Cape Town, Undated

… Please write to me if you have met David Michael from ‘Starkene’ and what does he say about the ten rouble that was liened to the pawnbroker? If there is still a hope or whether it’s all finished? Please write me also if Krois has repaid the 35 roubel for the ‘sterk’ ? (bullock), as I don’t know if it has been received. Also write if Klarinsky has returned the ‘rogen’ (?) as he promised, or whether he asked you to wait until the harvest will be successful. Write what I asked you and also not asked, and maybe I forgot something you remind yourself of. For me your writing is very amusing and interesting. In one word, write, and write, as much as possible.


… Still to be endured, and when it will be possible, I will PG not delay and I will send as much as possible, as it would be nice if I would not be criticised by everybody. We owe everybody and we pay nobody! But my hopes are strong that the Lord will come to my aid, and that we will pay our debts and for ourselves we will make a better living than before. So in the meantime we must be patient and not pressurising the time.


He will give prosperity and blessings because it is such a country here that you tread on gold as the mazal, it is granted by God as He opens one’s eyes and this means as the posek says: the help of God arrives like the twinkling of an eye – the poor man can become rich in a minute, and so we must hope to God to make us successful and everything will come right and with this I close my writing I find myself in good health and spirits and I hope that God will have pity and make an end to all of this tsores [i] and reward us with good things.


I greet and kiss you heartily from me your ever faithful husband who wishes you everything of the best Tuvye Kretzmar


One must forget that we are still unsettled and in Cape Town. I did not expect to be staying in Cape Town for so long and to do such business in Cape Town. I would not have left home had I known this. So, as it has happened, so we have to thank God for his help in the meantime. And we hope that the future will be better, as it seems that the war will shortly come to an end – for better or for worse [i]. And then all the Jews hope to do better. I also hope that it will be good for me. Please write about our relations and friends. Mi yanuach who will stay put and umi yanua who will move somewhere else [ii]. Write me please about your neighbours, how they are getting on and what’s happening. I greet and kiss you heartily from me, your ever faithful husband who wishes you everything of the best. Be well and stay well, as is the wish of your ever faithful and loving husband Tuvye Kretzmar.


I greet cordially my dear parents, brothers and sisters, and to you my brother Jacob I ask if it may already be the time for counting and if they listen, tell them in my name as I am an experienced man that the more you count the better. And write me if you have mail from Eliyahu Zalman and from Yitzchak. Please write me everything. Tuvye Kretzmar.


I greet cordially my dear mother-in-law and my brother-in-law Moishe Schochet and his wife, my sister, Sarah, with the children, may they live happily, my sister-in-law Chana Reza, and my brother-in-law Aaron. I greet cordially my grandfather, Zalman Berel Yaacov Katz, and his wife, and son-in-law, and his wife Sarah and children, be well and happy, From me, Tuvye Kretzmar


Notes:

[i] As Tuvye indicated, Britain thought that the war would be won easily, but they were wrong.

[ii] The reference is to the U­netanah Tokef , a piyyut (liturgical poem) sung on the High Holy Days: “On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die after a long life and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severity of the decree.”

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar