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Letters from Antonina

Limanskoje, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine
1 November 1995

Dear Michael!

Greetings from Selz. I received the package on October 20; they brought it to me as far as my room. I did not have to pay anything. It was a great joy for me, believe me. And now I will describe what was inside. There were men's shirts with long and short sleeves, women's clothes, a crocheted scarf, two men's jackets and food--noodle soup, macaroni, sausage, a can of lard, raisins and sweets, tea and coffee and dried milk. As far as I know the package went through Poland and the declaration was written in Polish. I thank you a thousand times, that you do good to me, it is a big help for us. In the meantime Swetlana from Odessa was in Selz with two Americans, but just for a short time and I do not know their names.

Karl Lacher gave me a letter with money. They could not speak German, but of course I don't know any English. One of them was a priest, that wasn't Thomas, was it? He would have said it, because to be here in Selz seeing me and not telling who he is, something like that cannot be. Karl and his wife are very good people. I thank them from my heart, God shall watch over them and they should live for a long time. I want to meet with all of you my dear ones.

You wrote that you are coming to Germany, so please call up Aunt Rosa and tell her that Emilie has died, as I have not written anyone, because they are all silent--like Franz or Emmi. No one wants to hear anything from us, or are they afraid that I want something from them? I require nothing from anyone, God will not desert me. Complete strangers help us.

Karl wrote me that I should write saying what I need. It is really a shame but what can I do or say that I am poor? It is true but sad. My Andreas needs trousers, they are named Dschinze, size 46, and Krasovki 41-40 sport shoes, I think they are called. Nastja needs a pretty little dress; she will be 3 years old on the 9th of November, and would be very happy. She has already eaten all of the sweets.

Food is the main thing. I have written a letter to you and it is supposed to be sent by way of Germany, but I am not certain whether that is true. Because Odessa does not accept written addresses, they must be printed and in Latin letters. One does not find anything like that in Selz. You sent me envelopes and if they did not have your address on them it would be all right.

I cannot write to Karl because it is very expensive. He should not feel offended by me. I wrote Thomas but did not receive a reply. Why not? Have I offended him by not calling him Father Thomas? We are not used to that and did not learn to do that. I ask for forgiveness, we are, of course, friends even in our misery. Or does he have so little time to answer me? I have asked him to do everything necessary at the church. There are no German churches here, otherwise I would have done it myself. I hope that Thomas will be present in June, 1996.

I am very glad that Karl will be there, it will be a very nice meeting. I will meet with the people that are still here that they know that you are coming. With you I will not only go as far as Odessa, but to America. My children also want to meet with you. I am prepared for everything, believe me. One cannot write everything in a letter, it will be better when we meet in December and discuss everything.

The weather is already cool. We already had frost at 30 degrees. Winter will be here soon and there is very little fuel, one has to save. I have not yet heated my room, want to wait a little longer.

I hope that you will still get my letter before you leave. Please, Michael, call up Karl and Thomas and tell them that I send heartfelt greetings from Selz and wish them everything good and beautiful. The main thing is health to you all.

On the package only Welk was written, but at the post office my Russian family is Ivanova. Please write that, otherwise they will not give me the package. I showed the envelopes you sent and so the men believed that it was me.

Your,

Antonina Iwanowa from Selz

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