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Franz Habermann’s 1920 Transcribed Letter

Berlin January 18th 1920

Dear Brother and Sister-in-law.

We received the last sign of life from you through your letter dated January 31 1905. We answered this letter but we didn't receive any reply from you.

Now that the horrible world war has ended and with it the postal embargo has been lifted, we would be pleased to hear from you again, how things went for you over there in the long 14 years.

What we are concerned, we can say that up to now things went fairly well for us. Of course we were not spared living through the war, but we escaped the worst. Except for the little food, we were spared from everything else. The first 2 years, in 1915-16 we didn't experience much of the war, then things got scarce and today one needs the whole week’s paycheck just to pay for the food. One also likes to be dressed properly. For this purpose one would need a small fortune. The food we receive is allocated by ration cards.

DM 2.76 for the week 1-4 ½ pound loaf of bread for one person

DM - .50 for the week 2 pounds of potatoes for one person

DM -.56 for the week 20 grams good butter for one person (good butter means butter, not margarine)

DM 2.50 for the week 200 gram of meat for one person (One oz =28 grams)

Coals we get 4500 lbs for the year.

This is our current consumption allocation. Hoping that your conditions are better at least this is what we are reading in the newspaper.

Now we like to ask you if any of your sons fought against us. From our boys, 3 were in the war. Now we like to give a count our family.

1. Hermann is married. Is now 35 years old.

2. Franz is married. Is now 30 years old.

3. Berta is married. Is now 28 years old.

4. Lieschen is not married. Is now 26 years old.

5. Willy is dead. Is now 24 years old

6. Alfred is not married. Is now 22 years old

7. Hans is dead. Is now 20 years old.

8. Grete is not married. Is now 18 years old

9. Artur is not married. Is now 17 years old

10. Frieda is not married. Is now 12 years old

Are you also that many?

Hermann, Franz and Alfred were in the war and came back healthy. If any of your sons are still here, that is if one was here at all, then write to him and give him our address so he can visit us.

Uncle Albert had 5 sons in the war. The first died in the battle of Tannenberg, the next two came back whole, the fourth is wounded and is in a French prisoner of war camp, the fifth received a shoulder blade injury. Furthermore I would like to hear how aunt Kautz is doing and how her two daughters like it there.

If you know their address, do me a favor and send it to me.

Now I like to ask you a favor. Could you describe the conditions over there in detail? Alfred and Artur are employed by the Commerce Bank of East Africa and the German East Africa Bank. Alfred by the first, Artur by the latter. Both companies have branches in East Africa. The boys hope to be able to make a trip over to you but right now it's still impossible; that's why they keep thinking of going to another country because here in Germany are no opportunities. Alfred has completed his training. Artur has still a ½ year left to finish his training. Will you be so kind and send word in regard to opportunities. Both have some knowledge of the English language. Now I will end this letter. I send you heartfelt greetings and remain expecting your answer.

Your brother, brother-in-law and uncle

Franz Habermann and Family

Address: Franz Habermann

Berlin N. 31

Brunnenstr. 22
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