Cape Town, Chol HaMoed, Pesach, (i.e. 16 -19 April) 1900

To my loving and dear wife, Taube Kretzmar, and to my loving children, May they live in wealth and comfort.


Dearest wife, your letters marked number one and number two I have duly received and I have read with pleasure, particularly of your well-being. May God grant that our letters to each other should always be so as long as I am destined to be separated from you.


I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed Purim and that the custom of making a party in Zerildovve is still in existence. May God grant that we should start living properly, and here we also had a happy occasion.


We live in one room – it means it is one place for me and for Moishe and Mendel, and Mendel is a son of the schochet of Papile and the shammes of Shmuel Ghaseich of Birzh. And there also came others, dispersed good friends, and we all had a drink together. We sang songs, although at the beginning we were afraid we should be heard outside. Moishe says that if Krass the landlord should hear the noise, he would increase the rent by seven grossan. But I am scared, as we live in the country we have to be careful with this kind of rascal. But as we warmed up a bit we became happier. We decided that it was only a fantasy and we are not afraid of the landlords. We drank a cup for the health of the wife and children, parents and all friends, and all friends who think about us, and we all enjoyed ourselves.


Pesach we were at Lipman Rubin, we sat at the seder with heavy hearts but Liepe Rubin comforted us with the following words: ‘If you cannot make a living in Russia, then we should be happy to be in this country, because then the wives will be able to make Pesach in Russia.’ Although these are short words, but alas it is true, and so we conducted the sederim and I will write whatever happens later. So now I must close my writing as the time does not allow me to write more. Therefore please excuse me this time – hopefully, I will not owe you any letters. Be well and stay well, as is the wish of your ever loving husband, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet also cordially my dear parents for the pleasure you have caused me by writing to me. I am unable at the moment to write you anymore. I greet my brothers and sisters, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and everyone else who asks after me. From me, your son and relative and good friend, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar