The following is a letter from Alexander Braunhart, living in Schubin, Germany to his daughter Anna, who had immigrated to America in 1909 and at the time of the letter was living in Brooklyn, New York. It was just a short time after this letter that the last Braunhart and their entire family was forced out of their ancestral home in Schubin to live in Berlin. It is obvious from this letter, that conditions in Schubin had diminished to the extent, that living there was no longer an option for the remainder of the Braunhart family. And there was still much fighting in the streets.
The handwritten German version is presented first, followed by the letter translated from German to English. The translation is limited due to the poor handwriting in Alexander's' original letter.
This is the translation to English. Thanks to Matthias Steinke for replacing the initial translation with this far superior version:
23 September, 1919
My dear children and grandchildren!
We received your letter of May 18 just today. We were very delighted, to get a "sign of life" from you finally. Thank
God that you are healthy and prosper. By the way you and Martha must have received news from us via Gä....?.
Marthas parcel arrived, we weren't longer accustomed such things. But I have reported to you about the food situation, so far no improvement. I haven't seen a measly herring for years. Since we are Polish its ok with the bread, but during the wartime it was horrible. Everything is extremely expensive. You can't get meat for weeks. Even not at new year. The butchers (Jewish) have fled and don't come back to here.
So far, 7 jewish families went to Germany and others follow. The temple is almost empty and a Jewish school isn't available for years. Namely the Jews have not to expect good despite all the promises.
For the present, everything is peaceful (quiet), but if Bromberg, Thorn and Graudenz wont surrender peacefully, then it can come to heavy battles again. Especially in Schubin was fought hardest. Cannon fire, machine guns, street fights and so on were some days in January and February very common ("on the agenda"). Plenty of dead bodies and wounded. Pardon was not given. Civilians were arrested daily, even me. But was by ..... released. Now everything is free and the deposits are paid back; but many are still in Germany and will probably never come back.
Karl with family and 2 children are now also in Berlin and so far without a flat. We feel sorry for the two lovely children. They made good money, but Karl is a passionate card-gambler. Moritz is in Leipzig, Theo and Joseph? in Berlin. Julius is well in Labischin and has a nice little daughter. Cilly is in Berlin since several weeks and waits for her husband who is a POW. A hysteric woman is she. She has 4.000 Mark and from us she also gets although we cannot spare much. Selma, who drove today to Bromberg via Hohensalza (provided with passport) saved also a little bit (3.000 - 4.000 Mark). Frieda works in an office for 60 Mark monthly.
We have lost money but do not and did not suffer. Theo did a lot for us, Theo sent us many many food from the Ukraine. After the armistice Theo came to Bromberg and couldn't come here, because all was closed. This is still so. By no means we will stay here and wait until the youngsters got a flat, because in Berlin or elsewhere in Germany is no flat available. Thousands emigrate daily. Now you can't to America any more.
Also the German money has only a few worth in foreign countries. Gold isnt available. A rarity. Polish money is available, but nobody will accept it at the moment. The Dollar costs 14-16 Mark. If we could get the money from the Life Insurance but I am not really sure. It would help us a lot. Is there nothing going on with it?
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