Cape Town, Erev Pesach, 1901, April

To my dear wife, Taube Kretzmar, and to my dear children, may they live in good fortune.


My dear wife, this week I have not yet received your letter because the post has not yet arrived, so I must write before I receive your letter, but to write I don’t know myself. It is Erev Pesach on the day that you wait for the holy day, and every Jew is ready to enjoy a great Yomtov, even the poorest Jew enjoys it. I would have liked to enjoy it with my wife and children but I must have patience. I must remove my deep burdens for a few days – unfortunately, business is very poor now and the only satisfation that one has, is that one is well, and that we have an all merciful God and He tells us to hope. I am sure that in time everything will be better.


I am enclosing £4 and I hope that you enjoy them and that you pay off your debts. I hope that after Yomtov I will be able to send you some more money – as much as possible – and to come back myself. When one eats kreplach every day, one also gets tired of it. And now in bad times, as they say when you are a soldier, you must small powder(?), so we must wait for better times and see what God will grant us. This war can’t last forever. Further, what you write that you are restless on account of the war in the Cape – I can tell you that it is very quiet here and I am not worried about it. And may God in his mercy improve the parnosse.


I have everything ready for Pesach. I have got matzos and wine and a new pot and spoons which I acquired for Pesach. We will be four men at the seder – I, Meish Rubin and his son and Moishe Jacobson. May God grant that we will survive all the worst times and that we should all be together next year in Russia, so that we can thank God for the redemption from Egypt and that He will redeem us from the galutin Africa, where one spends years and days for nothing. With God’s help, we will have a happy Pesach.


I am closing my writing because it is already late night, and tomorrow night we must solemnise the seder. We have to say the Haggadah, but my mind is full of you, my dear. I must continue my life here as best as possible. Keep well and happy as is the wish of your ever devoted husband, Tuvye Kretzmar


I cordially greet my dear parents, brothers and sisters, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law and all relatives and friends, and all who ask about me, from me, your son, brother, and brother-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar