Malmesbury, 18 June, 1901

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


My dearest wife, this week I have not received your letter and yet I am writing this letter. I want to inform you that TG I am in good health and good spirits. May I hear the same from you and the children.


I am very sorry that I can’t send you any money now, but you must not be despondent. With God’s help everything will come right. The reason for not sending money is not because the profits are too small – because I don’t know where to get a few pounds to send home for expenses, as this is the first priority, ‘es iz eing in die hent’ (‘there is no money in hand’).


We are a little overextended, e.g. when you took over the farms in Kelmiene [i], or in Geriltsik, you had to provide your own cows with everything that they needed, and when the capital is not big you have to borrow and borrow and then you cannot take out any money to send away. And so one must have patience until one makes profits, and this is how business is done here. The business is worth more than what we own, and I have invested everything in the business. I have invested less than half, and the rest was supplied by the partner, so I can’t take out any money, but I hope with God’s help at the end of the month, to send you some money, as much as possible and everything will be in order. With God’s help you will be able to pay all your debts, and for all your needs.


There is no more news to write now, I will send you some money for expenses. I hope things will improve. I suppose one can invent an anecdote or a joke to write, as it is said (? in Russian) ‘the rouble talks’, and now there is no rouble.


Keep well and don’t be lonely, there is still a God in the world as well as in Africa, and when God wills it will be a good world for us, with enough money for everything. I wish you and greet you cordially and kiss you from me, your devoted husband, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet heartily my dear parents, my father and mother, sisters and brothers, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and his wife, my sister, and their families, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, I wish you all a lot of luck and everything of the best, your dear son, and son-in-law, and brother-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar

My dear brother-in-law, Moishe, you asking me about the 227 roubles that Yitzchak Ben Isaiah ha Cohen has sent. I want to tell you that he gave me the money and I forgot to add it to the money that I sent to my wife. And in my letter that I wrote to her I said that I am sending the money. With God’s help I will send you the full amount that I owe. Your brother-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar


Notes:

[i] Kelme is a city in north eastern Lithuania. Acording to an 1897 census, 69% of Kelme’s 3,914 inhabitants were Jewish. - Between 1,250-1,300 were murdered during mass executions in July, August and October by Lithuanians, auxiliary police and Germans soldiers.)

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar