This is actually a letter well worth reading, as it gives us quite a good and probably typical insight into the feelings of a German frontline soldier on the Eastern Front. He writes about longing to be at home with his loved ones, mentions his worries about the uncertain things that lie ahead and speaks of the hardships on deployment. Sadly, the ideology of the day creeps in as well with some troubling comments about the Russian population, although he refuses to sink to the depths of robbing them. Still, he is grateful that others are able to do so.
Alright, here's what it says:
"Holy Thursday, 1942
My dearest Ilse!
Outside, it is storming and snowing incessantly. It does not look like Easter at all out there. But I believe that a green Easter is a great rarity in Russia. Comrades who had been on leave to Germany tell us that they have the most beautiful spring weather at home. How beautiful it would be now to wander through the beautiful Duisburg Forest with you and to admire nature's awakening. How we had looked forward to the Easter days. I had hoped to the last to be able to spend Easter with you at home or at Brunswick. This was not how things turned out to be. Now my parents, too, have to spend Easter all alone. The family is scattered all over. I don't think my grandmother will be at Duisburg, either. It would be better for her to spend some more time at Sigmaringen anyway. For now comes the time when she will be able to recover down there. And how will you spend the Easter days? Will you think of me once in a while? Our thoughts will be wandering to and fro. If only we have mutual trust in one another, there shall always be great joy within us that will make everything feel that much easier.
Unfortunately, though, my Easter greetings are going to reach you belatedly. It is not my fault, though. Mailing is a bit of an issue here. Ever since the company had been moved forward, we have been unable to post things. We just have to rely on the good will of our neighboring companies. By now, he have rather made ourselves at home here. We get [...] on a daily basis. [The last line of page 1 is missing in the scan.] [...] trade. Tobacco products are very much in demand. Money will not buy you anything. I will be able to save up a lot. We have made ourselves as comfortably as possible. Surely better and more comfortable than the Russians got. I think you ladies would be disgusted if you could see these dwellings. It is simply beneath human dignity. Ragged and filthy is how these people wander around. Not much to be seen in the way of culture. The rural population is completely impoverished. Strictly speaking, it is not fair that we take, or more precisely, buy from them what they have left. But, one keeps asking oneself: How would these hordes have treated us had they invaded Germany? Humanity is out of place anyway. One instantly sees the results if one treats them a bit friendly for once: They immediately turn insolent. But not everyone has it in them to act brutally. What we organize for ourselves, we certainly need to feed our hungry stomachs. Those who are able to act with their pistol in hand without giving it a second thought can be sure to get something. I am not suited for that at all. But I am still glad that some men from our band can do it. For our rations are very stingy. He have been able to find ourselves some chickens for Easter. Thus, we are able to save us the scheduled "bog-standard stew" type of chow for another day. While we are still here, we can and will make those days as pleasant as possible for us. How things are going to be for us when we are in action is still one great unkwown for us.
Now I would like to come to an end. I wish you and your loved ones back home a very joyful and comfortable Easter Festival and remain with the best greetings, your