Cape Town, Undated

My dear father, Yehuda Leib, and my dear mother, the chaste and modest Beile, and my dear brother, the scholarly bocher Yaacov Kretzmar, and my sister Hinda and my younger brother and sisters.


May you all be blessed with everything. To my dear wife, Taube Kretzmar, zolle lebben, live in wealth and happiness, and to my children, may they live in joy.


My dearest and most precious wife, at the outset of my letter I can inform you that I find myself TG well – may God grant to hear the same from you.


About business I have nothing to write at the moment. In these times hundreds of people are walking the streets, looking for work to do and to earn a living, which is much more expensive than at home and not everyone can find it. I thank God that so far I have made enough to cover my expenses and hope that God will provide more later on.


And now I am sending you one and a half pounds, and Moishe’s letter, and five roubles, which you must take off from Rochel of the money which I lent him to go to Africa. The money that I am sending you now is not all from the profit made in Cape Town, as when I came here I had £5 and two shillings which would have cost me to go to Johannesburg but as I stayed in Cape Town and I am earning my expenses TG, I have the £5. I cannot send you more now, in case I could do something with this money. So let this suffice you for the present and see if you can manage with it until the Lord will have mercy and send us some business, (Quotation, ‘so that there will be bread for the children’ (Quote from Chumash, Genesis, ‘and behold I am with thee and will keep thee’, vayizetze, line 15), and to pay a debt as this is a necessity, and the Lord will surely sometime provide. I have no news to write you now.


The war is still raging in South Africa. Everyday cables arrive giving news that the English have killed many Boers, and the second cable tells of the Boers killing many English – and so boats are arriving from London full of military – horses and mules and arms and so on in great numbers. If you would promise me a big share in it, I would wish our family to get what this amounts to. Please excuse me I am closing my writing, it is late at night and during the day I am busy. Please, my dearest wife, answer me as soon as you receive my letter and the money, and write me also about everything in your medina (area), and you, my dear brother Yaacov, please write what is happening there. We have heard that there is a monopoly on all grain – may the Lord spare us. Please write me everything and, believe me, when you will write me a long letter about everything.  I will enjoy it.


I greet cordially my dear brother-in-law Moishe Schohet, and his wife my sister, and their children, may they live zollen lebben, and my dear mother-in-law, the chaste and modest Neche, and my brother-in-law, Menachem Mendel, and Aaron, and my sister-in-law, Chana Reza, may you all live well. I greet all relations(freind) and friends (gutte freund), I wish you all, and myself also, good fortune and blessings (mi zeggen in alle weggen – rhymes) in all ways. And please excuse me for not writing out all the names. Believe me, at present there is very little patience, but hopefully we will overcome everything, until better days come. Adieu, be well, as it wishes you, your son, son-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law, freind and gutte freund. Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar