The Wendish Research Exchange

Serbske Nowiny: 1874

mersiowsky - 8-3-2016 at 04:47 PM


21 Feb, p. 59: List s Ameriki. Translated from Upper Sorbian by Gerald Stone.

A letter from America.

New York, 16 December 1873– So far as my experience of emigrants hitherto is concerned, I am bound to say that everyone should be glad at the present time to have a job and a living in his own country. I advise everyone against setting off for these parts unless he has previously ascertained how things stand here.

For times here are bad and that is owing to changes in financial matters that began in October, through which many workers have lost their jobs, as never before. The greater part of the factories are not working, trade is minimal, and in our city of New York 200,000 men are unemployed, all of whom know the language and customs of this country and therefore can much more easily and quickly find another job than any foreigner. Yet we fear that there will be very great deprivation, indeed, it is already visible in the most miserable form. Our Castle-Garden (a house of charity, where emigrants for a certain time get free accommodation) is daily like a ship sinking at sea, where many hundreds of people are facing a most miserable death. My heart aches and I must say that no sadder misery is possible than what I see here.

Last week a woman from Flensburg with five children arrived here. Her husband had been a worker and last year he found a good job here. He wrote to his wife telling her to join him in America. She set off, but meanwhile her husband had lost his job. What he had saved was soon used up, and he fell ill – and he died. Two weeks after his death his family arrived and is now in dire need. (Conclusion to follow).

28 Feb, p. 67: Conclusion of List s Ameriki.

A letter from America

Very late yesterday evening a young man came to us and said: ‘Dear God, what can I do? It is already two days since I had even a piece of bread; I cannot find work and I don’t know what to do because I have no money.’ I was sorry for this decent, mild-mannered young man and so I asked him: ‘What was your job?’ to which he replied ‘An official on the telegraph’. Do you know English?’, I asked him. He said ‘No.’ ‘But my dear friend’, I had to reply, ‘Why did you come here to us? There are so many people here without work who can speak English; why did you not find out at home how things stood here?’ – ‘That is just the trouble; my former friend wrote to me from America to Europe: come to us! You’ll earn much more here than at home. So I quickly set off for America in the hope of finding a well-paid job, so that I would also be able to support my parents. Oh,’ he added, ‘And if anyone had told me at home how things stood here, I would not have believed them.’

And for people like that it is very sad that their so-called good friends, having invited them to America, are the least likely to care for them when they arrive without much money.

With God’s help, however, better times will return and there will be no trouble for diligent, faithful workers, because wages here are high, but for now and in the near future let everyone, for God’s sake, stay at home.

(From a letter sent by assistant pastor Rev. Jänichen from New York to Rev. Jakub in Neschwitz. Perhaps a few people will take good advice from it and thank God that among their own people at home they have their daily bread. – Yet we may add that in the Wendish colony ‘Serbin’ there is no deprivation because there the people live mainly from farming. Editor.).