Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Transition to Polish Rule

Earlier this month, I wrote about finding a letter in Simon Mitchneck's 1919 passport application from his sister Dora, detailing the hardships the family was enduring in WWI's aftermath.  Simon didn't take his planned 1919 trip, and he applied for another passport in 1922.  In this application, he included a translation of a letter from his sister Toba (who was getting married in 1919) which shows that things were still difficult.  At this time, the area around Torchin had transitioned for years as part of the Russian Empire to part of the newly-created country of Poland.  Here is Toba's letter.

Translation of Letter from Toba Mitchneck Hochman, Page 1 (1922)

This letter is sent 18 days in the month of Shvath

Dear brother Simkha
(note: Simon's Hebrew name was Simkha/Simcha),

I received your letter 6 days ago.  I could not find the time to answer it at once.  I was as happy with your letter as if I saw you after 10 years.  You gave me much pleasure with your letter, and I thank you for not forgetting.  As to our health, thank G-d; my son is a very fine little boy, may he live long.  But times are not good!  The whole winter, from the holidays till today, we don't earn a third of what we need.  There are heavy frosts and great snow storms during the entire winter.  You may well imagine our plight.  But may G-d grant us that we may at least be in good health, and He will not forsake us, let us hope.  We are hoping that times will improve.  May G-d prevent other ills.  No matter how times are, if we can but live in peace, the trouble is but half.

Translation of Letter from Toba Mitchneck Hochman, Page 2 (1922)
 There is much rumor about occurrences after Easter (Lara's note: I'm guessing the original said Passover).  Ah, dear Simkha, you may believe me that our hearts are not in place; nothing seems desirable any longer; our strength is too much exhausted to bear further terror and fright.  Who has now any strength left?  You ask me about the present government and whether things are in a peaceful state.  I can reply by saying there is very little good; there is much to tell.  Until today there has been quiet; whoever can carry on business and what may come later, only G-d knows.  If there should even be disturbance, it should not disturb your thought about coming to us.  I suppose you will hear too in case of any changes.  Who knows?
Translation of Letter from Toba Mitchneck Hochman, Page 3 (1922)
 Perhaps it is only (illegible) G-d may grant that it will be peaceful and that you may be able to come to us; we should so much want to see you.  But G-d may help that things will be quiet and peaceful in Poland and that you should be able to come.  Further, I don't understand a few words in your letter, which you express there, whether you are coming home altogether or are going back.  Tell me also whether you are going to graduate soon and what you are studying for.  Please Simkha, answer my letter and tell me everything in detail and write often.  I beg of David, Samuel and Harry (note: brothers of Simon/Simkha) that they should not be angry because I don't write to them, I shall write to them soon.  I beg them to write me also, but to my address in Lutsk.  When they write to Tortchin I never get the mail.
Translation of Letter from Toba Mitchneck Hochman, Page 4 (1922)

As to affairs at home, things are, thanks G-d, in order.  They have made the house larger.  May G-d grant that it should be quiet and peaceful, that we may no longer know any sorrow.  It is a home to be inhabited in a happy state.  Abraham hopes also to move into his home for Easter.  They are still living at our house, together with our mother.  There is no more news.  Please once more answer.  I with my husband and son send our best regards.  We also send our regards to David, Samuel, Harry and their families.  Be well and happy as your sister Toba Hochman wishes you.  Please give my regards to Bassi, and I would like to have a letter and address from Sarah.
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  1. How amazing that you have this letter. Did Simon feel he had to provide this in order to go visit the family? Did he go?

    1. He did--I found his ship manifest coming home.

  2. Hi Lara, I wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. I love reading your posts. http://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/2017/07/blogger-recognition-award/

    1. Thanks so much, Linda! I'm on the road but will take a look when I'm back with reliable internet. :)