From Russia Government Odessa
"From Russia Government Odessa." Dakota Frei Presse, 8 October 1925, 5.
Neu-Beresina, 7 May 1925
My very dear friends!
Oh, how happy we are that you have thought about us again, which you proved by inquiring after us through the German newspaper. Many, many thanks we still owe you indeed for the shipment of food which you sent here to us at the time of the great famine and which helped us so very much and also arrived here at just the right time. That time was a terrible period for us. We remember with horror that time of extreme adversity, although presently it is not much better. Now since that time, meaning when we got the provisions from you, we already sent off several letters to you, but up to now had not yet received replies to them. You asked for information about a friend Isaak from Bessarabia, but at this time we cannot tell you anything since we ourselves have still not received any detailed reports from there, even though I have already sent several letters there. For your information, Karoline Schopp, born Breitling-my sister-is still with us in Neu-Beresina. It is good to inform you that we are all still healthy. My family is indeed fairly large, consisting of four sons and three daughters. One son and one daughter are already married. But the conditions under which they live are not good. Since I cannot put myself on my feet, I can’t transfer anything to these children to start their own farmsteads. It is especially bad for my married daughter, for they have had the misfortune to get into political troubles, and even put into jail. This has given rise to much expense.
Here I will deliver a brief description of our fates in recent years. First-just after the war-many various factions emerged and sought to strengthen their existences. Their blessed interest in the political turmoil consisted especially of plundering us farmers of all goods and property. Then in 1921, we were plagued with a great crop failure, upon which then followed a terrible famine. Then, in 1922, we had a good harvest, but [were allowed] not a handful of seed. Then 1924 followed again with a crop failure. What will be harvested this year is still uncertain. The crop at present looks good in the field, although it very much needs rain. If we don’t get rain this week, then once more we will be afflicted by famine, and it could easily be worse than that of 1921. It stands to reason if one just thinks about it.
If I understood correctly, it is still your intention to call on us too on your round-trip. That would be very nice of you to work out; we over here are naturally already very pleased in advance about a visit from our friends in America. It is a pity that this joy remains anticipated to date, that the visit until now has not happened. Of course, were it not such a big trip, and across the ocean into Russia, it would scarcely be thought about. Indeed, were you to visit us, then we could speak with each other personally. We could then communicate much back and forth, and this more easily and better than by writing.
I risk to add yet that I hope to get a small amount of assistance from you, on the condition that it must not inconvenience you. I readily admit that I am ashamed to mail this begging letter to you. Indeed, what does anything matter to a man if misery is chasing at his heels. Our people have not been negligent, but have become completely ruined by tricks of fate and political turmoil, which however is happily over. So do not construe me to be rude as I direct this request for help to you. Should you be willing and in the position to let me have some assistance, you could send it to my father. He will then arrange these matters justly and orderly. Thanks to you in advance, your friend, Jakob Breitling
Written by the daughter Olga. Sent in for publication in the Nordlicht by Mr. August Isaak, Krem, N.D.