Cape Town, May, 1900

To my dear wife, Taube Kretzmar, Zollen leben, live in good fortune and joy. And to my dear children, zollen leben,enjoy and happiness.


Dearest wife, I have safely received your letter number four and read with the greatest joy and pleasure. I thank the Lord for His mercy that He grants you good health. Please God, there may always be good health and spirits in prosperity in business.

I can tell you that I received letters last week from my brothers Mendel and Samuel. They write that they are TG well and happy and that they have also received letters from you. I am surprised that you have not written to them to tell them that I am with Moishe Tsabentsek and Lipman Rubin because he writes a gerus to Moishe in my letter and he wonders if it will arrive as who knows where he may be. So I wrote him that we are together and that we are partners, PG may He grant prosperity, hatzlacha, and we were together with Meish Rubin for Pesach and we had a good time. May God grant us a happy Yomtovim, and as is quoted in Possek, ‘May you enjoy your festivals … but in the meantime it must be good as it is’.


Further, about after Pesach, I will try to gather some funds in order to be able to go to a place somewhere in a forest, with my own cows and shops and one horse and struggle rather than to be overburdened carrying goods – so far I have avoided all that and Moishe and I have moved into another house. It is better and more comfortable than the previous one, and in the meantime though I am not making any fortunes nevertheless I have saved a good bit in this week. I send you with this letter £2 sterling. Please write me as soon as you will receive it and how much you get for it in Russian money. Also, how do you stand with capital?  Please write everything in detail. I intend sending more on the account of the loan and so in the meantime we must have patience. As we have started a new business, we must await results.


I close my writing as it is already late at night. It is already eleven o’clock and all day I walk about a lot because, as you know, I have sold the horse and to buy one again will cost much more, maybe over £20, and so we do the business on foot. So one is quite ready to go to sleep as here it is not done to sleep over on a visit as there are no sofas so it also has to be right as it is and we can endure it.


But if you get a blow from a friend, who is also a relation, such a thing one cannot endure with equanimity as it happened on the twenty-fourth of April according to the Russian calendar. As you know the suitcase, which is the basket which is sewn around, which I brought from home and which Moishe worked on and you sewed it until it was repaired properly, and all the way it was my whole fortune and I carried it through many countries, until I bought it to Cape Town, and here it was also very useful to me… but then L Rubin happened to see it and because of an evil eye it became disintegrated. It lost its shine and began to look like a rag. It was very precious to me. I wanted to show it to an expert and have it repaired, but they were very envious of me. How could I have such an antique as there was nothing like it in the whole of Africa? Either he should have it or nobody else should have it. I thought I would keep it as an antique, but alas no, came a day when I was not at home, Lipman Rubin and his brother-in-law came to Moishe and they took my suitcase and destroyed it, and so it looked like the dead Philistines who were killed by Samson, it was pitiful to see it. I carried it about for 4,000 miles and here it had to have this end. The handle was broken and one side torn open, and here in Africa I cannot take them to court, and you can include it in Unetaneh Tokef [i] and there are few machzeinem (?) and so it must go to Russia (to query the claim). Please write me your opinion about it, don’t have any regrets or worry about it. Be well and live in much good luck, as is the wish of your loving husband, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet cordially my father and mother, sister and brother, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, and sister-in-law, and everybody who asks about me, I wish you all good luck and blessings in all ways, as from me, Tuvye Kretzmar


Notes:

[i] The High Holy day prayer for expiation of sins.

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar