Collection: Weinhardt Family Letters

Author: John V. Weinhardt

Description: Letter from John V. Weinhardt to his cousin, William W. Weinhardt, August 7, 1923.

John V. Weinhardt to William W. Weinhardt, August 7, 1923

English Text

Schwabach, August 7, 1923 Germany – Bavaria

Dear Mr. Relative,

As you may already have learned from Fräulein Ungersma, we visited her while we were in Munich for the German Gymnastics Festival. Fräulein Ungersma was very friendly to us, and promised to visit us sometime soon which would naturally please us. Munich is not very far from Schwabach. It takes 3 hours with the express train. Fräulein Ungersma told us about you and your family. We were most happy that she was able to show us a picture of you, dear Mr. Relative. So that you can have some idea about us, I have enclosed a picture of our entire family taken three years ago, and a small picture of myself.

We visited Fräulein Ungersma on Friday July 13, 1923, and she informed us that you would be having an operation on your throat sometime in the next few days. Fräulein Ungsersma promised that she would let us know how the operation went, but we have not yet heard anything from her. We will write her soon to learn how the operation went for you.

Our visit to Munich lasted 8 days, and we enjoyed it very much. As we had anticipated, there were masses of people in Munich, and the profit-seeking businesses took this opportunity to raise prices quite a bit. Had we not stayed and eaten with friends, we would not have been able to afford the trip. There were many foreigners at the Gymnastics Festival. Among the many flags, we saw the star-studded flag of the United States of North America. On Sunday July 15, 1923, there were two parades that traveled through the festively decorated streets of Munich. The first parade ran from 10:15AM until 3:45PM and the other from 10:45AM until 3:30PM. Our brothers from the Rhineland, the Paletinate, the Ruhr district, southern Bavaria, Wurremburg, Baden, German Bohemia, Austria, Tirol, and a few districts from north and middle Germany marched in the first parade; and the second parade was made up of the foreigners: German-Americans, Brazilians, Swiss, Dutch, etc. We saw the first parade and had to stand in our spots from 9AM until 4PM. That was a great time!

Except for a few clashes between Germans and foreigners, which were unavoidable in such a mass of people, the Gymnastics Festival ran smoothly; and we took leave of our state’s capital city fully satisfied.

Every evening during our stay in Munich, at our quarters and at the Munich Hofbrauhaus, we drank the world-renowned good Munich beer.

So now that my vacation is over, I have a lot of work to do at my job. My boss is on vacation at the moment, and I am alone in the office. I am kept especially busy by the German Housing Authority, because we currently have 300 people in Schwabach seeking housing, of which 100 visit me each day.

As regards to my income, I am not in a particularly good situation. Every month I get 600,000 marks which would barely be enough to buy material for a summer suit. If only one would get the money at the beginning of the month, then one could at least purchase a fair amount, but the value of one’s earnings is not worth much by the end of the month. Today, one dollar is equal to 2,000,000 marks; and by my reckoning, I will earn 2 million marks for August. So, I am a German millionaire. But one does not get much for two million. One pair of pants is 1 1⁄2 million, a suit is 8-12 million, as is a pair of shoes. I pound of meat is 150,000 marks. One could write a book about the economic situation in Germany today. Dear Mr. Cousin, you certainly have no idea of this. When one thinks about what things cost before the war, it is hard to believe that a pair of shoes could be bought for 8-10 marks. But the good news is that workers are currently fighting for wages that are equivalent to pre-war levels, for instance, 100 marks in gold. While employees want to be paid in gold, businesses have already started asking for payment in gold. If you go into a store, you will see a sign: One child’s suit for 10 marks in gold. For this approach, the current state of the dollar will affect the price. The prices that result are practically unaffordable for working people.

Also, the state of the job market is getting worse in Germany. At the moment, most goldsmith businesses here are idle, and many employees are on the dole. So, you can imagine what the prospects in Germany are today.

Have you received our letter of June 27, 1923? Please write us soon and let us know about the circumstances in America. I am particularly interested about the prospects for a businessman, since I would very much like to get to the “New World” and try my luck there. The same goes for my brother Philipp. I am now almost 16 years old and will start an apprenticeship next May with the Schwabach city government. My brother will continue his studies.

If you have any questions about anything, we would be happy to provide any information you would like. Please write soon.

Your relatives in Germany,

Hans Weinhardt jr.
City Government Intern Schwabach, Ludwigstrasse 13 (District Court Building)