Letters from Antonina
12 December 1996
Dear Father Thomas:
I received your letter on December 10, and was very happy. I have not heard from anyone since June; not even from Michael. I wondered if I offended anyone, since everyone was silent. You are the only one who remembers me.
After everyone left, I became very ill and was bed-bound for two months. I had high blood pressure. My daughter, Lidia, took care of me. A great deal of medicine had to be purchased to make me well. And now I am back on my feet. You well know how it goes for me. There is little good and not much to hope for.
Things keep getting worse. Who knows what lies ahead. God's will be done. From my pension I also have to support my grandson, Andreas. But I only get 55 rubles, and yet I have to help someone else. I thank you for the money that you sent with Karl Lacher. Karl also helped me. He is a very good man. I also am grateful to him. He brought me a few things, especially warm shoes I so desperately needed.
You write that it is still warm by you. By us it is also still warm, still above freezing. It rains nearly every day. We still have not seen our first snow. That is good for the poor people, since they have no fuel for heating. With your money I purchased wood and coal, enabling me to keep heat all day long. Who knows what the winter will bring.
I am a great-grandmother. On November 9, little Nastja was four years old. She is a good child. She really likes me and Lidia. When she visits me she knows that I have some sweets for her, and that makes her very happy. I thoroughly enjoy her.
I am the only one (German) left in Selz. Quite often former Selzer people from Germany come to visit. They all know I am here. Fr. Eugen Reinhardt (Königstein, Germany), along with two other men, came to visit at the end of August. He left me his address, but I can't find it.
I must have some pills from Germany, since I can't get well without the pills. They are called Merinador 40-Cholesterin-Sythese Hemmer. They are only available in Germany. Finally, I spoke with Franz on the telephone, and asked him to send me this medicine, but I don't believe that will happen. Franz, Emmi, and Edward are aunt Eugenia's children. Emilie and I visited them in 1991 and 1998. They have us a lot of help, but now no visits. Did we perhaps offend them? I asked for forgiveness, but still not a word. Even though it is expensive, Lidia and I decided to call them. We heard each other well. We could talk to you too, but it would be very expensive. The computer is only two houses away from us.
You are interested to know what my father's name was. He was a Russian and was called Nikifor. My husband's name was Wasili. He lived in Novosibirsk. He is a native from there. I was never registered with him, and therefore I kept my father's name, Iwanowa.
Please, when writing to me only use the Russian family name; Welk is not to be on the address. I was sent a package with only the Welk name on it. Odessa did not want to give it to me. I had a package from Michael with the Welk name on it, so they let me have it.
Uncle Joseph's children still live in Omsk, in the Orenburger region: Rosa, Helena and Rafael. Uncle Anton had two sons: Anton and George. Uncle Peter had three daughters and a son, Peter. Maria and the others I don't remember. I don't have contact with them. Aunt Rosa did not have any children. She was the wife of Rochus. Fr. Eugene buried aunt Rosa in December. She was 104 years old. He told me himself on his visit.
Franz, Emmi and Edward live in Einbeck, Offenbach. Though Edward lives in the Black Forest. I don't have his address. Franz knows it; he often talks with him on the telephone.
Now I have written you a long letter. I come to an end. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, health and prosperity. Please extend these wishes to Michael and Carl and their families.
And now goodbye and good wishes.
Write again, Thomas, when you have time.
Letter sent in Germany language by Antonina to a relative and translation by Father Thomas Welk, Wichita, Kansas.