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Author: Subject: Serbske Nowiny: 1873
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[*] posted on 8-3-2016 at 04:46 PM
Serbske Nowiny: 1873


28 Jun, p. 202-203: List s pokodnischeje Ameriki. Translated from Upper Sorbian by Gerald Stone.

A Letter from South America.

Porto Alegro, 10 May 1873. Province Jao Pedro de Rio grande de Sul, Brazil. – To Mr J. E. Smoler in Bautzen.

Dear Sir, You may well be surprised to receive a letter from distant Brazil and from a man you do not know. But the reasons that have driven me to burden you with a letter will also, I hope, excuse me.

I am impelled to write by my love for my native land, Upper Lusatia, and for its inhabitants, the Wendish people, to whom I have the honour to belong. I was also pressed to do so by the desire to refresh in my memory my knowledge of my mother tongue, which I have partly forgotten – though not by my own fault – owing to my residence abroad for 12 years.

For some months now I have been having Serbske Nowiny delivered to me here through the bookshop of Mr Oskar Schołta, and to my pleasure I can say that by reading this paper, the arrival of which always brings me a day of joy, I have remembered again many a word which I had forgotten.

You, perhaps, will be scarcely able to believe that a man can forget his mother tongue, but that is just the way it is. In the last 3-4 years I have not heard a single word of Wendish or spoken one myself, because in the whole great province “Rio Grande de Sul,” which is as big as the Kingdom of Prussia, I have not found a single Wend, nor have I ever heard that there was a single Wend in the whole of Brazil. So I must conclude that I am, perhaps, the only Wend in this country and thus the only subscriber to Serbske Nowiny.

So that you, dear Sir, should know who and what I am, I shall in the following briefly describe my life hitherto.

Born in Hainitz near Kleinbautzen, I came as a 10-year-old boy to Bautzen, where I attended the municipal school and the gymnasium until the age of 19, and then I went to the junker’s estate at Pommritz to learn farming. – After I had been an estate manager in various estates in Saxony for a long time, the idea came to me that I might try my luck as a farmer in Brazil. So I came here and, having looked at various parts of this huge empire, I found that, following the precepts and doctrines of the farming I had learned at home, I could achieve nothing useful here. So I became a baker, then left that too and turned to brewing, but I had to abandon that too, because no one wanted my beer.

So I turned to the German colonies here, so that I might at least earn my living as a school teacher, because the money I had brought with me here was seriously depleted, especially because at the end of the war between Brazil and Paraguay, I had lost more than half my fortune.

But school teaching was not a success either, so I returned to Porto Alegro, where I was lucky enough to buy a commercial shop cheaply. I am still here and, as I can say with joy, I am living in good circumstances.

I think no one should emigrate who can, one way or another, earn a living at home. Many people think that in America you can pick up gold from the streets, just like that, and laze around. Those people are seriously wrong, because everyone here has to work hard from dawn to dusk to make enough to earn a living. Lazing around here will get you nowhere, any more than in Europe. – Otherwise, however, for those want to emigrate the provinces Porto Alegro, Santa Catarina, and Parana are still the best here, etc., etc. – Your obedient servant, M. Theodor Rätza.

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