Malmesbury, 26 April, 1903

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


My dear wife, I have duly received your letter of 14 March and I thank God for His mercy for granting us good health, because all this is in His hands and He does what He wants. And so one must ask Him to have mercy, because He is a God of mercy and He grants life to all the living. (Quote from Rosh Hashanah prayer) ‘and also He is the healer of the sick’ and in His mercy (another quotation from the funeral service) ‘He maketh death to vanish in life eternal’… and that we should be worthy to have good news, and that He should grant success and blessings for all Israel. I did not know that David Rusteitner? had arrived, and when I met him we asked each other about our well being. So he said something and suddenly stopped, and so I did not even know that somebody had died. May God comfort all of the bereaved. I can tell you that thank God I am in good health and may my letter find you in good health, too, and that you should be able to write good news all the time that we are separated, because a good letter is a source of great joy to me. About business I have no news at the moment. I have already told you what the business consists of and what the sales amount to. I hope that the sales won’t get less because now is the time for sowing the fields and fewer people are coming into town  but all the same I am thankful to  God for His mercies.


I have already endured all kinds of hard work, and I have never had a very rich meal to be able to send money home, and today TG I live under a roof like a human being. I have enough bread to eat and clothes to put on (quotation ex Chumash, Genesis 28 and 20 – Jacob making a vow ‘that if God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go will give me bread to eat and a garment to put on so that I return to my father’s house in peace.’)


I am also able to save a few pounds in order to be able to arrive at a goal in the course of time. In the beginning it was difficult, until God in His mercy has helped me. (Quotation, again hidden this time.) ‘Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God’. (Ex Shabbos afternoon service.) And so I am very thankful for you and the children every minute of the day, because all my work was of no avail until God made it easier for me. I hope that in future He will not remove His mercy from me, and that He would reunite us shortly, amen. I am closing my writing.


I have not yet received the parcel, but I have heard that David Rosteitner has visited them and he brought it to Cape Town. I have asked him that if I am in town this week I will be able to receive it. Keep well and happy, as is the wish of your faithful husband, who wishes you everything of the best, Tevye Kretzmar.

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar