Malmesbury, 5 April, 1903

To my dear wife, Taube Kretzmar, to my dear children, my sons David and Noah, and my daughters, Leah and Freda, may they grow up in wealth and comfort, amen.


My dear wife, I have received your letter of 20 February. You are very cross and you have listed all your complaints. I have not mentioned all the goods in the shop. I have not answered my brother’s letters. I have not answered the long letter with four points. I have not mentioned and I have not thanked you for the parcel. All these are sins that I have committed, and for this I will say ‘alangen vehoerachamin’ (‘He is merciful’).


My first sin: I have not described all the goods in the shop, and I have no excuse for not answering anybody. The shop is full of sawdust and packing. I can tell you that I have no reply to all your queries. You know yourself all that we have endured already as nobody has bothered about us. Those who are not satisfied with what goes on in the world have never asked you any questions. I am not worried about them at all, and further I can tell you that you are as beautiful as the sun and clever as the day. Nevertheless, one doesn’t show a job half done, and when everything is ready, I will stand in the shop and do business, and then I will write you about it. In previous letters I wrote to you and I will repeat it now, because if you have any difficulty you muist tell the Rov and if not you can tell the Rebbetzin, I can listen but not when I am in the middle of the sawdust.


I have all kinds of spices, tea, sugar, coffee, sardines, all kinds of herrings in tins, soap, candles, paraffin, oil, flour, potatoes, bread, cigarettes and cigars, confectionary, chocolates. I have also got cotton material for making clothes, jackets, vests and pants. Readymade suits for men and ladies. Various kinds of harmonicas, mirrors, pins and safety pins, and many things. Further, I have not answered my brother’s letters – you should know, there were times when I was short of a pound and I should have sent it to him. It was then when he asked for a permit and nevertheless I tried my best for him. Although it was then still necessary to get a pass in Cape Town in order to immigrate. If you receive them – it was the fifth of January – fifth of February and fifth of March – a total of £15. …

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar