Cape Town, 4 October, 1900

To my dearest wife,

Your letter of the 23rd July I have received safely, and I am happy to hear that you and the children are all well. May God grant that we will always hear good news, one from the other, and to see each other in the best of health and happiness.


Further, in connection with your visit to Riga about your eyes, I can tell you that it makes no difference to me which doctor you go to. The main thing is that you should be cured, and I am also firm in my belief that the good Lord will help and lighten up our eyes to see a brighter world in the new year and will bring all of good to us. Let us hope that with His mercy He will bring us together because for Him it is not difficult. In the meantime, I have no news to write to you. I’m sure you will write to me when you go and hopefully when my letter arrives, you, PG, will be cured already. PG, may God grant us the best and the quickest – I close my writing. Please excuse my brief letter this time as it is already late in the night and I have no more to write. Please be satisfied with this. I wish you a complete recovery. Good luck and wealth – live happily together – with lots of comfort for the new year, from me, your dear husband who wishes all the best from the bottom of his heart, Tuvye Kretzmar


…‘As a shepherd seeketh out his flock and causes them to pass beneath his crook’ (quotation from U­netanah Tokef). Every man will fulfill his duties according to what he will have to do. Sometimes unwillingly, sometimes with pleasure, sometimes as a joke, and sometimes in frustration. They have to write to everybody their deeds and misdeeds – all the good deeds they have done and the stupid ones. And all the news that they write will be a pleasure to read, and you cannot withdraw yourself from minor affairs. Bad news there is enough. My face is already ??? from the smoke of the war and the soldiers. PG give us this pleasure to overcome this bad period. From your brother, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet my brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet Morris, his wife, my sister Sarah, and his sons and daughters, may they all be blessed with all the good things in life. I greet also cordially my mother-in-law Neche and Chana Reza, and Mr Aaron Morris, I wish you much good fortune for the new year. From me, your brother-in-law and son-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar


To my dear and honoured father, Yehuda Leib Kretzmar, and his wife Beile, and my brother and sisters, I wish you all everything of the best for the new year. May you have prosperity, wealth and blessings, and may you hear in your house the music of Kol Chatan Kol Calah. And may you see and be happy in the good luck of the children as it is the wish of your son, Tuvye Kretzmar


To my brother Yaacov

(a quotation adamcha hashafta yelo yedaticha), ‘I know you, I know your name, and yet I don’t know you’. When I left you, you were a young man, a scholar, a wise man, a Zionist, a businessman, free from the army, with many good qualities, who is keen to be honoured and to receive much praise, and even in your letter I can sometimes find a happy mood. But now I don’t see or hear in your letter the same echo of the previous years when you were hoping that everybody around achieve the great goal in spirit and in thought and to prepare the world for the kingdom of God, and you are not interested in the present. Therefore, your words are covered in darkness and this saddens me. If you would see letters that arrive here from young men your age who seem to be very happy it is a pleasure to read them. They also talk of humanity and various creatures whose fate is prescribed by God for good or for bad. Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar