Cape Town, 22 April, 1900

To my dearly beloved wife, Taube Kretzmar, Be well and live in happiness, and to my children, may they live and grow up in wealth and pleasure.


My dearest wife, I have received your letter of the 17th March numbered number 3. I am very happy and I thank God for His mercy that He grants you good health. You write me in the letter that you find a comfort and encouragement to hope that our separation will not last forever because as the Lord gives health and life one can await everything. Yet my dearest, with these two things, we can await everything. But I want to draw your attention to the fact that a third thing is also necessary, and, with all three, then one has to hope and guess what is in the closed envelope, and that is ‘Patience’. One needs Health and Life and one must have Patience to overcome with a serene attitude. One must with one’s own eyes see how part of one’s greatest assets are destroyed – that is from your lifespan – your past, everything is numbered and measured, the seconds are counted and, piece by piece, is removed as time goes by like a calendar, with a thought that maybe in time the future will be better. Although we know full well that what the Lord takes away from one end of the lifespan, it does not come back at the other end, and this of course is passed forever. But alas whatever bitter faith brings us, we cannot argue about it, one can only hope.


You write about your preparations for Pesach and that you thought everything superfluous and unnecessary and you appear to be doing it because others are doing it. My dearest wife, what can I answer you on this? For me it is no news, for when I departed from you I knew that my life would be good and bad, and it would only be an invitation of the past, as my dearest hearts and causes of pleasure are thousands of miles away. So what can be the value of life at such a time – the glamour and the religious satisfaction which a Jew finds in the Sabbath and Yomtov – this pleasure I have lost long ago. Although I observe the Sabbath as in Russia, it has no glamour here, and so was Pesach here. We were together at Mr Lipman Rubin, we chatted and spent the time together in order not to feel time dragging on till the Lord will have mercy. About business affairs which you ask about every week, alas (page missing)


…Sisters, mothers, and mother-in-law, and brother-in-law and everybody, From me, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar