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Feldpost translation

Article about: I can't even read the handwriting on this one to make out some sort of alphabet. Any help translating would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  1. #1

    Default Feldpost translation

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    I can't even read the handwriting on this one to make out some sort of alphabet. Any help translating would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself. - Robert Leckie

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  3. #2

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    It's a very sad and personal letter, written by a soldier to his wife back home after their child had died.

    Here's the transcription; translation to follow at a later time:

    "Sonntag, 18.6.44

    Mein liebstes Greterl!

    Wieder ein Tag weniger! Ein Tag der Tränen für Dich,
    ein Tag der Öde und des Wartens für mich, einsam
    und unendlich lange für uns beide. Ja das sind
    schwere, schwarze Tage, hoffentlich die dunkelsten
    in unserem Leben. Wie wirst Du sie wohl über-
    stehen können, diese Unglückstage? Wie stark
    und tapfer Du bist, hast Du schon oft bewiesen,
    aber jetzt wird es Dir wohl manchmal scheinen,
    daß dies alles über Deine Kräfte ginge. Aber Du
    wirst es überleben! Bist ja mein Greterl!
    Wenn es nicht ein eiserner Zwang wäre, der mich
    hier festhält und zur Untätigkeit verurteilt, ich
    wüßte nicht, wie ich diese vollständig inhaltsleeren
    Tage jemals verantworten könnte. Wenn Du mich
    heute fragtest, was ich getan habe: am Morgen
    die Messe und jetzt den Brief – sonst nichts, gar
    nichts! Buchstäblich nur von einer Mahlzeit auf
    die andere gewartet. Das ist furchtbar, wie in einem
    Gefängnis. Dabei ist auch das Wetter so trübe,
    wie wenn es mich in meiner Stimmung nicht
    stören wollte.

    Nun habe ich schon Dein Telegramm mit der traurigen
    Nachricht bekommen. Gott nehme unser Engerl in Gnaden
    auf und gebe ihm einen friedlichen Platz im Himmel!
    Ihm ist wohler als uns, die es auf einer leidvollen
    Erde zurückließ. Mög es in Frieden ruhn.

    Ich schreib Dir morgen früh weiter, mein unglückliches
    Greterl, gute Nacht mit tausend Küssen unter Tränen!

    Dein Walter



    Montag, 19.6.44

    Nun habe ich mit Dir am Telefon gesprochen. Dein Stimmchen
    klang so unendlich traurig und leidend, daß es mir
    zutiefst im Magen weh tat. Armes Greterl!!! Ich
    bin ernstlich wegen Deiner Gesundheit in Sorge.
    Das Telegramm gestern hat mich wohl nicht überrascht
    - ich wartete ja jeden Tag darauf -, aber wenn es
    drum und dran ist, ist es aber noch etwas
    anderes, wenn man die traurige Gewißheit in Händen
    hat und wenn man noch so sehr darauf vorbereitet
    ist. Wie habe ich es doch so leicht gegen Dich!
    Ein paar Worte auf einem Telegrammzettel, während
    Du den wochenlangen Todeskampf täglich miterleben
    mußtest, bis man Dich endlich vor das tote Kind
    führte. Warum darf ich Dir nicht einmal da tragen
    helfen und Dein übergroßes Leid teilen, wie wir es
    uns versprochen hatten? Gott nimmt mein Opfer nicht,
    weil er weiß, daß dies noch grausamer für mich
    zu ertragen ist.

    Nun steht Dir noch der traurige Mittwoch bevor. Wenn
    doch alle diese Quälereien für Dich einmal ein Ende
    hätten. Besonders schmerzlich ist für mich der
    Gedanke, daß Du an diesen Tagen auch so ganz
    allein und verlassen sein wirst. Ich werde ja
    heute beim General noch versuchen, ein paar Tage
    Urlaub zu bekommen. Aber es trifft auch da alles
    so ungünstig zusammen: die allgemeine Urlaubs-
    sperre, meine bevorstehende Rückversetzung und der
    Umstand, daß ich erst vor 4 Wochen zuhause
    war. Dabei möchte ich den Urlaub auch nicht
    allzusehr forcieren; weil ja diese Tage meine
    Beurlaubung von hier nach Wien genehmigt wird
    und es da auch nicht ganz gut ist, wenn ich
    mich jetzt noch mit den hohen Herren über-
    werfe. So bin ich halt auch darüber sehr
    traurig, daß ich auch an diesem schweren
    Tag nicht bei Dir sein kann. Deshalb habe
    ich mir gedacht, daß es vielleicht gut für Dich
    sein würde, wenn Alois nach Wien käme;
    nicht daß Dir das ein Trost wäre, sondern
    damit Du ein wenig abgelenkt würdest. Aber
    auf der anderen Seite kann ich mir wieder
    so gut vorstellen, daß Dir das alles in
    tiefster Seele zuwider sein wird und Du lieber
    Deine Ruhe hast. Du wirst es schon gemacht
    haben, wie es Dir lieber ist, mein armes Herzerl!

    So schließe ich schweren Herzens diesen traurigsten
    aller Briefe. Ich küsse Dich in Andacht und
    einer großen Bewunderung und Liebe und
    habe nur noch den einen Wunsch, Dich nach
    diesen Tagen der Trauer nicht krank wieder-
    zufinden.

    Dein Walter
    "

  4. #3

    Default

    Oh wow. Thanks so much for this.
    We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself. - Robert Leckie

  5. #4

    Default

    Here is the translation now:


    "Sunday, 18 June 44

    My dearest Greterl!

    Another day gone by! A day of tears for you, a day of dreariness and waiting for me, lonely and endlessly long for both of us. Yes, these are heavy, black days, hopefully the darkest ones in our lives. How will you be able to live through them, these days of misfortune? Many times before, you had proven how strong and brave you are, but now it must seem to you sometimes that all this will be more than you can bear. But you will survive! You are my Greterl, after all! If it were not an iron constraint that is keeping me here, I would not know how I could ever answer for these completely empty days. If you were to ask me what I did today: Holy Mass in the morning and now the letter - nothing else, nothing at all! Literally just waiting from one meal to the next. This is terrible, as if in prison. And the weather, too, is so dull as if it would not want to disturb me in my mood.

    I have now received your telegram with the sad news as well. May God take in our little angel mercifully and give it a peaceful place in Heaven! It is better off than us, whom it has left behind on a sorrowful Earth. May it rest in peace.

    I will continue writing to you tomorrow morning, my unhappy Greterl, good night with a thousand tearful kisses!

    Your Walter



    Monday, 19 June 44

    I have talked to you on the telephone just now. Your voice sounded so infinitely sad and suffering that it hurt me to my stomach. Poor Greterl!!! I am seriously worried about your health. Sure, yesterday's telegram came as no surprise to me - I had been expecting it every day, after all - but when the time has come, it is a different thing altogether to hold the sad certainty in one's hands, no matter how much one was prepared for it. How easy I have it compared to you! A few words on a telegram form, whereas you had to witness the mortal agony every day for weeks before you were finally led to the dead child. Why can I not help you to bear the burden even then and share your enormous suffering, like we had promised to do? God will not accept my sacrifice, for he knows that this is even crueller for me to bear.

    Now you still have the sad Wednesday before you. If only all these torments could be over for you. The most painful thing for me is the thought that you will be so alone and abandoned during these days, too. Today, I will try and see whether the General would grant me a few days of leave. But everything coincides so unfavorably: The general cancellation of all leaves, my imminent transfer back and the fact that I had only been home just 4 weeks ago. Also, I do not want to push the matter of my leave, as my leave from here to Vienna will be decided upon these days and it would not be wise to fall out with the higher-ups just now. Thus, I am also very sad that I cannot be with you on this heavy day. So, I thought that it might be good for you if Alois went to Vienna; not that this could be a consolation for you, but just to take your mind off things just a little bit. But on the other hand, I can imagine well that you would find all this disagreeable to the bottom of your soul and that you would rather be left alon. Surely, you will have arranged everything as it suited you most, my poor dear!

    It is thus, with a heavy heart, that I conclude this saddest of all letters. I kiss you devoutedly and with great admiration and love and have only this one wish left that I may not find you sick when we meet again after these days of grief.

    Your Walter
    "


    Note: Just in case you wonder about the child being called "it": This is because it is referred to by the diminutive form of "Engel" as used in Austro-German dialects: "Engerl" ["little angel"]. In German, the grammatical gender for such diminutive forms is neuter. We cannot tell from the letter whether the child was a boy or a girl.

  6. #5

    Default

    wow, excellent. The problem I always have is getting the script to block so I can actually read it, I guess I need more practice. I have an avalance of stuff I want to translate.
    What would you know about victory? I killed a she-wolf in her den, armed with only a knife. I escaped the Caughnawaga Indians who sought to burn me alive. And, I was the sole survivor of a shipwreck at the Battle of Havana. So you'll excuse me if I choose not to follow your advice." ―Israel Putnam speaking to a Continental Army officer at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

  7. #6

    Default

    Very tragic indeed. I have decided not to display this letter with my collection. It's too personal and never should have left the family. It will be stored in my safe from now on......
    On a brighter note, you never cease to amaze me with your translation skills! A donation of $20 has been made to the forum in your name. Thank you again so much!!
    We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself. - Robert Leckie

  8. #7

    Default

    Yes General I think a lot of history is lost in these letters. I will continue to buy them when available. HPL is an extremely valuable asset to this forum for these things.
    We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself. - Robert Leckie

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