The Michael Lang Letters
Letter 15

PRAISED BE JESUS CHRISTS!

      Now I was at home again and continued my work but always with the fear that the Communists would send their soldiers to look us up because a number of younger men had deserted the Communists. And it happened once that a party of soldiers came and each or them had the name of a man who had deserted their army so, they were in search of us. But the village council let us know that such a party of red soldiers were coming to search for us because the men who belong to the village council did not like the communist either. So it happened that none of us was found because we had all hidden, therefore they arrested our wives. When my wife was arrested and was asked where is your husband. She said “You took him so you should know where he is”. The other women did the same. So they let my wife return home after a short time. From among other women they took some along and even struck them but eventually they let them all free again. A couple of months later the good God sent us a daughter who was born in the spring of 1920. We named her after mother Catherine, and were very happy. On the whole we were in great grief because the Communists could not forget that the farmers still had something to eat. The Commissars sent the red soldiers who had to go to the farmers and look for produce and whatever they found they took. Now came the harvest or 1920 which was very meager, but with the help our God we lived through 1920. In 1921 there was not much seed left so there were not many farmers who had seed to plant wheat or rye and the Communists government did not bother much about it. I planted a little but after planting time there was little bread to eat and no potatoes. Then one took some pieces of clothing and went to Russian village where one could sometimes barter them for flour.  Money they did not want because it had no value. When one returned the flour was divided and each one had about enough for a supper. The best of it was, we had a cow, she gave us milk, and we had a sheep which we slaughtered. Those saved us in our greatest need. So it happened that people began to die. They swelled up. Many went to bed at night and did not rise in the morning. The people became desperate. Some ran away and died on the road. I heard later that the Holy Father had sent help to southern Russia but with us there was nothing. Then came the harvest of 1921 when we hoped that the little we had sown would save us from starvation but that turned out quite differently than we had expected. Almost all the land lay barren as also did that belonging to my wire's father and mother and their family. When they saw the conditions and that they had nothing to eat they hitched their horses to their wagon end drove away with the words, "O Lord Thy Will be done". Later we learned that the two older people my wife's father and mother died. O Lord grant them eternal rest. My wife and I and our little daughter gathered the small harvest scarcely enough to last us for a month. An example of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem when our Lord was to be born when they could find no lodging place. Our condition was almost as bad. when my wife asked me “what shall we do?” I answered, “We will find a way” I said to her. How would it be if you remained at home with our little ones and I would go to Tiflis where I had served as solder? Perhaps I could find work there and then I would let you come to me. My wife said “my Franz, where you go I shall go with you. In the mean time, we asked advice of some of the villagers who joined us, and drove to the German boundary a distance about 18OO miles. There were about 12 families, counting children and adults, about 60 persons. My wife thought it best we travel with these people. As many of theses people had friends in America hopes were entertained to reach Germany and from there to go to their friends in America. So we agreed to go with theses people since my wife's brother and sister were In America and we had their address. We also spoke to my youngest brother Matthias who was also married but who had no children. They too agreed to go with us. We therefore procured two horses and a wagon. My wife and I and little daughter who was a year old, my brother and his wife we all traveled in the wagon which was equipped about like Abraham L1ncoln’s. There were about 12 wagons in the party which had resolved all for one and one for all to leave together in hopes that the dear Lord would guide us to a free port where we could again enjoy freedom. In the next letter it wi1l be related how we left our home.



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