Collection: Ziegenhagen Family Letters

Author: Franziska Ziegenhagen (Mansolf)

Recipient: Maria Ziegenhagen (Peffer)

Description: Letter from Franziska Mansolf to her sister, Maria Ziegenhagen Peffer, July 31, 1919.

Franziska Mansolf to Maria Peffer, July 31, 1919

English Text

Stegers, 7/31/19 Much loved Sister and Relatives I received your dear letter in good health and am always glad just to see your handwriting. As for our brother we mustn’t be surprised he died as he lived. He had already stopped attending church 30 years ago, when my son Franz stayed with him. He had told him on Sundays, boys don’t go to church something could be stolen and then they blame you. And let us pray for him that the Dear God won't put that behavior onto his account. But you better travel there yourself and get an idea of the situation as the world is now very wrong. You are writing about our sister Antonia. That can't be a human being anymore who would have any love and a sense of honour left. [page 2:] When my son Franz visited last fall, the train stopped right next to town so he goes to visit her and even bought 4 pounds of fresh butter, not to appear empty handed and took it there for her and she was indeed delighted. And he wanted to stay the night but she wouldn't even ask him to sit down and also would not even offer him a cup of coffee. So he stayed there an hour and went back to the railway station at 9 o’clock in the evening and continued his journey the next morning. Two boys were staying with her. One was her son and the other was the son of her daughter. They accompanied him to the train station. They work there in the factory and maintain and [illegible] it/her. Then he said if only I went to Aunt Maria, she would have been so delighted and would not have let me go spend the night at a stranger’s place in this wide world, but Aunt Antonia is a fool. [page 3:] Dear Sister, I do have one request for you: send me, if only, a pound of coffee and a pound of cocoa and a few yards of fustian for a jacket and therein the coffee a meter of fustian costs 80 thousand Mark and an apron for every day costs 20 thousand Mark and for a child like our Lisbet 7 thousand Mark. Who would have known I would have bought 1/2 a dozen of them and many would have probably done the same. And I enjoy so much to wear a loose jacket because I have trouble breathing in a tight one. A pound of coffee costs 30 thousand Mark and a pack of cigars 3 thousand Mark and a pound of syrup or Krände costs 4 thousand Mark and an E 5000 Mark. Don´t hold it against me that I bother you with the coffee. I don’t eat very well and in this house are already seven children. So it is indeed bad with the food. [continuation with item #2074] [page 4:] In seven villages here nobody can afford a pound of coffee. And our neighbors received 3 pounds of coffee again yesterday, and many people have coffee sent from America, whoever has a friend there. I haven’t eaten supper in a long time, either, and when I get a cup of coffee I am content, and won’t give away a single bean anymore. At my daughter-in-law’s they drink with pure cigar water it’s not even a bit brown. And I eat together with her, I am getting constantly dizzy. It is a sad time here for the old and the sick people. [page 5:] You probably will be hardly able to understand my letter, my thoughts are already fleeting. We have continuous rainy weather and it is cold like in the fall and the rye stands green in the fields but quite tall, normally it would be in the barn as straw by now. What will become, only the Dear God knows. Please write pretty soon and include some money for postage they all do it that way the Dear God will bless you for all. We are now in the vale of tears. Many hearty greetings from everyone and one heartily from your sister Franziska Mansolf who loves you Please answer soon