Cape Town, 16 October, 1900

To my dearest wife, Taube Kretzmar, Be well and live in joy and good fortune, as is my only wish; and to my dear children, to be well and grow up in wealth and comfort.


Dearest wife, I have received your letter of Yom Gimmel Nitzavim (18 September). I received it on Simchas Torah – after the long wait of two weeks when there was no mail, although I write every week. I’m surprised to hear from you that you have not received two letters from me. Please write me whether they arrive later or not. I thank you cordially for your writing.

Although it was Simchas Torah, when people are happy, my longing heart is always sorrowing, and your letter with the news about yourself and the children – that you are all in good health – has helped my spirit for Yomtov. I thank the Lord for His mercy until now, and hope also further that He will grant us health and good luck – that we will enjoy in happiness.


About your eyes – I did whatever I could, and the doctor the same; he took money and gave prescriptions – but the main thing is that you should carry out his instructions and relax and not to strain your eyes with needlework, because it can do more harm than good. You will not achieve anything with it. The main thing is that if the Lord grants good luck, then you arrive at your goal.


About your money matters, I am very happy to hear that you sorted yourself out with Moishe. Now I know that of your money you owe nobody. And the rest we will also pay back.

And what you write about the clothes and shoes that you acquired for Yomtov, I wish from the depths of my heart that you should use them all in good health, and may the Lord grant in the new year that it may be better and more beautiful and with pleasure. That we may meet each other.


I thank you for the information that our son Noah is beginning to walk. I can tell you the truth, that I was so excited by the news – that I, as a father, should be so far away and not know his child or even imagine what he looks like. But, as God has so decreed, so let it be until it gets better.


Please excuse my brief letter this time, while it is after Yomtov, and for me the Shabbat and Yomtovim is a hard time for me to get through. On weekdays one is busy and the time passes more easily, but on Shabbos and Yomtov, when you are in one place, you have to stand still. The brain thinks and gets dry, and the heart yearns and gets heartsore. So it is better to close down the letter and go to bed, and not to dream about Zudgala or Geriltesig or Shimberg will be much better. So I close my letter with wishes for good health, and be well in comfort, happy and lucky, as is the best wish of your ever faithful and always yearning husband, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet cordially my dear brother, Isaac Yitzchak Kretzmar. I have read his letter and I am glad that he is well, but I don’t deserve to be rebuked for not writing, because I don’t know his address, and we go through all kinds of times. So may it be better in the new year that all will be well. I greet also your wife, Reeza, and her son. Your dear brother, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet cordially my dear parents. I thank you for the trouble and care that you have taken in connection with my children during the time that my wife was not at home. May the Lord grant us that we may be able to thank you verbally and reward you with good things. I also greet my sisters, Hinda and Chana, and my brothers. If you could write me personally I would appreciate it very much, but alas who does this? And you, my brother Yaacov, I would ask that you should not finish your letter like an old ballabos with short and necessary information. It would also be appropriate for you to write sometimes a joke, an anecdote, or even a criticism. It does no harm to read a joke in a letter. From me, your son, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet cordially my dear mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, and his wife, my sister Sarah and family, my brother-in-law, Aaron, and my sister-in-law, Chana Reza, all be well, from me, your dear son-in-law and brother-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar