1938, Hachashara camp Ahrensdorf, without much information about the world outside. Roli writes extensively with his sister Helga in Tel-Aviv. In this letter, he writes to his father Georg and his little sister Marion, who remained in Hamburg.
The following letter opens a window to the world of life in a German Hachshara camp in 1938. It got some boring, technical parts, it shows the tasks, the interests and the learning of the young girls and boys in that camp.
They also loved, they had their fun and the tomato hill – where the couples used to escape to, to have their moments.
Here is Roli, from Hachshara camp Ahrensdorf, 26.5.1938:
Lanndwerk Ahrendorf, 26th of May, 1938
Dear Daddy, and dear sister, healthy again.
I am sitting – it is the afternoon of shabbat – in the Chevrah-Room and have, learning Ivrit and having piles of books spread around me, received your dear letter with the vocabulary notebook, which I put next to the piles. Learing Ivrit became unfortunately already my main activity. But it is not half as bad.
In order your questions first: The 5.- RM have to be send here of course, because first of all the stamps are bought with that money, as I am only entitled to 1,70 per month and second of all, shoe soles, haircutter, soaps and so on, which I already made demands of here.
After all, nobody can expect us to cash a cheque for every tooth paste!
Then my birthday. Well, what should I wish for? I really would like to have a hebrew-german dictionnary, as the „Kedem“, which you get in the bookroom (there is also german-hebrew and also both parts in one book). Hebrew-german is for me the most useful.
Then I could use thick notebooks (in the radio is right now „go in and win, Torero!“ (literally go tot he fight, torero! Mimi S.), I have to listen for a second).
Well, thick notebooks, a refill pencil (from woolworth for 25 Pfennig, mine is dead). And then of course Süko in „vast quantities“, as people use to say here.
Do you know what is also very beautiful? The publisher „Insel“ (Insel-Verlag. Mimi S.) has „the little tree book“ and „the little flower book“ , but these are not of further importance. By the attached card, which I ask you to send to its destinations, you can see how I hope to fulfill another functional (in the sense of professional. Mimi S.) wish. (How do you say here: irganti= I have organized. ).
Ok, better leave it with the Insel books, they are not really important. But now the adresses, which I already mentioned:
1.Agricultural Pesticide Factory F. Schacht KG, Braunschweig 90. (Please ask for catalogue about all there Pesticides . For 20 Pfennig in stamps the leaflet: Rich harvest with pesticide use.)
Of the following company you can explicitly ask for a free transmittal and also without shipping costs, which by the way the others do anyway:
Working Group of the German Nitrogen Industry for agricultural consulting
Berlin NW7, Neustädtische Kirchstr. 9
The following scripts:
Grain- and root crop buildup
Fertilizing-advice for farms
Soil and Fertilization
The greenland and the production battle
ABC of the undersown crops
How to have more feed through undersown crops
Fight the weed
Fight of weed and vermins
Right feeding for field vegetables
Fertilization of fruit trees and berry bushes.
Albrecht Hoch, Berlin-Neukölln, Berliner Str. 32, „Industriehof“
Christian Fly, Meckenheim bei Bonn, Bez. Köln
L.Späth, Berlin Bauernschulenweg
F.C. Heinermann, Grossgärtnerei, Erfurt
The adresses above are enough to make the card arrive. All you need to do is to write: „sending of the new main catalogue“ on the card.
When the packages arrive, you don’t have to stamp them, but only change the adress, so that they reach me here. (in that way, we avoid, that the adress of the Landwerk appears too often). The only expenses will be fort he stamps in the beginning. Anyway, for your time and effort many thanks in advance.
But now back to our conversation. The thing with the daughter in law I also considered as a joke, I was not aware of the fact that I answered such serious sentences. This time, Erna is not as fascinated as her forerunner Sabine (who by the way came to visit the Landwerk, 14 days before I arrived here), but therefore she is mentally quite far, so that we are able to have acceptable conversations. In about 2 months all girls – except Hilde, who is „braunges“ with me out of understable reasons – will go with the „WIZO“ to the countryside, 2 also with the Youth Alijah, and after that, there will be an end to the magic anyway.
Today Erna is in a bad mood. She wanted to go to Berlin, from the money she has on her extra account, but Havi did not allow her. I couldn’t understand the real reason and so on…. I think our Führer (Havi. Mimi S.) is a bit strange anyway. That he walks around the whole day with folded arms , and that he appears silently where you wouldn’t expect him, is something I can not be angry at him so much as I am when I behaves like a Lieutnant and commands my Chaverim around and punishes them for little mistakes with ironic and snappy comments, so that one cannot have the idea of seeing him as a „Führer“ in the sense oft he project, someone who one can talk to and speak out to. Well, he is still very young for such a position and in the end it is better like this than the Kibbuz Rissen (Note Mimi: Rissen???) with its paradisiac coordination of all members, where nothing would ever be done.
If it will work out with our bees this year is depending on Havi. I already read so much about beekeeping, that I personally think the time to get bees, especially because we are beginners, is already too late. I know, that the main work has to be done in springtime. We would have to get the boxes and the bee field ready, before the bees arrive, and according to my estimation we need at least 14 days for that. Besides, the bees get more expensive the later you buy them. Well, no worries, I am not allowed to do anything on my own, and I already nagged enough.
Meanwhile the weather changed and got darker. This morning, I already got up at 6am, in order to learn Ivrit. I also had watering service (meaning, it was his duty, to water the plants Mimi S). We work everyday 2 hours in the garden (Note Mimi: big tent or glass house) with 3 people in order to water all the flowers, Onions, Cabbage, porree and so on. Of course, these works also have to be done on Shabbat. We had coffee at 9:30am. Right now, I hear the bell for dinner, I will continue after. Well, we had sandwiches with cold meat loaf and tea. This lunch we had great Shabbes food: Bouillon with pasta. I had 4 portions. Then meat with potatoes, beans and sauce. Stewed pears for dessert. This afternoon we had coffee, bread with jam, applecabbage, butterbread and Mazzoth.
This morning I had watering service. and after that I went with the bike. Oh, Marcel Wiltrisch sings right now „something about hatching without stopping“ on our record.
The radio is part of our life here as much as bread with jam. I wanted to tell, that I was cycling my bike, in beautiful areas, where I have never been before. The summer is slowing arriving here, oh, now there is the Ouverture for Hansel und Gretel (Fairytale Grimm brothers Mimi S.). I always thought Humperdinch was disqualified?
This afternoon I first was writing in my diary, before I lay down on our tomatohill and was reading about how to achieve better results in the egg production. Reading about that I fell asleep and was woken by Erna, who ordered me to come for Coffee. After that I went for a walk with a Chaver about 45 minutes, he is not so much appreciated, because he is very zynical and very smart, but we had a great conversation about the things in our community and about Erez Israel.
This is how the Shabbat is here. Everyone is celebrating, everyone is dressed in bright colours, the girls wear white headscarfs instead of the colourful ones they wear during the week, and the flowers on the tables are more beautiful than during the week. This is how a jewish holiday became something real here and everything frozen from the city is over.
I hope to send out this letter secretly today, with the help of return postage (stamp money Mimi S.), as I already have extended my limitation strongly.
In that sense, best regards and kisses,
P.S. Now Erna Sack is singing something out of „fida“.
Translation from German: Mimi Sewalski