Cape Town, 14 February

My dear father, Yehuda Leib, and to my dear mother, Mrs Beile, be well, zol leben, and to my dearest brother, a bocher (bachelor), Yaacov, and to my dearest sisters, Hinda and Chana, be all well. Dearest parents, I would like to know of your business interests this winter – until this date, you have not yet written to me about business as the whole winter is nearly gone. So I ask dear parents to write to me exactly how much you have earned, and what became of the Bogdanovich’s ‘farm’ – have you got milk there? And if you intend to keep it? Please write me out all the details. From me, your dear son, who is awaiting your reply, Tuvye Kretzmar


To my dear mother-in-law, MrsNeche, the modest and chaste lady, and my dear brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, and his wife, my sister Sarah, and dear children, may you all live happily, and to my dear sister-in-law, Chana Reza, shall all live in comfort. Dearest (relatives) ‘freind’, I can inform you that TG I am well, PG that I may hear the same from you. I ask you my dear brother-in-law, how is it going with your business and the slaughtering and the skins, all in detail. I greet you cordially my brother-in-law – Aaron Leib and family – and also my kind regards to the old man Aaron Katz and his son Zvi Rubin and his wife and children and also to my best friend Zvi Rubin of Kesselshik – I wish all of you much good fortune, from my dear friend – our sister-in-law and brother-in-law and brother, Tuvye Kretzmar


To my dearly beloved wife, Taube, Be well in much joy and happiness. And to my dear children, all to live in much joy and happiness.


Dearest wife, at the outset of my writing I want to tell you that TG I am well and in good spirits, PG that I may hear the same from you. I have had no letter from you this week, because the mailboat has not arrived yet – therefore, I have very little material to write about. So please excuse this time and don’t take my writing as an example. Write as much as possible, because I appreciate every word of yours. I have nothing special to write about business. Usually the Lord has already worked out how much it would be every day. In general, these past few weeks were poor. But I hope the Lord will provide more in the future, because it is near Yomtov and it is time to pay for school fees, and God makes special provision for that. He won’t be in debt to us. Shortly I hope to send you money, as much as possible.


Please write me if Yaacov Leib Yoseph has paid you the two roubles and fifty kopeks that he borrowed from me. I don’t deserve that he should not return it to me, but if he has not yet sent it, please write me his address, then I will write to him from here and then write me if he writes letters and what he writes to you, everything in detail. I have no news to write. Be well and stay in much happiness, and enjoy yourself at the wedding, and that our son David should also participate in it. As is the wish of your devoted husband and father, who is waiting for a reply, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet cordially my dear uncle, Joseph Kretzmar, and his son, a bachelor, Menachem Mendel Kretzmar. Dear Mendel, I am surprised that in all this time you have not written to me. Are you so busy? And you cannot find time for two minutes to write a few words to me? I would be very glad to hear from you, but write to me in detail how you are getting on. From me, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar