Malmesbury, 4 June, 1901

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


My dearest wife – I have received your letter of the 20th May [query April [i]], and I am glad about the news that you are all well. May my letter find you in the same condition. On my side, I can also tell you that I am TG well. May God grant us always good health and prosperity and to feel that one is alive, because when you feel that one is alive, it really means living. So by God all is possible.


What you write - that you notice from my letter that I was worried and without courage – I can tell you that you are making a mistake. I am not worried and am in good spirits. I am in Africa – I would like to make a few pounds, and take a boat to return to you. But in the meantime this is impossible. Sometimes one says it is inconvenient, but further you may be sure that if you look for things, then you can make business. We must just wait for the good Lord to mercifully grant us success, and then all will be well.


In the meantime, what you write that I should tell you of the contents of my business, I have already written about it in my previous letters, which you have surely received because I already told you that I had left the city and now I can tell you more details.


I am in partnership with a man who comes from Kupeshok[ii], and together we have a bakery. This week, we bought two cows and we sell the milk, and if it possible we will buy more cows, but we will need more capital for it. It may be a good business, so we must pray to God to provide the means and success in time. For beginners, it is difficult to send money, as I am with a partner and he has invested more money than I and we must try to get more income. And so you must understand that it is difficult to take out money, but I hope shortly to send you some, as much as possible.


And you my dear wife, you must not worry, if God wills, He can grant us everything that we need, because He has all the means and there is time for everything, and so let us hope for better days with His help. I close my writing because I have nothing more to write now. Keep well and live happily and satisfied – be heartily greeted and kissed, from me, your loving husband, who wishes you all good health and happiness, Tuvye Kretzmar


In future you must write this address: T Kretzmar, no 9, Darling Street, Malmesbury, South Africa.


I greet heartily my dear parents, my dear father, Yehuda Leib Kretzmar, and my chaste and modest mother, Beile, and my scholarly brother, Yaacov Kretzmar, and my sisters, Hinda and Chana, my dearest parents, I am very sorry and feel ashamed that after so much expense and trouble that you have endured from my youth, you still have now to carry my burdens. At the moment, I have very little money to spend, and I suppose you have lent money to my wife and this certainly made it hard for me, but please, my dearest parents – please look at the better side, when God will have pity and grant us prosperity, I hope to reward you for everything you have done. I am in Africa. One can wish to have all the money the children have spent on their parents from Africa when God has granted prosperity, amen. Keep well and happy and in good spirits, as is the wish of your dear son, Tuvye Kretzmar


I also greet heartily my dear mother-in-law, the chaste and modest Neche, and my dear brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, and his wife, my sister Sarah, and their children, my brother-in-law, Aaron Morris, and my sister-in-law, Chana Reza, I wish you all from a full heart everything of the best, from me, your son-in-law, brother-in-law, and brother Tuvye Kretzmar


Notes:

[i] This must be a mistake - a letter written on 20th May could not have arrived by 4thJune.

[ii]Kupiskis - in Yiddish Kupishok - is in north east Lithuania, near Birzh where 1,444 Jews (42% of the town's population) lived before World War II – between 1,500 to 2,000 Jews were shot in pits in June-July 1941.

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar