Friday, September 4, 2009

Same Story, Different War (2)

If you have not done so already, please read the first part of this post here.

Here is a second letter from Private First Class Arthur _____
15 April 1946
Butzbach [Germany]

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know that it has been a long time since I’ve written and I’m really sorry. But, as usual, I have an excuse and that is that I’ve been trying to learn to read, write and speak German. The woman who does my laundry teaches me as well as she can with her very limited knowledge of English but starting tomorrow I’m going to take lessons from a private tutor and while writing this I’m smiling very broadly.

But, actually, it’s quite inexpensive and even with the money I spend for rations and little luxuries it doesn’t amount to much. In fact, my rations cost more than the lessons; so, I guess that it ought to be O.K. financially. And socially, they’re quite friendly to anyone who doesn’t “shoot the town up” once in a while and they are especially friendly to anyone who’s a little better than intelligent and is eager to learn something.

I’m now living in one of the rooms of the house in which my laundry woman used to live. She must’ve been fairly well off at one time because the rooms are rather nice. But to get back to my German lessons, I don’t see any danger in it… they seem to respect the man who has a gun on his shoulder (in other words, they respect whoever’s in power); so I guess it’s alright to continue the lessons for the short time (less than two months now!) that I’m going to be here.

Well, I do hope that you approve. I promise to be careful as ever, and I’m just waiting for “you know when;” so, please, please, don’t be too expectant and let’s hope that I do get home by July 1st, as the schedule says.

All my love,


*Thanks again to JH for sharing this.

1 comment:

  1. Back before computers and "email" there was "V mail." I presume that stood for "Victory." I am sure I still have a letter from my Uncle in 1944 who was in combat and in order to send out a letter he had to submit it to the censors. The censors, cut out everything that could be useful in identifying the whereabouts of the individual and then they photographed the result. This was printed like a photograph and mailed on home to the family.

    I wonder how many of those survived? They weren't terribly interesting or informative, but they are a good indication as to how far we have come in technology.