Item 56 - Letter from Sonia Lewitska to R. C. Trevelyan, with postscript from Jean Marchand

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TRER/22/56

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Letter from Sonia Lewitska to R. C. Trevelyan, with postscript from Jean Marchand

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  • [1920s] (Creation)

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1 letter

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Thanks Trevelyan for his letter and what he has done to help her: it is a 'great moral path' for her, and she hopes that with the help of a heart 'as great and generous' as Trevelyan's, she will be able to 'remedy this misfortune'. She encloses her letter to [Maxim] Litwinof and also that to her little one [her daughter Olga]. Adds in a postscript that she is also enclosing her letter to 'the sister of Monsieur Fray' [Roger Fry's sister Ruth, general secretary of the Friends War Victims Relief Committee]: asks him to read it, and if he does not think it too foolish to give it to her; also to let her know the response as soon as possible. If there is no hope of sending a Quaker to search for her daughter, she will go herself immediately to Warsaw (she is applying for her passport) and perhaps there will be a way of getting to Kiev from there. Marchand despairs and does not want her to leave because she is so weak; she is made worse due to her 'torment' [of worry for her daughter]. She went to the Ukraninian mission [embassy?] again yesterday, and spoke there to a colonel who came from Kiev a month ago, who says that Kiev has become a 'totally dead city', and that everyone who can has left; the peasants no longer bring their produce as when they do the Bolsheviks requisition it and take it to Moscow; they take everything from 'unfortunate Ukraine', which is becoming increasingly poor. There are no trams or streetlights working; worse, there is no piped water, and those like her family who live a distance from the river are suffering terribly. People cannot get new clothes, or shoes; they go bare-footed with boards tied to their feet; lack of water means that there is much dirt and fever. The colonel said the 'atmosphere is so sad and overwhelming', and that he himself was maddened almost to suicide, but preferred to 'do even the lowest work here and eat only dry bread than to return there'. He travelled for a week in goods wagons, standing all the way, 'packed in like cattle' with ill, dirty, drunk and coarse people. She does not know if she can live knowing that her daughter is so much suffering there.

Marchand writes to Trevelyan on the back of Sonia Lewitska's letter: thanks him for everything he has done for Sonia: is very saddened by all that [Sonia has learned] . Had news this January from Mademoiselle [Angela] Lavelli. Asks how Trevelyan's family is. Has not seen [Francis] Birrell again.

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  • French

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23/21/2: Draft letter from R. C. Trevelyan to [Jean Marchand], to which this is a reply.

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