Alexander, his wife Helene, and their youngest daughters Selma and Frieda remained in Schubin. He states in the letter that there were only 12 Jewish families left in Schubin at that time. Most had moved west to Berlin or other German cities and towns. The influence of the Polish government had grown since the end of World War I and the Posen province became increasingly under Polish influence. Life became more and more harsh and the hyperinflation that was starting in Germany and which escalated significantly in 1921 through 1923 was certainly affecting those who were now in Poland.
He complains of the inability of his children to keep in touch with their mother and father, and as he usually did in his letters, expresses frustration regarding his youngest son Theodor. Theodor served for Germany in World War I in the Ukraine, and it appears from many other letters that the war affected him the worst of any of his brothers. He was sickly most of his life. It is quite possible that he suffered from what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Considering that he also had to escape from the Nazis in the late 1930s, one suspects that Theo's mental state was in a word - at least "shaky" his entire adult life.
There is one saying that is interesting - "Here everything is tranquil, yet the hate is big."
Below is a scan of the original letter, followed by the English translation.
With many thanks to our German to English translator - Matthias Steinke, below is the English version:
Dear good daughter Anna!
First of all be you, Harry and "little" Mikol, as well as Martha, Benny, Leo and Harold deeply and hearty greeted.
You both daughters are from all of our adult children the only, who make us at our old days many pleasure, although we quite nothing did for you and Jakob, but also with the best will we couldn't do more.
We expect a lot from Theo. The other have to to fight hard for their lives and they had not much luck.
Both girls are pretty as a picture and stagnate here. Despite all efforts its not possible to get an accommodation in
Germany - maybe soon because Selma wrote to Cylli and Hedwig and asked for an immigration-certificate. Without such certificate, which is very hard to get its not possible to emigrate.
Also are the Germans from here, namely the Jews not really welcomed over there.
With the health we are like all old people. I am still working over my power, because I have to. I can't get from you, who have also an own family and as I know have to work hard, much support.
We still have money (Polish currency). The checks to Berlin all arrived (Frieda, Selma, Mum). Also the one from Jakob over 2600 Mark. Send Jakob our best thanks. But strange is it not getting a message from himself. Send Jakob this letter and ask him to give a living sign for our worrying. We would have already written to him, but Theo wrote us, we shouldn't send letters to the US known address. Jakob has, like all of our children a good heart, but he suffered a lot.
God wish that he will be fine from now on. Write him he should give us enlightenment concerning the money of the ruined bank. Knauth, Nachod & Kuhne informed me the 15th. of June this year that they will inform me concerning the case, but didn't get any information up to today. The certificate for over 5600 Dollars I have in my hands.
From my only sister and her family no message, although we wrote back immediately. Please be so kind and initiate, that she writes to me.
Here is everything tranquil, although the hate is big. One has to be very tranquil and consider every word. The authorities are fair, and we were in many cases better than at the Germans. But there are also exceptions, namely the persons who were earlier poor.
The business is totally located in Polish neighbourship. There aren't any German officials left. All away and plenty "normal" individuals moved. There are only 12 jewish families left and also they want go away. At the Lutheran, school is only 1 teacher. The Jewish school is disbanded since years.
The life, dear Anna is very very expensive and we think due to Congress in Poland:
1 bread - 9 Mark (becomes even more expensive)
1 pound butter - 36 Mark (every 14 days one pound)
1 pound meat - 20 Mark (becomes even more expensive)
1 pound flour - 4 Mark
1 pound sugar - 8 Mark
1/4 tea - 20 Mark
1 Klafter wood 500 Mark
1000 (pieces) peat 200 Mark
1 pair of shoes 2000 Mark
1 suit or dress 4000 Mark
soles 150 Mark
potatoes 45 Mark the hundredweight
1 pound soap 60 Mark
and so on
A day labourer earns 15 Mark and more per hour. Craftsmen even more. Taxes are very high, so also the light. Electricity for one lamp monthly 50-60 Mark. Petroleum the litre 8 Mark. We cannot afford coffee anymore. (as substitute) one roasts barley and rye. Also milk is ... the litre 240 Mark. Funny, isn't it?
Nevertheless we don't have to suffer and have by your help "plenty money" One cannot drink oneself bravely because a small bad glass of beer costs 2 Mark and a couple of drops bad rotgut 4 Mark. Also smoking is expensive. The cheapest cigar 5 Mark, and one cigaret 50-80 pence. I have "plenty" self planted tobacco and "smoke the pipe".
Oh you wonderful good old times, where have you gone?
Frieda and Selma are doing all of Mums work, because she has done enough. We live since year and day peaceful and comfort each other. Not one day goes by without thinking of all of our children. Whether they will see us again one day? I want to close for now, because Frieda made a herring salad for supper and the tea is getting cold. 2 herrings cost 9 Mark, that means without rusk. This isn't available and cost 10 Mark the pound. It is to cry. But we endure it. The Polish currency raised 1 Mark and will become even higher.
This would be good. By asking you to give this letter also to Martha for reading and then sending it to Jakob, who shall also give it to Aunt we remain your you deeply loving thankful parents. Why doesn't Martha write?
Following written by Helene:
My dear children Tulman, Sternbach. You can imagine our delight that Jakob is living, why isn't he writing to us, I would love to see his handwriting. Be so kind, dear children and thank the beloved aunt in my name for the money, its already in Berlin, why shall I write first, has she received my letter? Why doesn't she move near you? She is already old, I am pleased that she was at you and that she is healthy.
What are your children doing, hope you all are healthy? We regret, that we haven't received your letter dear Anna with the inclusion of Jakob. Maybe it will arrive yet.
Many hearty greetings and kisses for the beloved children and to you your deeply loving mother Helene