Roli writes to his sister in Tel-Aviv from Hachshara Ahrensdorf


hachsharaThe letters depict a dialogue between Roli, in the Hachshara camp in Germany, and his older sister Helga in Palestine.
Helga immigrated to Palestine in 1936, after joining a Hachshara camp in Hamburg. From her actions, Roli learned about the camps and probably that planted in him Zionist ideologyHelga fled Nazi Germany to Tel Aviv and settled there. She did not feel well, and she tried to return to Germany (and she did not find the money to do so).
We do not have the letters she wrote back Roli, but we can learn partially from this letter, that she was complaining about life in Eretz Israel:

Landwerk Ahrensdorf 6th of June, 1938

My dear older sister,

Thank you very much for your congratulation and your letters. First of all, I’ll give you the advice, to put your letters for me into fathers letters, who is writing to me every now and then; I’ll answer in the same way, in order to avoid a waste of postal charges.

It is good that you did not write me that letter at the beginning of my „Hachshara“, I would not know, what positive and ideologic expirience it is,  because, I believe out of a lack of knowledge of all that, that your lifestyle became nott Kibbutznik.

Of course this is not your fault as it is the fault of the Madruch (Guide, Teacher. Mimi S.).

You only received an incomplete education in zionist ideologies, but that is simply not enough in order to internalise and understand it.

We have here a military diciplent and times. I want to give you, yet again, a description of our Landwerk:


We have our own Madrich (Guide, Teacher. Lior O.), 45 Chaverim (Friends, comrades. Lior O.), and 25 Chaverot are working here. The area is about 150 Morgen (1 Morgen is around 4047m2. Mimi S.), 40 Morgen of it are cultivated land. We have first of all the Main Building, a former hunting lodge (he writes “Castle” Mimi S.), placed in a beautiful neat park including a water fountain,

IMG_20150726_124944(2) The fountain as it looks today, on the left.

and having a big lake next door. The building itself has a parterre, a חדר אוכל, חדר חברה, חדר שקט וספריה (in Hebre: dining room, community room, quiet room and a library. Lior O.) with a typewriter, the kitchen, a ping-pong room, where you find also the 5 accordions, that are sometimes all in action at the same time. In the dining room you also find the radio, which is linked to other rooms. In the first floor, are the dormitories for the girls, wash and shower rooms, bedrooms and a storage room. In the 2nd floor is also an office, sickrooms and a huge balcony. On the 3rd floor, Hans is sleeping. From there you can go the Söllen, a big roof garden, from where you have a fantastic view.

Behind the building is the stable for the cows with 6 cows, the horse stable with 2 horses, the dairying, where we produce butter, cheese, curd and buttermilk.
Next to it is a former pigpen, in which is a turkey hen with its 5 chicken. Then there comes the bicycle room, a carpenter, locksmith and painter workshop (where right now, we are building the modell of (Unreadable. Mimi S.). In a different building is the laundry, where, when everything is clean and done (Fridays), one can have a bath. Next to it is the sewing room. Here everyone has a shelf, where, you can find every friday your stuff, folded and clean. Behind that room ist he goat – and Sheep Stable.

Behind that it goes a bit into the forest to the game reserve (deer), where 15 tame deer live, passing the by the bowling alley, which is crowded on sundays, until you reach the chicken house. There are 20 (30) Leghorn-chicken that give 65-70 eggs every day, a huge accomplishment.
Back in the forest is our sports ground. Opposite the house there ist he dormitory and the washroom fort he boys, above that, you find the luggage-rooms. On the right side there is also the garden, around XX Morgen. We have 6 greenhouses, 20 raised planting beds, 35 sowing planting beds, gardening fields, flower beds, and the tomato hill, on which we grow around 4000 plants (each of them gives yearly around X0 fruits. Very behind there is the bee house, I am the beekeeper.

The tomato hill, today.
The tomato hill, 2014.

Our agricultural area is divided into three parts:
A(about 10 Morgen) rye, potato, oat, cabbage, B tree nursery (apple, plum, pear, cherry), cabbage, rhubarb, letters and more, behind that grasslands. Then our biggest part, C with X0 fruitrees, but also leek, spinach, strawberry, beans, peas, lupin, potato, cabbage, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry, currant and so on. A long way leads to a meadow, around 20 Morgen, which we scythe in the late summer for grass/hey. We extra lease it for that purpose.

That’s about it. Our daily routine:
5.30 waking up, gym, getting dressed.
6.00 breakfast
6.15-7.15 school in 3 courses
7.20 work appell, start of work
9.00 breakfast until 9.15
11.40 radio lesson about an agricultural subject
12.00 lunch
13.30 work appell, womens work
15.45-16.00 coffee break
16.30, end of work
18.00 lessons
19.00 dinner
Shabbat: 9.00 waking up
11.00 Tanach (Bible. Lior O) the rest spare time. Sunday Sport is a duty.
In the afternoon lessons, Ivrit and English.
My spare time I temporary spend with studying, writing letters and strolls around in the evening.

רולי כותב מאהרנסדורף רולי כותב מאהרנסדורף

Translation from German: Mimi Sewalski

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