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[Pages 257-271]

Chapter 2

From Diaspora to Diaspora

Translated by Judy Grossman

 

[Page 257]
With the rise in the status of the merchants and the professional intelligence of the Lithuanian people, it became difficult for the Jews in the city or the shtetls to earn their living in trade or academic professions, and young Jews had no option but to look for an escape through aliya to Eretz Yisrael or through immigration, mainly to the United States and South Africa.[1]

 

“Paper Guests”

Excerpts of letters sent from Dusiat[2]

Dovid-Leib Aires:…
I am thinking of making aliya to Palestine. The cost is 900 Lit.

The situation in Lithuania is not too good now. There is no way of earning a living. In the meantime I receive 30 Lit a month, as before.
My dear one, this is the right time to finish with Lithuania.
You can go to Brazil, Argentina and Cuba. The trip to Uruguay costs 530 Lit.
That is so cheap, but I don't have the money.
You can't do anything but be ripped to shreds…

Shimon Pores to his sister Feigitzke:

You ask if I have a mule and if I am earning a living. I have a mule. That is
a minor thing here. You can get a good mule for 30 Lit. The animals are very cheap. Since you left, the mule is even cheaper…
It is hard to make a living.
Berke is taking Tzila, and they will be traveling to Brazil in six weeks' time.
There was an agent from Brazil here, and he promised them 5 dunam [0.5 hectares] of land, two houses, four cows, four oxen, and everything they need.
They are selling everything they have here.

Shtirel Pores to her daughter Feigitzke:

Hene-Reizl will soon go, and also Bathke Seitelis. Dusiat remains a village…
Leibke and Henke, and Itzke and Anie Dine's are in Uruguay
Sheine-Rochel will be traveling shortly to Africa.
And Berl and Keile are also going to Africa. They have sold their house.
Wait for “paper guests”…
Don't be sorry. The situation will alter, and we'll be rich…
The situation here is also not good. Even in Africa not everyone is doing business. Perhaps the shoemakers and the tailors…
I ask to at least receive “paper guests” for Passover.

Altke married on the first day of the month of Tamuz.
At Yashke's and Leiske's they wrote betrothal contracts.
Riva Leah Zalkind went to Uruguay, to her groom Gershon Magelnick.
Hillel [Schwartz] married Elke Slep [1 Tamuz 5689 (10 July 1929)].
Dvorke has already gone to her husband in Uruguay.
Sarale Baron and Kalman went to Brazil.
I heard that Berl-Hirshl is going to Palestine.

Chaya Yudelowitz:
… You wonder why your uncle doesn't write. He is very depressed. The situation in Africa is very difficult. He writes that he hasn't earned anything for months. As if that weren't enough, the little he had he invested in feathers, and it's impossible to sell them…
I am very sad that after all his wanderings he has no income. When you are at home and not earning, it's not good. It's terrible, especially if you've wandered across the sea.

Uncle Pinchas Poris (Pores), from Baltimore, April 1928:
The situation isn't good now in America. Thousands of people are going hungry, and in some cities they dole out soup and bread for free. People stand in line and wait. There has never before been such a situation in America, and now it is very bad. Everything is expensive: food, clothing. And there is no work. The difficult situation will anyways get worse and continue until the presidential elections…

 

Yona Schwartz son of
Moshe and Taibl (Horowitz) in student uniform
“The new address” The reverse side of the photo

 

Yona immigrated to America with part of his family.
There was a speculation that his father's original surname was Berman.

Gitale Yavneh (Musilewitz): I just remembered Hillel's sister, Chaya-Dvora Shapira, who immigrated to America and once came on a visit to Dusiat. We were impressed by her special appearance in matching hat and shoes, and she lifted up her dress and revealed podikes – colored garters with a flower on one end…

 

 
A Group of Young Ladies in Dusiat

From right to left, back: Rachel Blacher (daughter of Hirshel and Yoheved-Musl), Gitke Baron, Chana Krut
Seated: Rachel Blacher (daughter of Shiye-Velvel and Feige-Liebe), (-)
Rachel Blacher was the youngest of her sisters who immigrated to Brazil with most of her family in 1928.

 


Footnote

  1. [20] Neshamit-Shner, Sara. Hayu Chalutzim B'Lita, Beit Lohamei Haghetaot and Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1983. [There were Pioneers in Lithuania. Story of the Movement 1916-1941.] p. 17. Return
  2. Yitzchak Orez kept these letters (written in Yiddish) in a silk stocking, together with the letters of his other family members. Return

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