Malmesbury, a few weeks before Rosh Hashanah, September 1902

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


My dear wife, last week I did not receive a letter from you, so naturally I am expecting one this week. I’ve sent you a letter last week and I’m writing again today. I have sent you £5 with Meish Rubin, and as soon as possible I will send more.


According to my reckoning, you owe me a letter – my letters are different because I have to enclose money, and sometimes when I can’t send money, I find it hard to send an empty letter, and so I don’t send at all. This is a bitter plan, but I can’t help it. May God have mercy and grant us prosperity so that such things should not happen, and that everything should be full of blessings and good luck. And I hope that God will soon improve our mazel in the new year, because I have suffered a lot, and He is a merciful Father and nothing lasts forever.


And now I have established my business differently. I hope that with God’s help we will soon forget our troubles and tribulations, and that I will be able to reward my parents for everything they have done. Amen.


And about that you are missing out on writing, I can tell you that I still insist that you must not doubt about me. I know what I am doing and if I spend money here and forget to send it home, believe me that I know very well our accounts and how you are getting on with your creditors. But when there are no profits, nothing can be done and the question is, how can one be in Africa and not make a living? I can tell you that I also thought so, but the truth is that in Africa one can’t help oneself – one must wait until one gets it. Of course, one must come to the table and behave oneself towards the machatonim  if one wishes to receive a good portion, because one can’t demand one’s share in the African meal. The difference between the meal and Africa and the one in Russia is that one must arrive personally and wait until you get it, and if it takes time, one must be patient because maybe there are others who were waiting before you; because there must be order in things, and everybody gets his share.


So you must know, my dear Taube, because you are a clever and modest woman and also no fool. Between ourselves, when you are not here I can praise you and say everything I like, and when your name is mentioned I say, ‘don’t be cross’ and ‘write a letter every week’ and, you will see, that with God’s help the money will be there.


I close my writing. I am well TG, may God grant that my letter should find you in good health. I wish you and the children, relatives and friends a happy new year, together with klal Yisroel and we shall have a happy life together in the near future, Your faithful husband, Tuvye Kretmar


I cordially greet my parents, my father Yehuda Leib Kretzmar, and my chaste and modest mother, Beile, and my brothers and sisters, Yaacov, Hinda, and Chana, may you all live well. My dear parents, I wish you all a happy new year. I shall be able to reward you for everything you have done for me. Keep well and happy, as is the wish of your son and brother, who wishes you all of the best, Tuvye Kretzmar


I cordially greet my dear mother-in-law, the chaste and modest Neche, and my brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, and his wife, my sister Sarah, my brother-in-law Aaron, and my sister-in-law, Chana Reza, may you all live well and have a happy new year, and to have pleasure from your daughter, and son-in-law and grandchildren, and relatives and friends, as is the wish of your son-in-law, brother, and brother-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar