century of mass murder. In 1914, the murders began and the murders have continued for years without stopping, not only in Germany but everywhere, not only with the tools of war but also with hunger and misery of all kinds. In a word, we have gone back 300 years, slavery is in full bloom but in a much larger way than before. Mankind is astonished by all this wickedness and remains silent, everyone thinking: each will eventually be next and must also bear the yoke of slavery, this they still firmly believe today. We have insatiable slaveholders everywhere and who they are is easily guessed, one need only remember who is enslaving and killing Germany. There are three and in their ranks are yet more.
      Afterword: Since yesterday, Mr. Volz has been with me and has cleared up many things and I share the following with you: The shipment from Fresno was not handled by himself but the N.L.C. and thus he can give no accounting of it; he only brought over what was sent by the Volga Association in Lincoln and everything designated for the Bergseite has been distributed during the past month; the Wiesenseite portion was only about one eighth of the total shipment and those articles of clothing have already been picked up in Schilling by all the villages.
      As Mr. Volz tells it: In all there was about 1 percent missing and he and his society have already made it clear that they will replace the missing clothing for the people. He seems to be an energetic man, checks into all the villages to see where he can support the poor and sick and is very regretful that Fresno did not do the same.
      Our Pastor however, has been appointed to work in Saratov, perhaps he will finally receive the things from Fresno there, because they speak of the fact that more than 200 pud of products are there to be picked up for our Parish and 400 pud of clothing for 6 or 7 communities. Unfortunately, there is yet not certain word but as soon as we get the details I mean to give the message without delay to my friends. I ask that you wait patiently just a little bit longer.

                                                            J. Kromm


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.