Collection: Rustemeyer Papers

Author: August Stockebrand

Recipient: Bernard Rustemeyer

Description: Letter from August Stockebrand to Bernard Rustemeyer, January 13, 1923.

August Stockebrand to Bernard Rustemeyer, January 13, 1923

English Text

Dear Cousin Bernard and Wife and Children: Your Christmas letter arrived on January 9. Thanks so much for it. You have certainly celebrated a beautiful Christmas there, in that marvelous land, in peace and freedom. But we -- I enclosed a newspaper clipping for you. From it you can judge. As it is here, so it is all over. Sad. The famine here won't let up. But you needn't fear for us as long as we aren't robbed of everything. We still have the necessities of life. Therefore I won't complain in today's letter. Our exchange of letters took only four weeks this time. Hopefully you will write again soon. Not much has changed in your world since your last letter, but here the opposite is true. I'm sending three newspapers. Read them, and then you will see our misery. The French will soon be upon us. What will then become of poor Germany? We live in coal country but have no coal. Anyway, the French won't let us look for any more. Last month, coal already cost 3000 mark per hundredweight, and a raumeter of firewood 25000 mark. You will find the price of cattle and grain in the newspaper. Dear cousin, how lucky you are to be over there! Before the war it was beautiful here too and we lacked for nothing. Now our dear God may still be alive, but years will pass before we see peace and freedom in Europe. Perhaps the French nightwatch is already upon us. It will occupy all the mines and factories. I've already written to you about the nearby big dam. It, too, will be occupied, and then? What is going to happen then? I don't know. We have the necessities of life, and have more money than we need. What we miss is coffee, tea, cocoa, rice, and all faedfruchten [?]. And we have to do without. But if I could buy anything with our paper money I would ask you to procure for me some ""love packages"" of the above mentioned items. However, I can offer you nothing in return, and therefore we have to drink rye-coffee even if it is difficult, especially for me. Dear Bernard, beginning tomorrow letter postage will nearly double. A domestic letter will then cost 100 mark. But then, that's not so bad. We have enough paper money. Gold and silver coin is no longer legal tender. I could reimburse those who would like to come to visit us. I laid away some pieces at the last minute. And now, dear Bernard, if I am still alive in 4 or 5 weeks and if I have received an answer from you, I will write again even though it is much for me in these days of my bad eyesight. Dear cousin, you must excuse my handwriting. Dear Bernard, today I ask you to tell your brothers that they too should write to me. I would have already written to them if I had their addresses, but my hands are tied. And, you will learn about our times when you [read] the newspaper.... I beg you to excuse whatever shortcoming there is in my handwriting. My eyes cannot go on on. Live well, dear cousin, and write back soon if possible. In constant love, Your cousin, August Stockebrand