GER-VOLGA-L ArchivesArchiver > GER-VOLGA > 2009-12 > 1261869581
From: hugh lichtenwald <>
Subject: [GV] Die Welt-Post, May 3, 1923 (Kukkus)
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2009 15:19:41 -0800 (PST)
The following article is translated to the best of my ability.
Page 5, Die Welt-Post, Thursday, May 3, 1923
Firsthand Report from Kukkus, Russia
Kukkus, 1 February
This past week it was that I had the good fortune to shelter Mr. Volz under my roof and draw closer in acquaintance with him. The gracious and ever outgoing Mr. Volz stayed over with us for two days. I visited several of the poorest families with him, which he gladdened with many gifts. He received "a thousand thanks" and God will repay" from everyone. His main purpose was to make an inspection of the great emergency which he saw and hopefully will report about. And what was this valued guest to me? I admit with pleasure that he was truly like an oasis in the desert. He handled his short visit so masterfully that we completely forgot all the bitterness and blackness behind us and spent this brief time pleasurably, cheerfully and often in cordial laughter, Ach, God, we had totally forgotten about the emergency, to which he often remarked, "I am just happy that you still have a sense of humor." But he was like that, you would not believe how he stirred
the old memories in us. Those 2 days were unforgettable. After he had finished all of his business we drove him with the Church Council Chairman's car (a Camel) to the next closest village of Stahl, some 3 Versts away in the very fast time of 3/4 of an hour. This was once again a merry trip. Before parting he promised to visit again in the winter if possible, if not possible because of work, then in the spring by the big water. My Kukkusers understand this because it is our most sought after desire, the desire to go fishing in the Volga. I ask our dear readers to wish us luck! Mr. Volz and also the stout Mr. Repp, remain unforgettable to us. To the first we wish God's rich blessings for his further difficult work for his kinsmen and for the latter, we wish peace, yes peace, because what this man did for us in our plague ridden area by daily putting his life in danger for us, is and remains historical. We again send him our most affectionate and deepest
thanks and a "God will repay!"
The bundles of clothing from the Kukkusers in Lincoln, addressed to Pastor Erbes and sent through Mr. Volz, along with a small bundle of clothing for general distribution have been safely received. Everything has already been distributed, but not by the Church Executive Committee, but according to local Kanton regulations, by the local Poor Committee. Simultaneously, some bundles of clothing from the Lutheran Council were also distributed. But, dear Heaven, what was that for so many! Believe me when I say it was as a drop of water in a great sea. This pen struggles to come before your door again with another request so soon after all of the many things you have done for the hungry, yes starving, in the previous year, but help us dear brothers and sisters, clothe us now. Believe me, as difficult as it is, we cannot avoid coming to you because the clothing emergency is too great. The terrible poverty created in the previous year did not just affect
farm equipment, but also the best and most useful clothing was also taken from chests and sold for a couple of potatoes or a Pfund of coarse grain, only to sustain an impoverished existence. Many are truly totally naked or have minimal clothing, those that have any at all have nothing but rags. Our poor women sew day in and day out but what good does it do to sew old rags onto an old piece of clothing because it just falls apart on our bodies. Recently I met Citizen Philusch Bell in the Soviet. The man wore a pair of trousers which there was no more hint of the original material. I counted more than 30 repair patches, all of different colors and believe me, there were still several holes and many tears. A woman recently recounted in tears: "I had to cut up my last bed sheet to make a death shirt for our dead father and in the following days I went into labor and I had nothing, yes nothing, not even a rag in which to wrap my newborn in," and believe me,
many of the women are in the same situation.
Many school children have to stay home because of the lack of clothing and for them valuable time necessary for their education has been lost because in the past 2 winters there has been no instruction. And thus I can recount a "Jeremiade" (bitter lament) from the eldest gray-beard to the newest babe in arms; it is heart wrenching. I wish that each of you could see the clothes that our men, women and children wear, you would throw up your hands and quickly run away. Since there is also a shortage of soap, the notorious Louse has gained a firm foothold among us. If there is no clothing to change, how could it be otherwise? In Church where I observe them, they sit before me in 20 year old clothes because all their good and modern clothes were used to get food in the last years.
Thus I have brought before your eyes a small but clear picture, believe me I have not exaggerated. I firmly believe that if you could see it for yourself you would say: "No, we were not told the half of it."
I should have written sooner but one has a heart in ones body with a bit of pride remaining and to always be asking and begging does not sit well in ones craw. But the ever growing emergency among my brethren will not allow me to be silent any longer and I think that every well intentioned soul, yes every sympathetic heard, will yet be grateful that I, with my poor pen, have brought before you this small criticism of the alleviation of the general emergency. Because as a leading authority on the spot, I feel it is my duty to do so. As far as we know you can now supply clothes to relatives and friends through the A.R.A. with the so-called 20 Dollar Clothing Drafts. And for general distribution through Mr. Volz, both are safe methods. Thus I appeal to all the sympathetic hearts among my people, my brothers and sisters over there, who by your many donations in the previous years have fed the many who hungered and earned yourselves a place in Heaven, now
do as much as is in your power to also clothe us who are naked. You will surely receive your reward in Heaven.
Now, a bit more about our lives and goings on in Kukkus. The state of health in Kukkus is more satisfactory, except among the children, because Scarlet Fever is now prevalent among them. So far, thank God, one hears nothing about hunger. The pictures that were seen last year one sees no more. No, we do not want and cannot go through such a period again. It is and will remain a horror to us for the rest of our lives. If the emergency is still affecting this one or that one, which will be possible, I will report to you later. You may also rest assured that I will never again loose contact with you.
Now some statistics from the Church books for the year 1922. In the course of the year 1922, in Kukkus, there were born: 29 males and 37 females, among them 2 out of wedlock.
Confirmed: 18 boys and 18 girls.
Married: 26 couples.
Died: Men, 77, women 86, among them, children under 14, 48, unmarried, 24. House fathers and house mothers under 70 years, 78. From 70 to 80, 7. Over 80 years old, 6.
1.Joh. Georg Krum at the age of 83 years, 2 months and 2 days, died of hunger.
2. His wife, Maria Susanna Krum, nee Mueller, at the age of 81 years 3 months and 25 days.
3. Joh. Jakob Schengel, at the age of 81 years, 3 months and 27 days, of old age.
4. Maria Elisabeth Schaub, nee Dittenbier, 86 years, 1 month and 9 days, of old age.
5. Anna Maria Schaefer, nee Maser, 80 years, 10 months and 8 days, of old age.
6. Christian Goatfried (sic) Scheid from Stahl, 83 years and 11 days. The latter only lived here 14 days, with his son-in-law Joh. Eurich, before he died.
Died of Hunger, 78.
The number of souls (in Kukkus) amounts to 2,345.
The oldest man in Kukkus at the start of 1923 is the old father Philipp Becker at the age of 86 years and 3 months. The oldest woman is the dear old grandmother, the second Hanna, Kath. Marg. Weigand, nee Busick, 86 years and 7 months. Both are still healthy and active.
Church elders are: Johannes Becker (Balzers), Konrad Weigand and Gottfried's Heinrich (Hergenroeder).
Chairman of the Soviet is Jos. Georg Debus (Schwarzer), Secretary Heinrich Petersohn.
Died since January of this Year: 10 children and the old grandmother Kath. Marg. Klaus, nee Becker, aged 81 years and 1 month.
Born in January: 1 child, compared to 10 last year and 17 in 1921.
I recently received a letter from my friend Phil. Bersschneider, in Lincoln, in which he informed us of the passing of Dr. Wekesser and in which he enclosed an article from the newspaper about his life and funeral celebration. We mourn with you, dear brothers, because as I see it, we, the very poorest, have lost more than you because we can and will openly state: Our father, the savior of the great Volga German Family, has died. You the rescuer of so many from starvation, rest in peace! The deepest and heartfelt thanks of so many who were saved from starving to death are brought to you at your grave. Yes, rest in peace, your good works follow you.
In closing, I send my heartfelt thanks to all the Kukkusers in Lincoln for the shirt which I received from the bundle from Lincoln.
May you all be well! With a boisterous greeting to all,
Joh. Schlotthauer, Schoolmaster
PS: A widow, Emilie Meier, nee Weber, with 2 children is living here in great poverty; she asks her uncle Heinrich Hoelzer, who should be living in Lincoln, desperately for help. Her father was Jakob Weber, Fr. Holzer.
Hugh Lichtenwald, from the farm in Monetta, SC