Owing to the extremely zealous activity of the Posen and Congress-Polish German aid organizations, they have succeeded in significantly improving the situation of the refugees in Camp Stralkowo. On Feb. 6, 1922 the second shipment of food, clothing items and other necessities came to the camp along with an efficient German Nurse from the highly regarded Evangelical Diaconate in Posen. The patients are finally succeeding in recovering to the point of being released. Those in recovery no longer have meals prepared for them and it is recognized as a substantial improvement that they prepare their meals themselves. From donations they still receive fresh supplies of Lard and Flour. Among the various donations were also 4 living chickens and with pride the refugees pointed to them and cried out: “the beginning of a farm is again possible.” Joy and humor are slowly returning. The major task of the Sister is the support of the children, however, as soon as it is possible they are transferred to the Diaconate Institute in Posen. A main problem has for long been the procurement of water. The water pipeline was broken and there was only one well for the 8,500 refugees, among whom there are 500 Germans. Just as difficult was the problem of heating since there was a complete absence of burning material. A second Sister was soon sent to Stralkowo. On May 25, the Volga German Society received the following report from Pastor Kammel, who takes care of the spiritual needs of our brethren:
“The activities of the 2 Sisters worked wonders in the hospital. The Sisters understood their role as one of not only helping to make things run smoothly throughout the camp, but also to provide the necessary influence on the head physician of the hospital and the remaining agencies in the camp so that far reaching improvements were undertaken. The maintenance personnel were reorganized and many questionable and shadowy persons were thoroughly removed from the hospital. In particular some Ukrainian women; in their place stepped other attendants from the Ukrainian camp who differed favorably from the former personnel. The children were housed in a special large area of a hospital barracks. This children’s hall makes quite a Germanic impression. The children lie in their beds all cleanly washed and properly combed, most with close cropped hair. They were provided with fresh laundry and were newly dressed. The greet us at the entrance with a German greeting and have learned a German song which they sing. One of the two Sisters was previously a teacher of small children and uses her particular skills to manage the children. The state of health of the children has substantially improved due, in large measure, to the establishment of cleanliness. Even a bathtub has been constructed and efforts are underway to obtain other necessary furnishings. The voices of the children bespeak of their improvement, one sees improvement in their obvious joy. The Sisters undertook to rouse the American and British Mission and now regularly receive milk and other food for the children sent directly to the children’s hall.
Scrubbing and washing has also spread to the remaining barracks after the daily water supplies were substantially increased by the good deeds of the Germans in the surrounding area and also the tap in the so-called Disinfection Barracks began to give water again. About the numerous cases of run-away spotted fever, unfortunately, no speeches can be made. The danger of a wider spreading of the disease and the infection of the Sisters remains great. The threat of this disease has become substantial. Dressing materials–drugs, tonics (wine, cognac) are in the hands of the Sisters and are used exclusively for the benefit of the German patients. However there are not sufficient drugs which were initially used only for the most urgent cases. We hope to also receive the remaining drugs. For heating material one is regularly provided with small quantities. We succeeded in getting a railroad car of hard coal, 350 hundredweights, to Stralkowo from a coal dealer in Posen who supplies the coal, per instructions, to our brothers and sisters in small quantities of 30 hundredweights to the hospital, the Sisters and to the camp and to the recovering Volga Germans by way of a trusted acquaintance. The load of coal cost us 437,500 Polish Marks. There are still necessary expenditures to be made for the procurement of wood. Unfortunately, patients are released from the hospital without being fully recovered. They return again to the hospital barracks to recover and many of them, because of different diseases, have to be taken into the hospital for a third time. The healthy people are obviously having trouble making the strange food with which they were not accustomed to back home. After they learn to cook on the Army Field Kitchen the difficulty lessens. One of the women in the recovery barracks went into labor but the child died shortly after birth. A transport of refugees arrived again at the camp and clothing must now be procured for about 80 of them. The remainder were sufficiently clothed with used but sufficiently warm clothing which had been donated to us for this purpose.
It was a relief for both the sick and the healthy to learn that the Volga Germans that had arrived at the border crossing in Poland are to be gradually taken into Germany.
On my last visit I mainly concerned myself with the sick, seeing to their devotional and other needs. After all they have been through they have a particular need for it. I have already spoken with a local German catholic clergyman who, at my request, will shortly hold a devotional service for the small number of catholics among the Volga Germans.
I met with the Committee of German Refugees from Russia, an auxiliary committee of the Lodz Welfare Committee, and we agreed that we would supply the Stralkowo camp from Posen while the Lodz committee takes over the welfare services in the eastern camp and at the entry points from Russia.
The camp administration in Stralkowo repeated its report that they are expecting another 1,000 Volga German refugees.”
Thus ends the report. We can only thank our dear countrymen in Lodz from our hearts for their many good deeds and compassion. It is especially difficult for the Germans in Poland to perform these loving activities because, as everyone knows, the economic conditions in Poland are very bad. We not only have to thank our German friends, but also the Polish government which allowed all of our brethren to enter their country. We should not forget that they brought misery and disease with them.
But these brothers need help, thus think also of them when the collection plate is passed.
**) The most worthy Bishop F.A. Kessler and Rector N. Maier have returned from their journey to America. We will bring you reports about the work and successes of these two gentlemen shortly.