8 June 1922

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 8 June 1922

Page 2

To the National Lutheran Council, Esteemed Pastor: 
      We the undersigned community members of the Evangelical Lutheran Parish of Paulskayaherewith inform you that we safely received the American clothing packets. Receive our deepest thanks for the self sacrificing work and loving kindness that your assigned representatives have shown. Heartfelt thanks also to the National Lutheran Council for their generous work of mercy and all our American friends for their donations. The clothing was distributed to the 5 villages of our parish by our Pastor and the church superintendents of the 5 villages: PaulskayaKaneauPhillipsfeldNieder-Monjou, and Beauregard
     It was only enough for the very poor and amounted to 1 -- 2 pieces per family. You faithful American comrades have no idea how short of clothing we are. We are as good as naked. The few rags we have most certainly cannot be called clothing. One is ashamed to leave the room, let alone appear in church. Certainly God does not look at our outward appearance, never-the-less, it is nearly impossible for us to go to church with what we wear as clothing. 
     We lack everything: outer wear, shoes, underwear. Of the latter we either have none or so few that we cannot change them. Is it any wonder that disease is ever more epidemic among us and taking so many human lives? We are totally dependent on the assistance of our faithful American brethren. 
     Therefore, honored Pastor, we ask you in the name of our great friendship, to bring our cry for help to the hearing of our brothers over there. We also ask you to take the trouble to publish the following names in the newspapers so that our friends can see that their gifts to us were received. May God strengthen the workers in their works of mercy and bless the benefactors. 
     Personally attested to by the undersigned (then 106 signatures follow). The copy is certified and stamped with the church seal: J. Seidlitz, Pastor to Paulskaya, 13 March 1922.


Page 2, "Letter of Thanks of Refugees from Russia"

Constantinople, 1 April 1922 
To the National Lutheran Council

     Beloved brothers and sisters: The thousands of years old legend of the Angel who registers each thought, each word, each deed of humans into the book of life is a splendid metaphor for the divine counsel that each person has to bear the burden of his spiritual and corporeal actions, not here exclusively, but more still in that life where nothing can be concealed, where everything is open and obvious. 
     It is for some a terrible thought and for others a comfort, a reminder to stop and change one's ways. This however, requires courage, patience and confidence. If we understand our fate as a thing of time, something which is not dependent upon human strength, then one would probably not have as much spiritual freedom and self determination and probably would be better qualified to intervene and transform the consequences brought about by nature and appear to be the same as God. 
     We have become as drifters upon a rudderless, unsteerable raft which has surrendered to the waves of the sea. Thus our suffering course has brought us to Constantinople and we are on the point of deciding to begin a new course to Germany and Austria. We cannot help remembering our American benefactors, they who reached out their helping hands to us in the most difficult moments of our lives and thus saved us from drowning. 
     We all fled from the Bolsheviks not because they kill the body, no, we fled because they kill souls and we cannot live under those conditions. To escape all that agony....That was the reason we fled to Turkey, not knowing what would happen there. We were prepared to endure hunger and distress rather than live in Russia. And, as we said, in these difficult moments of our lives with the future dark and hopeless, through the strong waves bringing us death, tearing us apart and sinking, there it was, the saving hand of the National Lutheran Council which gave us succor and bread and a firm hope in the future, and thus we fled. 
     Next to God's great love, the undemanding donations of the American brothers and sisters for the hungry and distressed arouse the most intimate feelings of gratitude in our hearts. We fold our hands and raise our eyes to God and call for his blessings upon your organization. May Almighty God send down a thousand fold blessing for each small gift which you have offered to us and all the poor. 
     The prayers of our elders, our children, brothers and sisters, those whose son, father, mother, sister, brother have been saved, rise up to God and ask His intercession for you, our benefactor. 
     Once more we all heartily greet you. Signed with grateful remembrance, the 120-man-strong German group in Constantinople. [Then the personal signatures follow]


Written thanks from Saratov to the National Lutheran Council:

     We who have signed at the end, speak herewith our heartfelt thanks to the National Lutheran Council in America for the food and clothing that came to us through Pastor Seib. The Old God, He who stirs the hearts of men like the waters in brooks, still lives and did not forget His people. Brotherly love, the rule of His kingdom, seems again to be coming to this quarrelsome place where the people have fallen out and become separated. Oh, how we in our land torn apart by quarrelsome factions thirst for drops of love. May you good, dear Christians in America with these drops of your love for us, which the Savior preached and once lived, receive a thousand thanks for your donations. Prayers for you will rise up to Heaven for as long as we live and our tears of joy for the memory of the assistance we experienced will spur us to assist in cases where calls for help from suffering peoples are brought to our ears and our heart. (followed by 48 signatures).

Letter of thanks from Mrs. Selma Somelt to the National Lutheran Council:

Very Esteemed Pastor: 
     On 4 March I received a shipment of food through your mediation. Our joy was great and we know our thanks is not enough to demonstrate this. On this account therefore we ask that everyone who contributed to our support receive our deepest thanks and to say how happy how happy this charity has made us. In thought and in prayers we warmly press everyone's hands because this gift came totally unexpectedly to our poor who are snowed in. We received it through Pastor Kluck. 
     My dead husband served nearly 19 years as Pastor to the Frank Parish and has been dead now for 7 years. For the gifts, once again my heartfelt thanks and friendly greetings to all of the Germans from Frank in America, from your old Pastor's wife Selma Somelt. Many on the advice of the Pastor left my house and immigrated to America. In the beginning I received letters and photographs from some, others have not written or are dead, i.e. Heinrich Widerspahn with his wife and children who were with us for a year. I ask you to send our cordial greetings to Pastor David Maul in Lincoln (now in Fort Collins). With a warm handshake, and again thanks, 
               Widow Selma Somelt, Frank, 7 March [1922]


Krasnoyar, 22 March 1922

To the National Lutheran Council

Esteemed Pastor Ernst: 
     I herewith state my deepest thanks in the names of all those citizens of the community of the village of Krasnoyar who from their faithful comrades in America received donations through Pastor Ernst. 
               Peter Wegelin, sexton of the community in Krasnoyar

This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.

Written thanks to the National Lutheran Council:

     The Church Council of Reinhard sends, in the name of the community of Reinhard, the following written expression of thanks: 
     On 1 March of this year, clothing received from the National Lutheran Council through our Schoolmaster Wagner was distributed. The Church Council herewith offers its warmest thanks and also the thanks of the elderly, and the children who with tears in their eyes, accepted their gifts. To whom does the thanks belong? Above all to God from whom good and perfect gifts come, and whose mercy has yet no end. Here also the honor is His. But we also bespeak our most cordial thanks to our valued American Brethren who contributed to the easing of our distress and misery. God will repay you, for that which you have done unto one of these the least of my brethren, so have you done unto me. 
     In particular we also thank Pastor Ernst in the names of our Brethren. He came to us in this land of misery an distress to heal the wounded. All, all our most cordial thanks and "God Repays!!" If we consider however, everything that has been done for us out of love and is yet to be done, then we must say as in the Psalms: It is a miracle of God, performed before our very eyes. 
               Chairman of the Church Council Spindler, 
               Secretary Lutz 
               and 10 other signatures for the members


Page 2, "Receipts written from Russia"

Acknowledgments of the receipt of donations of food and clothing are beginning to come in. So, for a time we will regularly run an entire column with the names and thanks of the recipients. Though the originals are in our possession, not all of the names could be published.

Clothing distributed in Nieder-Monjou on 3 March; List of 188 names of the recipients and Schoolmaster Heinrich Graf.

Norka: Receipts from 113 persons signed by Pastor Wacker.

Philippsfeld: Clothing distribution, signed receipts from 42 people.

Kaneau: Clothing distributed 4 March; 32 signatures.

Beauregard: 44 persons signed their thanks.

Paulskaya: Clothing to families, 126 signatures.


Page 2, "Written Thanks of the Church Council of the Rosenfeld Community"

The Church Council of the community of Rosenfeld herby brings to you faithful comrades, in the name of all the members of the community our deepest thanks for the articles of clothing which were received through Pastor Koch. May God waken more such sponsors to com to our aid. Special thanks to Mr. Herbert Sülzan, Victor, New York. The coat upon which his address was attached was assigned to citizen Adam Fritz. 
                    Church Council members 
                    Conrad Seiz, Jacob Wagner, Friedrich Jung 
                    Heinrich Müller, Secretary, Johannes Kuhfeld.


Page 2, "To the Lutheran Council: Written Thanks"

On 27 February the Church Council of Alexanderhöh had the pleasure to distribute the shipment of articles of clothing to the poorest. Not only were there words of thanks from the lips of the recipients, but one also saw great joy on those afflicted by hunger and exposure. The undersigned Church Council have the honor to convey to you the gratitude of the recipients and to call out to you over land and sea "God Repays." 
                    Members of the Church Council: 
                    P. Koch, Secretary., H. Lehmann, Usens, Gross and Lebrecht


Page 2, "Letter of Thanks of the Church Council of Gnadendorf"

Our dear faithful comrades in far off America heard the cry for help of some of the distressed in our midst that there was a great need of clothing and bethought to give great aid to the poor and so the Gnadendorf Church Council feels obliged to speak out their thanks to the donors in the name of the poor to whom they were presented. Especially to Mrs. T.H. Bastian in Victoy, New York, whose address we found in the clothing. 
                    Church Council Members 
                    Herdt, Gaus, T. Nagel, Secretary


Page 2

Dönhof, 20 March [1922] 
To the Lutheran Council:

I say herewith to you my warmest thanks for the articles of clothing we received. Many naked, freezing children were clothed, many tear filled eyes were dried. In the name of all these poor I say to all of the donors and compassionate Samaritans in America, Heartfelt thanks. I must remind the dear givers of the words of our Savior: "Whosoever receives such a child also receives me." God will repay you in heaven. We have 2,300 children here and of these only a portion are provided with clothing, while the majority are in a bad way. May those dear donors not become weary of us and always and again think of us here in the hunger stricken region. We also thank you for the food. I will strive henceforth to stand by those in danger and provide advice and assistance. I ask that this report be published in the American Press. 
                    Your devoted H. Würtz, Schoolmaster, Dönhof 
                    (attached is a booklet of some hundred signatures)

Pokrovsk (Engels), 12 March 1922: We the undersigned Church Council members, School Council members and some of the members of the Engels Lutheran and Reformed Community opened the bundles of clothing which the community received from the National Lutheran Council through Pastor Ernst as gifts. Our chairman, Johannes Lich went to pick them up on 18 February. Receive our deepest heartfelt thanks. We determined the contents to be 318 pieces. I certify this under the seal of the church and speak my heartfelt thanks to all of the donors of these gifts in the name of the above mentioned members and sign with all respect and honor, Johannes Lich, Chairman, Church Council members: Johann Arnhold, Jacob Beller, Kunstman, Scheuerman, School Council member, Johann Krauss, For community members: Adolph Wolfram.

Wiesenmüller, 10 March 1922: The distribution of clothing which was received from the National Lutheran Council through sexton Döll was accomplished on 10 March and was received by the people with heartfelt thanks. So we the Church Council of Wiesenmüller state: A. Döll, G or J. Muth, K. Wambold, G.H. Lohmann, J.G. Stückert, (there followed a recipient list of 186 names).

Beideck: List of clothing and names of the recipients: 205. Received through Pastor Ernst from the National Lutheran Council and distributed by the Church Superintendent. Certified as such: Peter Grünemeier, Johann Ostermüller, Balthasar Fahnenstiel, Jacob Grünewald and Pastor H. Günther. On 22 March we also received food from the National Lutheran Council through Pastor Ernst. It was distributed to the elderly, the weak and the sick as indicated on the sponsor's lists. 2.Tess., 3, 5. The distribution was done by church supervisors (there followed the names of 4 supervisors and Pastor Günther.

Written thanks from Osinovka, 12 April: We bespeak heartfelt thanks to our faithful comrades in America for the gifts that we received from you through Pastor Ernst. We will never forget this aid. The good Lord will richly reward you all. (followed by 17 signatures) 

Schwed-Samara: Lists and distributions of food to the aged and sick and their names--43. 

Kutter, 25 March: List and dispatching of food for 104 villages for the aged, weak and sick. Furthermore a whole lot of colonies to which clothing bundles were again assigned.


Page 2

To the authorized representatives of the National Lutheran Council in Saratov.

Letter of thanks.

     I cannot, before God, bespeak my warmest thanks to our faithful American brothers whose hearts beat for us in Christian love during the present famine. In spirit I press the hand of each donor whose assistance and donation has reached across the far seas to save our languishing people. Though the waves of affliction and hunger have carried away many of our fellow citizens, there are yet still many who with anguished faces, begging and pleading, look to the hills from whence our help comes, Psalm 121. Thousands can be saved and afterward join the voices of the psalmists: "Praise the Lord, because He is gentle and His goodness is eternal..." Ps. 107:1-9. 
     I welcome the friendly and sympathetic consideration shown to the pastor and sexton of our Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Volga. With gratitude and glad hopes I look to the future in which we shall be supplied with food to ease our distress. God heard our prayers and created the assistance for which we have long been waiting. May the Lord God strengthen the hearts and hands of our faithful foreign brothers, that they do not tire of doing good until the famine is overcome and completely defeated, and we can reach our hand across land and sea in common praise of our God. Amen to that. 
     The news of the soon to arrive assistance gladdened everyone's hearts. It was like a calming drink after a big storm and hung in the air like lovely music which lifts the spirits and encourages new hope. 
     Blumenfeld was a wealthy community, but now we have become impoverished, the flowers wither and thirst for refreshment. Last summer there was already a shortage of bread for most. With prayers and tears we looked to God for help in this emergency; but the rain stayed away too long and the harvest was very poor. 
     Some are already eating ground squirrels now that the bread shortage is widespread the famine has escalated. If help doesn't come soon it will be disastrous. Many have already died of starvation and many are now sick and bloated because of it. One horse after another was slaughtered and some traded their last cow for a pud of rye just to maintain life. Lately the flesh of dogs and cats is eaten as well as fresh fallen cattle (carrion). Also calves which have been aborted are not ignored and the same are slaughtered for food, and raw animal hides are cleaned and made edible. 
                    Blumenfeld, 28 February 1922 
                    Faithfully, G.J. Abig

     Please permit me to express my most intimate thanks to you and the Lutheran Council of America in the name of my Parish and particularly all those who were gladdened through the gifts of love from their faithful comrades in America. 
     It was the loving gifts from you which gladdened our hearts and made us grateful, as well as the actions of separate peoples from around this world in giving during our misery with whom we are connected by bonds of love and faith. This has provided us again with renewed courage, strengthened our weakened faith and taught us again to believe in mankind's love and mercy. 
     Permit me now to give a short report about the use of the food shipments to the parish of Rosenheim. Hopefully you will not be offended if I paint a picture of our situation before then in order that you are better able to afterward measure the effect of the gifts. 
     On my travels through the village I came to a small shabby home. My eyes beheld a troubling scene: the grandmother lies in bed, 2 half-starved children press themselves against the stove, a third is laying in a cradle. The mother is busily straightening and bringing order to her ragged coverings. Upon my entrance she stood up and regarded me with questioning eyes. I inquire about their situation. It is truly sorrowful. The grandmother some days before had collapsed from exhaustion and can no longer straighten up. The father in the last few days had taken their last pieces of clothing to the Bergseite in order to trade them for bread. When I told the grandmother about the Lutheran faithful in America coming to their aid, she shook her head in disbelief. They had already hoped for such a long time and always in vain. This time it would also come to nothing. 
     Only after my repeated assurances was she able to believe me and was grateful that they had not been forgotten. When at last the food arrived she sent her daughter-in-law to me, tears of joy ran down her cheeks. Wheat flour, rice sugar, and bacon. It had been such a long time since they had seen all these things let along tasted them. She said "who would have thought that I would get to eat all of this again?" 
     We went to another house, "bakery" as it is called by us. Through the kitchen we arrived at the single apartment. The baking oven extended far inside the room and my companion and I did not know which way to turn because there were 3 families, 12 people in all, inhabiting this small area. In the corner was a wide bed and in it were 2 emaciated skeletons who were women. Were they sick? Yes, sick from hunger. The husband of one had gone to America 9 years ago and she remains alone here with her 3 children. The other woman was a widow whose husband and 4 children had died of starvation in the previous year. Three children are still alive! 
     In the other corner the same picture: a girl of 21 lying in bed across her younger brother. The oldest brother who was the breadwinner had shot himself a year ago and their mother with two other children had starved to death. Two more children were lying behind the oven exhausted by starvation. The only food these people received was from the "Children's Kitchen" otherwise they would have long ago starved to death. 
     In the house opposite there is a widow with 6 children. She has already sold everything she possesses. Only the house remains. Of the 4 horse hides, which she received among other things, for her out buildings, 2 have already been consumed. 
     I will only mention a widow with 5 children who for some time used dead horses and pigs for food and who cooked, roasted and ate old leather harnesses. As the woman said: "Cats and Dogs are a delicacy." 
     I could continue describing such pictures forever. Understand, these are not exceptional cases. It is the same in many homes. 
     You will understand the feelings of joy and gratitude of these starving, near to death people, that came pouring out from them when I completely unexpectedly brought your gift to their homes. 
     It might interest you to know how we proceeded with the distribution of the food. Already the rumors that such gifts were expected brought this one and that one to my home to remind me not to forget them. There were thousands who were calling for assistance but we could not satisfy every request. We sought out and selected the oldest, weakest and sickest for these gifts. So, the American Lutherans thousands of kilometers away brought a bit of joy to sick patients and brightened the last gloomy days of the lives of many old men and many old women. 
     For all of this love, dear Pastor, convey to all of our faithful comrades in America the most cordial and innermost thanks. 
                    With respects and fraternal greetings, 
                    Pastor A. Rothermel, Rosenheim

Glasco, Kansas

     The above letters and signatures point to the fact that we through our Commissioners: Dr. Morehead, Pastor Ernst in Saratov and Mr. Beshorner on the Wiesenseite are bringing assistance. They do not have the time to write long reports as they are tirelessly at work. 
     The original lists with signatures and such continue to come in and are in our office. 
     Do not forget that the emergency is not yet over and we must continue to help. We must not tire. We have no right to say we have become tired. Our friends over there who are staring hunger and exposure in the face have cause to say: "Lord, I am tired of this miserable life." If we say something similar, then I dread to think of those so exhausted over there. 
                    National Lutheran Conference's Relief Commission for German Russian Colonists, 
                    W.L. Scheding, Chairman, Glasco, Kansas


Page 8, "Letters from Russia"

From Tzaritzin in the Volga Region, Emilie and Maria Legler wrote the following words to Mr. Jacob Legler, 901 Clairmont St., Lincoln, Nebraska: 
     We would like you to know that we came upon your address by accident and decided to write to you. We are the daughters of Johannes Legler, our grandfather was Friedrich Legler from Dönhof. Our mother was Maria Bauer, born in Balzer. Our parents are already long dead and we two sisters are all that remain of the entire family. 
     Three brothers of our father are in America, one of them is named Georg Friedrich. We don't know the names of the other two and we don't have the address of uncle Georg Friedrich. 
     When your address came into our hands we decided to write to see if we perhaps in this manner could track down our relatives. 
     Here there are widespread shortages and hunger and we ask our relatives for help either in the way of Food-Drafts or even better, if they could help us come to America. 
     We are now 24 and 22 years of age. There's nothing more here to live for, therefore we ask you Mr. Legler, if it is possible to help us, or at least bring us in contact with our relatives. 
     With best of thanks for you philanthropy, signed: 
                    Maria and Emilie Legler

Our address is as follows:
Emilie Legler
Walakowskaja No. 14, 3
Tschast, Zariin
Tscherres Saratov
Soviet Russia

[Die Welt-Post Editor's Note: Mr. Jacob Legler to whom the letter is written says his roots stem from the colony of Grimm and that he is not a relative of the girls, and the girls said that their roots stemmed from Dönhof. Mr. Legler has received one letter and one postcard from the girls that he would like to send on to the relatives of the embattled girls. In case they want to write to him, his address is the same as that above.]

Page 8, "Letters from Russia"

Dönhof, 6 March 1922

Dear treasured friend Wilhelm Johannes Lind: 
     Here in these few lines I, your friend, Johannes Erbes want to inform you that so far, praise God, we in our framily are in good health, which health we also, from the bottom of our hearts, wish for you. 
     In your letter written to your brother Ferdinand before Christmas I understood that you are also in good health which is the best thing in this world.. My wife Catharina was sick for a long time in the fall but now, thank God, she is again healthy. But our mother died on the 12th of August. She was severely ill for about a month. She was sick with gastritis. Now our family stands at six souls, myself and my wife and four children. 
     Dear friend, Wilhelm Johannes Lind, I wish you to know that we in Dönhof are now in a very bad situation, especialy myself. A terrible famine has broken out. I have been in business for five years. I served one year as a soldier in Turkey and there I lost my health. I already have come through many hardships. Life here would be easier of one only had food. In Balzer at the bazaar one can still buy, if one has the money, but only at extremely high prices. One is no longer capable of buying things there. 
     I'll give you an idea (of the cost): millet costs per pud (36 US lbs.) 4 million, wheat 4 million, grain 3,500,000 rubles, milled grain 4 million and always by the pud; a pfund (14.4 ounces) meat 80,000 rubles, lamp oil 30,000 rubles a pfund. You would think, dear friends, Wilhelm, Jacob and Philipp, that we here would in the end finally all have to starve. Since summer here in Dönhofalready many people have died. 
     Dönhof has shrunk, there are no more than 5,000 souls here. Now is the floodtide. If there is no help to be had then people will and must drop like flies in the face of starvation. 
     There is nothing here, there are no stockpiled provisions and at this moment no seed for sowing. Thus we are in a very bad fix and it couldn't be worse. 
     Dear friends, I've asked the three of you many times if it were possible for you to help with provisions. I would be very grateful for it and if you could and want to do so you would be helping us by aiding us in our greatest need by shipping us foodstuffs as quickly as possible. 
     We never suspected that we would experience another such difficult affliction as we are in now. If no help arrives then we have nothing to look forward to except death by starvation. 
     Your old father is very sick at this time but the rest are still in good health. 
     Now I will relate some prices to you: horses cost 10, 20, 30 and 40 million rubles a head and they're not the same as we've had before and are no good for farming. 
     To close we send greetings to all and to all those with you and to their families from myself Johannes Erbes, my wife Catharina and children. Amen. 
     Please do not forget us. Perhaps there are still good people who will also want to do something. We are very thankful to all.


This translation provided courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald.