Cape Town, June, 1900

To my dearest wife, Taube Kretzmar, and to my dear children, Be well and live in good luck.


My dearest wife, I have received your letters numbers 13 and 14 at the same time. They must have been in London for a whole week, and as they were late in the post we should try and post the letters in time so that we do not distress each other. I thank you very much for your letter and TG you are in good health. PG to hear the same in future. I can also tell you that I find myself in good health TG.


You tell me that (getting) the ten roubles from David Michael is not very hopeful. I can tell you that I am very sorry but alas what can I do. Firstly, he did me a favour. And secondly, what could I have done even if I had been at home. Usually, there is no money in Russia from an Afrikaner. In truth, the Afrikaners are also in need of money. The Lord should have mercy on them. The war is still going strong, and no one can say if it’s the beginning or the end. The Londoners have penetrated far into the land, up to Pretoria and Johannesburg, and at the moment there is plunder on all sides. You cannot go from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and every week new hundreds of people arrive in Cape Town with every ship because they think the war is over – but they cannot go further than Cape Town. So one has to remain in Cape Town. So one can see how things appear in the minds of these people, just as in Russia. If you want to earn a little, you are prepared to take less, and the next one will take still less. In the meantime, they are spoiling the Jewish business. But we must not lose hope. The Lord can improve everything.


Further, I have to pay my debts and I do want to pay them back and I will probably be sending something to my brother-in-law in Birzh. I owe him a rouble. When you go to Birzh, pay him. You write me that your health this summer is not too good. But this comes from thinking and worrying too much. So I am telling you it is a big folly to do this. One has to have courage and be determined and then one can hope that with God’s help we will get to our goal, as they say ‘when you are a soldier you must smell powder’.


I greet cordially my dear parents, my father Yehuda Leib Kretzmar and my modest mother Beile and my brother Yaacov and my sisters Hinda and Chana, may they all be blessed. I greet you and I find myself TG in good health, may God grant that I hear the same from you. About business I hope with God’s help it will improve, it remains to be seen if God will send us a living. Keep well and happy and enjoy your children, as is the wish of your dear son, Tuvye Kretzmar


I cordially greet my dear mother-in-law, the modest Neche, I also greet my dear brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, his wife, my sister, and the children, my sister and brother-in-law, may they all be blessed as is the wish of your brother-in-law, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar