Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 7 June 1923
Page 8, "From the Schoolmaster in Neu-Dönhof"
Dear Brothers in America:
I had arranged to send reports to the newspapers through Pastor J. Wacker, which I did many times, and, since I have received no indication from there that they were ever received and since the A.R.A. did not accept individual letters for forwarding, I gave up the effort. Dear Mr. Jacob Volz visited me on the 23rd of this month while on his trip around the villages and requested that I keep working at writing for the newspapers and promised to forward my letters to America without charge. Now I again take heart and will do what I can.
A while ago I sent 3 letters through the Russian Post Office for which I had to pay 30 million ruble but I can no longer do this because I have to pay a license fee for my profession and also taxes upon taxes so that my small salary can no longer cover such an expense. Hopefully, more later.
Today I will briefly tell you that the health conditions in our village and the surrounding area is much better. Very few deaths are occurring. Generally speaking, life is better here than in previous years but there are sill quite a few families who did not see any bread the entire winter. I do not have enough room here however, to describe the clothing emergency, especially among the poorest of us: I ask that all the dear readers of this newspaper not to tire in their loving efforts because your work has a tremendous effect here. If you want to send your friends here something, be it money, clothing or food, send it through the A.R.A. representative Mr. Jacob Volz. He will see that it gets to the right person.
From Neu-Dönhof and surrounds there is nothing new to write about today except that a new illness has broken out here and it is called "Romance and Courtship." Everyone wants to get married and many as soon as they become acquainted commit themselves to one another in writing, and this courtship is what is "new."
The nourishment of the people is in general better than in previous years but every family here is lacking in clothing. It is no wonder: basic gingham now already costs 8 million per arschin. Now go clothe yourself! But through American aid many have been able to clothe their naked bodies. God bless these dear benefactors.
Those who wish to send something to their friends should do so soon and the best way to do it is through Mr. J. Volz in Balzer. You can also send him money. Everything will be safely received at his place.
If I can do any good deed through my work with the newspapers, I ask that you let me know what it is.
My heartfelt German greetings to Pastor J. Wacker, Mr. F.A. Lorenz and all dear Neu-Dönhofers.
Page 8, "From the Schoolmaster in Kutter"
For a long time the Kutterers over there have heard nothing from their old home and on this account I today dedicate these lines to them.
The American kitchens have been operating continuously here since the 19th of November of the year before last. At first only 44 children were fed, then from 1 February of the next year 160 children were fed daily and from 1 April on, 175 children received food. The kitchen serves the poorest children of the village, mostly orphans who lost their parents the previous year. The food delivered is strengthening them. The menu is as follows: 3 times a week, cocoa with wheat bread; 3 times mash, likewise with wheat bread and one day, pudding without wheat bread. In the fall of last year 29 packets of clothing for private individuals were received in Kutter through Mr. Volz. Today this author received 1/2 million ruble from Mr. Volz to buy seed potatoes for the poorest among us. At the same time Mr. Volz gave 8 food shipments, each of 3 pud, for the widows and orphans of Kutter. Our schoolmaster was also pleased to receive a gift from Mr. Volz; a gift of pens and pencils. Our schools have been open since the month of October and 256 children are presently in attendance. The government is trying very hard to assist education nation wide and is working untiringly in this area. Only the shortage of clothing and shoes is affecting school attendance. This shortage results from the famine years of 1921 and 1922 where many were forced to give up their last bit of clothing in order to save their lives. For this reason we anxiously await the clothing that our brothers over there are sending.
From the shipments, sent to them from America and received through the A.R.A., many Kutterers have been able to buy a horse or a cow or 1 or 2 oxen! Thus the friends and relatives over there have healed the wounds that the year of famine inflicted on us! The receipt of these gifts was not always confirmed in a timely manner because the cost of a letter is a heavy burden for one to afford. Thus you should not become impatient if you do not receive an answer for a long period of time.
Deep and heartfelt thanks from everyone who has been helped by America and are still being helped.
Fr. Herdt, Teacher
Page 8, "From Pastor Guenther in Beideck"
Esteemed and Dear Mr. Volz:
I filled the order for Susanna Mueller and am sending you herewith the letter as well as 2 receipts for the money Susanna Mueller received. Because the woman cannot write, we got the receipts from her brother-in-law.
I had the Food Draft addressed to the President of the Reformed Consistory in Beideckredeemed and I send you my thanks for it. I do not know who the donor is and ask that if you are aware of who it is, to pass on my thanks. My authorized representative omitted to ask about the donor in Saratov.
I have not seen you for some time. You have much to do and are always away on a trip.
I also received a letter yesterday from Pastor Baeder. I am happy that our esteemed "Clothing Man"---I mean you---has so many donations on hand to give out. God grant that all this aid arrives and is distributed peacefully and harmoniously.
I thank you in particular for the newspapers that were sent to me.
I wish you good health and with affectionate greetings I remain, yours,
J. Guenther, Pastor
Page 8, "From South-Russia"
Sosowka, Stavropol Region
December 21, 1922
To: Heinrich Betz and wife Elisabetha and children: Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Much valued friends:
I have the honor of communicating to you on behalf of your sister and brother-in-law Katharina and Johann Kiefer ((could also be Kieser---translator)) that your letter dated 7 March 1922, written by Pastor Rothenberger has been received. First be informed that your dear mother died on March 11, 1919, of Typhoid Fever and was buried on March 12. We, including our family which consists of 10 souls, are, thanks be to God, wonderfully healthy so far, which we also hope for you.
We see from your letter that you are well aware of the conditions in Russia and that you yourselves have suffered very little. If you believe that we are in a bad way then we ask that you help us in any way you possibly can. We are soon to be homeless, our entire fortune lost, and the past year of furiously increasing prices all over Russia has also left us without bread. For some time here it has required a colossal amount (of money) to maintain a bare living.
It has already been a year that an American Committee has been giving aid to those in distress. Sadly it is not possible for us to demand more of those that now feed us. We, for example, have only once received from our Pastor about 25 pfund of flour, a little rice, sugar, tea and some other things. If there is any way possible for you to provide direct aid then we urgently ask you: Help us!
If we had the means to do it we would have gladly come to America but sadly our best efforts ran into difficulties and thus, in the meantime, our desire to live there remains unfulfilled while we remain here hoping and wishing.
It would be just as interesting to hear an account of their lives from our sister and sister-in-law Anna Elisabetha, as well as brother-in-law Georg Borgheim, who are likewise in America. Should they still be living, please greet them and their entire families affectionately from us all and send us their addresses. Similarly greet your eldest married daughter and her husband and family. We affectionately greet all of you. Accept our best wishes, your relatives,
Joh. and Katharine Kiefer
Page 8, "Letters from Russia"
Dear Mr. Betz:
By this letter I inform you that I am still healthy and such health I also wish for you. Here in old Messer things are going fairly well this year because we do not have the same situation of tremendous hunger that we had to endure last year. Of the old brethren that you knew there are only a few like myself, brother "Haende" and yet a few others yet living. Most of those that you knew died of hunger.
You would be surprised if you were to unexpectedly find yourself in our midst because so many are missing. Those from amongst us who are happiest are those who in previous years went to and still are in America where everyone can work and earn their daily bread, which unfortunately, is not the case here. Things are better in many ways with us, as noted above, nevertheless, generally speaking, on the whole things are still quite "Verkrutzt" (messed up).
Mr. Betz, we are all so weak that we require the best and greatest possible assistance and by this I mean everyone in the "Reihe" (rows, streets) around here. It is as if someone was in a faint and had to be splashed with cold water in order to be revived and able to stand again. Thus, every day, in regard to finances, we here need to be splashed several times. However since that is not the case we remain in a faint. As I was having some random thoughts about this today, America also came into my mind, America where many of our physical brothers and such who have the same spiritual convictions as we do, are living and have been spared all this evil. They were spared the great war and the associated emergencies that were imposed upon us and still are. How wonderfully God, the Almighty, has guided us far differently along paths that we did not envision or think about beforehand.
There, Br. Heinrich Betz, now you know from this description the situation I am in, I ask that you do not forget me in my present stressful condition. Rich America has already filled many gaps here, I hope that you will not forget me.
With greetings, I remain your well-known brother,
Heinrich Weber, No. 225
This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.