Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 31 May 1923
Page 2, "Letters from Russia"
March 20, 1923
To: Heinrich Hergert from Schoolmaster Joh. Benner
My dear good friend and brother in Christ and your family:
May the grace of God be upon you! With a glad heart I take up my pen to inform you that I safely received your letter of 1 February a few days ago and from it I was happy to see that you were well. I and my family, praise God, are still healthy and alive in this world where every day has its troubles and one counts his blessings: God burdens us but He also helps us.
What pleased me especially was that you forwarded my postcards to our uncle Philipp Schaaf and if you do not receive a reply from him, I hope that I will receive an answer from him that he received them. In the meantime I was given his address by a brother in Huck and have already written him.
Dear brother Heinrich: I say my affectionate thanks to you and all the dear people from Walter for thinking of me and sending me a suit and shoes. My joy was great as I read your letter and it will be even greater when I put them on. God grant that everything arrives safely and brings joy to many poor families. I will, for my part, do everything possible to see that the things are fairly distributed. The men you have selected to do the distributing not only enjoy your trust but also the trust of the entire Walter community. You have chosen well. These men have their hearts in the right place and will do their best to carry out the distribution. Of course, one can never satisfy everyone, as the proverb says: "the ability to satisfy everyone is a skill that no man has." Even God in Heaven cannot do it, how can we poor people accomplish it? But we will do it. We will do this work and will answer to God, our consciences and to you. And should there be complaints about how the distribution was conducted, send them to us and we will answer them.
Further, dear brother in the Lord, I ask that you affectionately greet brother Johannes Doell for me. I thank him and am grateful for the blue trousers that he sent to me. I will use them when I work in the fields. Perhaps you are wondering: "Is a schoolmaster doing field work?" Yes, sadly it has gotten to the point here where a schoolmaster can no longer live on his salary alone and must also do farm labor. It certainly is not a good thing. It damages the profession because ones attention is divided and ones attention must be focused on ones profession. The old proverb goes: No man can serve 2 masters. And yet, for better or worse, one must serve both. One feels inner turmoil and is dissatisfied by this double duty but one continues in harness, hoping for better times.
Dear brother Heinrich: I have a request of you. If perhaps you meet our uncle Philipp Schaaf any time soon, then tell him for us: If he wants to do something for us, our wish and request would be that he send us some money to help us out. I have already written to him but only a pre-printed A.R.A. card that one can only write in the addresses of the sender and recipient and nothing more can be written on it.
I must pay 280 million ruble for the first 8 months of 1923, but I do not even have 1 million set aside to pay. Here is some really valuable information. The American dollar is currently in high demand here and one can get many millions of rubles for a few dollars. I would be well served if Uncle Philipp Schaaf were to send us some money. Be so good as to tell him this if you meet him. Perhaps you can forward this letter to him. I will also write to him and if my letter does not get to him then he will learn of this from you. And, as the Russian proverb says, if he hears both from you and me, so much the better.
You ask, dear brother Hergert, how things stand with our spiritual life. I can happily reply to this question that currently there is a religious revival going on. The movement is everywhere. Many conferences are being held, large conferences, parish conferences, all of which are so heavily attended that churches are not capable of holding all the people and are compelled to meet in the church and in the meeting house both at the same time, with every seat being occupied and with people standing outside on the steps. An unusual increase in the work of the Lord. In individual villages here and there every evening prayer meetings are held in houses and the crowds are large. There is also much new arousal taking place, the youth in particular are opening up and seeking the Lord. Evangelical and other brethren are going out and visiting various villages and have been richly blessed. In addition, large "Versammlungen" (prayer meetings) take place on Wednesdays in every village that are heavily attended. Thus you see vigorous religious life taking place everywhere. The Lord has truly fulfilled his promise: "I will pour water on the thirsty and flood the dry ground. I will pour my spirit upon thy seed." Perhaps this is one of the last great movements of the Father to the Son. God has given His grace so that many hearts which up to now had been going their own way might hear His call and follow the Savior and save themselves from eternal damnation. As a servant of the Word, it makes me particularly happy to see the crowds of souls around me who yearn for grace. It gives me courage to speak out and bear witness for the Savior. The words of the prophet are on my lips: "I will joyfully draw water from the wells of Salvation." Yes, I will joyfully refresh myself with the comforting word of God. God's hand has rested heavily upon us these last years. War and bloodshed, pestilence and inflation, sickness, hunger and misery; these were God's rods of punishment which raged over us in righteous anger because of our misdeeds, excesses and sin. Many heard the mocking questions from unbelievers: "Where is your God now, the God on which you relied?" Is this the God of love who plagues His children so? Yes, abandon God and disperse." And sadly, sometimes such mockery resonated in the hearts of believers. But among all the sad voices there were those in the community who believed and clung to the words: "I will always be with you." You are not dead, oh Lord, you were only concealing yourself from us, you were angry with us because we sinned so heavily. --- And now God has again given us our daily bread through you, dear brethren, who helped so wonderfully, and given us us renewed spirit and we now can happily say as the prophets: We thank you God for being angry with us, and that your anger turned and you comforted us again. Therefore we joyfully draw the water of comfort from the redeeming well of the divine Word. ---
Now I must close. You and your dear family are affectionately greeted by me and mine. We also greet all Walterers cordially and say our thanks to them for remembering us. I read your letter in front of the "Versammlung" (prayer meeting).
I greet and kiss you in love, and remain your brother in the Lord,
Page 2 "Letters from Russia"
In great haste, with a pencil, I send my cordial greetings to you. (This posting must be sent off today with brother Volz who arrived here yesterday evening before starting his trip around his district and he must hurry on his way).
I not only greet you but also must thank you many times in the name of the many happy brethren on the Wiesenseite. Brother Volz, on the occasion of his last visit here, handed over to me 100 food packets to take to the poorest widows and sick on the Wiesenseite. The weather was turning bad and I did not think I would be able to get everything to all of the places, even by sleigh. But I stuck to it and managed to succeed. Yesterday the last shipment went on its way to Torgun, to the far off parish of the ancient Pastor Kossiolab. Thus at Easter many prayers of thanks will again rise up to the throne of the Almighty from those who are still hard hit by the emergency, from those still starving and hungry and also from a number of sick widows and orphans who had fled the famine and have now returned home again.
This time I distributed the packets as follows:
38 packets for distribution by Pastor Kossiol to the poorest of the Parish of Gnadentau.
31 packets for distribution by Pastor J. Seydlitz (Paulskaya) to the poor of the Parish of Barataechka (Upper Colonies).
10 packets distributed under my supervision to the widows and sick in Oslowskaya.
10 packets also distributed under my supervision to the poorest Evangelical Brethren in Pokrowsk (Kosakenstadt).
11 packets under my supervision to the poorest in Krasnoyar.
For the time being that was as much as I had. I have received many expressions of thanks from those receiving provisions, to the Society and the brethren over there which I will send to you shortly along with more details.
You also have my thanks in the name of all those who were thought of!
Yours, P. Sinner
Page 2, "Letters from Russia"
Dear uncle Jacob and aunt Gretchen:
By coincidence I found your address among the papers of my sainted father Peter Stoll and I am very pleased to be able to write you a few lines. You will remember me from the time when I went to school in Grimm and lived with our blessed grandmother, uncle Jaschka and aunt Bettchen and you yourselves. Since that time many years have passed. Much, much has been endured and I recall with a troubled heart the beauty of that time of youth and all the friends and acquaintances, and there are many, who are no longer here.
I hope you are still living and that my letter finds you in good health and in a happy mood, which would make me very happy. I would be very pleased to hear news about your situation and how you are doing. You will have read in the newspapers there about how things are going over here and I can only tell you that things are very negative and going badly for us. My family consists of 7 persons. Up until recently I worked in a factory but because there was so little work I was dismissed. Now I can find no work and the price of food increases every day so that from moment to moment I do not know whether I am coming or going and if I can get enough food. Yes, we are going through an unheard of, difficult and angry time and we know that it will get worse. There is no lack for emergency and things are going very sadly for us. Our parents died shortly after one another in 1917 and 1918. They rest in the cemetery in Wolsk. Uncle Johann Adam is still alive but we do not know how he is doing. Now I ask you for news of my brother Peter who went to America 20 or 21 years ago, perhaps you know where he is. We would be very pleased if he were still alive and getting along well. Since he left for America I have not received a single bit of news from him. If he still lives and you know his address, I ask that you tell him of the death of our dear parents and tell him of my current difficult situation. Perhaps it is the case that he may be able to provide a little support for us in our difficulties, mainly with food and clothing. We understand that an American Commission, the A.R.A. receives and provides orders for Russia and that orders can also be gotten through the Post Office. The emergency here is so great that I cannot describe it for you.
Coarse ground rye flour costs us 20 million ruble, wheat flour 40 to 70 million ruble per pud, rice 100 million, millet 25 million, Peas 35 million ruble per pud, lard 12-15 million per fund, sugar 10 million per fund, a pair of men's or women's shoes, 400-600 million ruble, etc. In short, it is becoming insane. I must close.
May God guide you and receive many greetings and kisses from me and my family, your nephew,
Page 2, "Letters from Russia"
Once again I had the good fortune to be able to provide the untiring and ever gallant Mr. Volz, overnight shelter here with me. He has twice now made the journey to the Tarlykov District and the time that he spends with us has, both times, seemed like a holiday. This last time he brought us the wonderful news that our dear Kukkusers (in America) had sent an entire transport of clothing for their Kukkusers (here). Firstly, best of thanks to all the untiring workers and friends for their blessed efforts, second naturally, a wish that everything will happily arrive here. The clothing emergency is extraordinary. As in the previous year when we trembled excitedly over each and every piece of bread, so it is now as we wait longingly for things with which one can cover ones nakedness. A Clothing Draft arrived here sent by Jakob Reichel in Lincoln, to his brother-in-law Peter Ohlberg. I must say that it was very plentiful and the material was excellent. I ask that whoever has the capability of coming to the aid of their friends in this manner, to do so. It will help them very much and also ----(continued on page 3)
Page 3, "Letters from Russia"
(continued from page 2) ... is the most secure way (no longer possible---Welt-Post Editor).
Since the 10th of February the A.R.A. is again operating the kitchens for the children. Currently 500 children are being fed. Since January we have been receiving 40 pud of food per month from the National Lutheran Council. After Mr. Volz visited many of the poorest of the poor we also received 11 orders of 3 pud each which, as well as the aforementioned 40 pud from the Lutheran Council, was distributed to t he poorest of the poor. Their number amounts to 181 souls. Recently a new commission was selected for the distribution of food and clothing from America which consists of 7 men. Four of the men are from the Church Executive Committee which consists of: Konrad Weigand, Johannes Beckier, Balzer, Heinrich Hergenraeder, Gottfried and Konrad Heinrich; and 3 men from the community: Jakob Eurich (Wanke), Heinrich Eurich (Molke), Heinrich Felsich (Kuber). As chairman is Konrad Weigand and as Secretary, J. Schlotthauer.
Now we come to the larger question: How should the clothing being shipped be distributed here. Yes, hopefully among the poorest, but there are not 181 souls as with the above mentioned distribution but perhaps 2,181 in need. Here we must do something differently to support those who are completely naked from those who have somewhat more and others with less. This is obvious and I think also in accordance with your wishes. You would all do the same if you were here and say: the naked are to get a larger share than those who are still clothed to some extent. My friend George Herzog who wrote a letter to the Soviet in which he insisted that the clothing be equally distributed to everyone, hopefully, after he reads these few lines, will change his mind. I say to him and all of our dear friends that it is not right to dictate from over there that so and so should get them and no others. If you were here and could see what we see every day you would understand the facts and say: give Hannes there who is without even a shirt and cannot go out in the street when it is snowing so he can go to church a greater share than to Philipp who still has 2 changes of clothing. Thus, from what we see, if we are to act fairly, adjustments must be made. Above all however, you should not think that I want to give you orders here, God as my witness! But nevertheless I must speak my mind.
The commission is fearful of distributing the clothing because of the difficulty of selecting the more naked from among the naked, but nevertheless there are differences. I must say that it is much easier to make a donation than to distribute the donation among the masses. I have already experienced much bitterness: And Mr. Repp and Mr. Volz who came here and worked faithfully, industriously and sincerely, would agree that the main thing is to act in such a manner that you are able to answer for your actions before God. Now, dear George Herzog, it pleases me mightily to see that you are a faithful worker in this blessed effort, not only in words alone, but you have already show it by your good deeds, which I myself am aware of and nevertheless I ask that you not become angry if some things also do not go as we would have wanted them to go, for on the whole, so much has already been accomplished that the world, and most of all, we, are in awe. From this place, receive our best greetings!
This report is being written at Easter but nature has played a trick on us because when you look out on the street, it still seems to be the middle of winter. There is a storm going on the like of which we have not had all winter. One does not know whether one should say Happy Easter or Merry Christmas!
Health conditions would be better were it not for Malaria. It is a serious disease. There is not enough Quinine to go around. Mr. Volz, who I compare to the earlier Russian nobility, with his needles, buttons, thread, soap and thimbles, etc., with which he pleases the ladies and who also each time brings a good dose of quinine and other medicines, will not be able to help everyone. The disease is uncommonly persistent and the people are being laid low.
There have been no cases of adult deaths lately. We are busily preparing for the sowing of seed but we are terribly short of working livestock.
To close, I confirm, with the greatest joy, the receipt of a clothing draft from Mr. Vol. With it he has addressed a very sore spot because for some years now the communities have only been capable of providing life support to most needy. Thus he has made all the schoolmasters on the Talky happy, as well as myself.
Best greetings to both my friends Philipp Schneider and Georg Kukkus, as well as to all the readers (of the Welt-Post).
PS: In the last week I picked up a food order of 3 pud from the A.R.A., even with my best efforts I was unable to discover which good and dear friend sent it to me because I had received no letter about it. Please write to me again.
Wilms Heinrich sends his "Vetter" Phil. Dittenber, best greetings. His family is still well.
Page 3, "CLOTHING DISTRIBUTION"
in the Parish of Dietel through the National Lutheran Council
T. Moellmann, Adjunct Pastor of Dietel Parish, writes in a report dated 27 February 1923 to the the National Lutheran Council, New York, as follows:
From the end of November 1922 to the end of January 1923, the Dietel Parish received 21 bundles and 1 crate of clothing which was distributed as follows:
1. Dietel, 6 bundles and the contents of the crate.
2. Kratzke, 2 bundles.
3. Merkel, 2 bundles.
4. Kautz, 2 bundles.
5 Neu-Dönhof, 4 bundles.
6. Neu-Balzer, 2 bundles.
7. Hussenbach-Unterdorf, 2 bundles.
8. Schoolmasters-Sextons and Pastors, 1 bundle.
For the most part the work of distributing the clothing was managed without leaving behind any great discontent.
The food distribution is in full swing and I will forward the distribution lists after the distribution has taken place.
17 pieces with a total weight of 53 pud (1908 pfund) have already been distributed to the addressees in the following villages:
Merkel, 1. Heinrich Margheim.
2. Friedrich Knaub (Knaubel).
3. Kaspar Schild.
4. Friedrich Knaub and Peter Schild.
5. Heinrich Wegelin.
Neu-Dönhof, 1. Jakob Kurz and Heinrich Straub.
2. Heinrich, son of Georg Rutz.
3. 1 packet, the address being undecipherable, I gave to the chairman of the Poor Committee of Neu-Dönhof to distribute. When they opened the packet they found a letter from Johannes Lind, clearly stating that the packet was for the poor and so the contents were distributed to the poorest. A list of them, which the Poor Committee promised to send to me has not yet arrived.
Dietel, 1. Georg and Friedr. Mill.
2. Andreas and David Kleemann (brothers).
3. Johann Georg, son of Andreas Mueller.
In 2 of the larger packets the following addressees were found after opening:
4. Heinrich Lakman.
5. Johannes Foss (wife born Busch)
6. Heinrich Busch.
7. Peter Schaadt.
8. Georg Miller.
9. Georg Miller (Faltius Gral).
10. Jakob Miller.
11. Katharine Foss, born Zerger
Kratzke, Georg, son of Heinrich Dietz.
Everything in all 17 large packets with many enclosed smaller packages was distributed to the various addressees. Overall there was great joy. At the Post Office here are 20 packages but the tariff is too high for the people to be able to pick them up without the payment being reduced or totally eliminated.
From 1 bundle every Pastor (my father and I) and every schoolmaster received an equal share. Each received 1/8 of the bundle. Pass on to our brothers in faith in America, our most cordial thanks for this newest assistance and at the same time pass on our heartfelt plea not to let up their work of mercy. Come across the ocean to us with your gifts of love and help us. This, as shepherds of our flocks, we must once again ask you. You have helped us when it appeared we were condemned to die of starvation---but lo: the people have become fat on your Sorghum, now you need only support us so that we do not sink back into the earlier emergency. Thus, bear with us a little more, have a little patience with us, do not yet remove your blessedly raised hands from us, we need your demonstrations of love as an underpinning for a better, happier time. The emergency is yet still great with us---If you could see it with your own eyes you would be convinced and eagerly drive ahead with this work of love, newly inflamed; hold on a bit longer, it will be soon, we hope to God, that we will be able to stand on our own feet again. May He, however, the God of love and mercy, on whose love we all depend, may He repay you a thousandfold for your love to us. Verily, He will do it.
The report, distribution lists and written thanks from Dietel, Merkel and Neu-Dönhof are here. The lists from the Distribution Committees of Neu-Balzer and Hussenbach have not yet been received. Whoever is interested in the detailed contents of these or any other lists should contact: The National Lutheran Council, 437 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. which will gladly make further information available.
With best greetings, your devoted
The National Lutheran Council
437 Fifth Ave.
New York, N.Y.
Page 8, "From Colorado and Russia"
Esteemed friend Lorenz:
Since I see that my subscription ran out in March, I am enclosing $4.00 to renew it for another 2 years and also to get the "Golden ABC" (some sort of subscription incentive). Hopefully my request will not be denied. I am sending you yet another letter from Frank, Russia for publication in the Welt-Post. I further hope that you will come to Longmont because I believe there are many new readers to be won here.
With greetings, I remain your subscriber,
Letter from Russia
Frank, 18 February
Much beloved son and brother and your wives and children:
Be greeted and kissed in spirit by us all and may this letter find you in the same good health as we who sent it. We received your letter with great joy, also we are especially happy that you have sent us a packet which we have not yet received. Tomorrow I will again drive to Saratovand check with the A.R.A. to see if it has arrived.
I keep myself busy trading flour where I earn as much as we need to pay the "Notkopeken" (Emergency Kopeks ??).We have bread and seed, it is only clothing that we are very short of and everything is so expensive that one is unable to buy anything. An arschin of cotton costs 10 to 12 million ruble. Produce is expensive compared to other prices. There is no leather to buy. Other than that there is nothing new to write about. I have to have a horse since one of ours has died. We have 1 horse (a filly), 2 cows, 6 sheep, 2 pigs and 15 chickens. There are 9 souls in the family, the youngest is an 8 year old daughter. The youngsters are big, some of them even bigger than I am.
Today there was a Brethren's Conference held here and everything was over-full with people from all the colonies. Winter is very cold and there is much snow. I received some clothes that were sent by Johannes Wacker (the old Miller's son). Generally we get many things from America. We would like to have ourselves photographed but sadly there is no photographer in Frank. You want to know if we would like to emigrate to America. Yes, indeed, but it is not possible at this time. Here everything is still done according to the wishes of ones elders. I will write "krell" (??) again. If you wish, you can have this letter put in the newspapers. If possible, send me a newspaper because there are none here one can buy because everything is so expensive and there is nothing of interest in them. Write to uncle Johannes and greet him, also uncle Stroh and his family. People receive American dollares here and the Jews buy them up at 40,000,000 ruble the dollar.
With best greetings we remain,
Your mother, brother and sister-in-law
This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.