February 14, 1923 Letter To George Hamm From His Sister Anna

The last letter, previous to this one, from Germany was in 1900, so there is a large gap in time between correspondence. It is unknown if letters were sent but never kept. From the tone of this letter it appears that there probably was a large chunk of time where no one was keeping in touch, this gap included the events of World War I. His sister and brother-in-law give a good sense of what the German’s were going through after the war.

None of George’s siblings or their children left Germany, even with all the hard times they were having. George’s sister gives a good accounting of the family, and shares the tragic list of dead due to the war and time.

Schwabsburg [Germany], February 14, 1923

Dear brother and family,
Your dear letter that you wrote on December 25 arrived on January 13, 1923. We were very pleased to receive the nice gift. Many thanks. Your letter came quickly. We would have written sooner, but I am still sick. then we wanted to wait until we had the money, which we still don’t have today. Dear brother, I could tell you so much if we could just be together. It’s impossible to write everything. Dear brother, you wanted to know where our brothers and sisters are. Brother Andreas is 1918 goes [?]1 He has 2 sons and 2 daughters. One son was killed in the war. Brother Johannes has been dead a long time. Sister Kathchen died in 1902. She lived in Bodenheim. She had 6 children, 3 sons and 3 daughters, and three of them are still living. Sister Gretchen died in 1911. She had 4 sons. They were all in the war, and the eldest son was killed. She lived in Sachsenhausen. Brother Heinrich died in 1885. Sister Lieschen died in October 1920. She had 12 children. They are not all living. Most are married. Brother Jakob lives in Bitteborn with his second wife. His children from his first marriage are married, and he has 2 sons with his second wife. Fritz lives in Nierstein and has 4 children, 2 sons and 2 daughters. Brother Karl lives here and has no children. You heard from sister Lischen that I was sick. Well, I am still not well even today. Brother Karl and I are still alone here. Dear brother, you also wanted to know who of your good friends are still around. Still left of those in your generation are Adam Josten and Adam Zimmermann, called Bettevatter, and Mrs. Heinrich Horn nee Eimermann. I don’t know of any more other than these. Your good friends Johannes and Heinrich Muller have been gone a long time. Peter Klaus has also been dead for a long time. Dear brother, we sympathize with you that your wife has died, but be consoled. She was not supposed to go on. Naturally it’s hard when one is taken from the other.

Parting hurts. Then it is surely in God’s plan that we have to part from those who are dearest to us. My husband and I have also been heavily afflicted with illness. Then one is doubly poor when one has no one. Dear brother, just the day before your letter came, we had spoken of you and commented that our brother doesn’t write any more. We often talk and yearn like that. Dear brother, during the war you wrote to us, and I also answered you, but unfortunately the letter came back. I still have it, and if postage weren’t so expensive I would send it along with this. Dear brother, with the money that you sent us, we want to buy a little pig and a pair of shoes for my husband. He has to walk all day long. There is no use thinking about clothes or food, because everything is so terribly expensive. I would gladly go without meat and sausage if he had some fat. A pound of American lard costs 10,000 marks, butter 20,000, one egg 400 marks, a pound of wheat flour 2,000. Where will it all end? One is supposed to enjoy life, but those who have already gone to their rest, one has to envy them. Dear brother, you asked whether I needed dresses. I could use them, yes, but what we need most is underwear, something warm. There are many things I could use, but I’m not that demanding. If you want to send us something, we’ll be grateful, but only if you are able and are in a position to do it. Dear brother, you didn’t say anything about your children. How many do you have? Does one of them live with you? There is a lot more I could write you. Your godfather, Gerd Knobloch, is still living. He has 6 children, 2 daughters and 4 sons. Two were killed in the war. He is doing very well. I will close now, with fond regards from far away to your children and especially you, dear brother.
Your dear sister and aunt, Anna Marie Eigelsheimer

Dear brother-in-law,

I want to add my thanks for the lovely gift, which was very welcome and much needed, because my wife has been ill continually for the last two years, and especially now, as we go through these hard, expensive times, anyone who doesn’t have a good income and can’t set aside any of his farm produce must have serious doubts about how he can go on living. We have no other income other than my monthly salary, and this has been very low from the start. I have been a police officer since 1899, and I was still getting the same starting salary of 600 marks until 1919. My salary has now been increased a little, but food and all the necessities of life have gone sky-high, so that you can hardly buy anything any more if you don’t have the means to spend so much every day. Groceries get higher day by day, and our German mark is hardly worth a penny. Dear brother-in-law, for the 10 dollars that you sent is, I want to buy myself a little pig weighing 60 to 70 pounds, for a pound live weight costs 3000 to 3500 marks according to our mark. We still face hard times here. All the railway stations here are occupied by the French and they are also riding the trains, and hundreds of railway employees and laborers are out of work. What the future will bring, well just have to wait and see. Its almost impossible to get coal or wood any more. A hundred metric pounds of coal costs 5,000 to 7,000 marks. All railroads and ships are barricaded and have stopped running until further notice.

Again, thank you so much, and many German greetings from your brother-in-law and uncle and aunt and sister,
Jakob Eigelsheimer & Anna Marie Eigelsheimer

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