There are the usual comings and goings of the family, whether it be in Schubin or in Berlin.
As always there is the discussion of money and the help that Anna and her family provide to their parents. And Alexander, as always, talks about the high cost of goods in Schubin. as well we find out that Alexander is working as a furrier.
The most interesting portion of the letter, however is the discussion of Jakob's whereabouts. He is suspected by his parents to be in Alaska where he resided after (it was written) that his wife died. Alexander's sister Sara, who was residing in Oakland, California reported that to them.
Jakob traveled to San Francisco shortly after his arrival in America in 1904. He was there with his Uncle Samuel on that fateful day in April, 1906 when San Francisco exploded in fire as a result of the Great Earthquake, which had Samuel succumbing a month later.
We know from the 1910 census records as well as San Francisco city directories that he was in the city in the 1910's. He married Pearl Rawson in 1913 and he worked as a tailor in San Francisco.
But things got weird starting in 1915. Pearl was arrested with another man in Spokane, Washington. In 1918, Jakob enlisted in the US Army and had an FBI file opened because he had brothers in the German Army and he visited the German consulate to make sure that he was "OK" with Germany - so to speak. A file was opened and in the file was a document that stated that his wife had left him in August, 1918.
Furthermore, Pearl married a couple of other men as evidenced by marriage and census records and died in Los Angeles at the ripe old age of 90.
So the question is - did Pearl and Jakob divorce in 1915 or thereabouts? Did Jakob marry again after Pearl, or is Pearl the wife who left him as mentioned in the FBI file in 1918? And lastly did Jakob lie to his Aunt and to his parents and family about her "death" because of embarrassment? Or is the death of the wife a subsequent wife after Pearl? Perhaps we will never know.
Below is the original letter, followed by the English translation:
Thanks to our terrific translator Matthias Steinke, below is the English translation of the letter:
My dear sister,
My first letter you will probably have received in the meantime. We are all healthy and hope from you, your husband and child the same. The main reason for my letter today is to send you my heartiest wishes to your birthday. The dear God may give you good luck and blessings and preserve you with husband and child in the best health. The 23rd this month we got again a letter from you. We are always pleased if we get messages. We were such a long time like cut off from the world.
Congratulate to the house purchase, may God further give luck and blessing.
Aunt wrote that Jakob is now in Alaska, he went there after the death of his wife. Give me the addresses of S.F. German newspapers. I will try whether I can get special calls concerning Jakob.
Due to the case, that all still want to write again all good and hearty greetings and kisses for
all by your Selma
Dearly beloved daughter!
Receive also from me to your birthday the heartiest congratulation. God let you and your beloved in good health and give you the best luck on earth.
We enjoy the pictures you, Anna sent us. Looks like the boys of Karl. God let them have joy as they grow up.
Frieda is in Labischin. The father, Selma and Frieda drove there on Sunday, for pleasure Hanukkah-fest, so they stayed there. There it isn't so bad.
Julius is healthy, also Dorka and child; he is thanks God fine. The boys from Berlin should arrive today
but it's not so easy. The train traffic from and to Germany shall be stopped.
Why isn't Martha letting us hear from her? Hope they are all healthy, please report. These letters are also for Sternbachs.
Thousand hearty greetings and kisses to all and also to Martha and family.
Dear good daughter Anna!
Congratulate to the birthday. May all the wishes which we have for you and also yours be fulfilled. Greet you, Harry and the little one as also Martha, Benny and the boys. Your little (daughter), our youngest grandchild, looks in the pictures like a picture-perfect ... child. May she be preserved for us.
Received your registered letter, and will as far as it is peace leave Schubin. At the moment its not possible because due to lack of apartments and huge cold. If we move, we don't give up our furniture indoors. We want to be independent from the children here and also don't want to take advantage from you. You have to support your own families.
We expect Theo and Philipp daily. It will be very difficult if they want to go back to Germany again. I assume, that Theo wants to wait for your sendings first. Have you sent him the money via a German bank? Which one, with exception of the "Dresdener Bank", doesn't matter. The cheques will be sent by the bank to the receiver, and the money occasionally picked up. I don't want with it say, that you shall send money. We have enough for living by your sending. If we need something, I will write.
You shall get a picture of Theo, Julius and Moritz. How it is Moritz going, you will see in attached letter.
From Aunt received a long, long letter. Complains about all, all and (writes about) travel-experiences. She is old and doesn't want to realize it. If one thinks about it, she has a good heart; but nervous like all Braunharts.
She doesn't know something about Jakob and also from the bank. I am thinking a lot of Jakob.
Also from Cecelia Markheim got letter, complains that you and Martha behave so strange. You will have your reasons. I will answer her letter.
Mum behaves good. You will get our pictures as soon as Bromberg is open.
Business is going better sometimes, mainly with furrier-works. Due to my eyes its hard for me to work. But what is to do? By the work the time is going by a little bit faster. We suffer no distress, although everything is expensive. But you can get everything. But whether it will be so? I notice again, that our letter is also for Martha.
Now dear daughter fare well and be again hearty greeted by your dearly loving father.