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Friesch to Klara: 17th August 1944

Article about: Hello folks. Yet another piece of correspondence pertaining to the same soldier. This is the latest-dated one I've acquired so far. The first thing I noted about this one was how 'rough' it

  1. #1

    Default Friesch to Klara: 17th August 1944

    Hello folks.

    Yet another piece of correspondence pertaining to the same soldier. This is the latest-dated one I've acquired so far.
    The first thing I noted about this one was how 'rough' it looks. The handwriting on the envelope is nowhere near as intricate as in previous letters. Almost as if Friesch penned this one in a hurry or under duress. A little over a month after the dawn of Operation Overlord, it should be no surprise that he would be so stressed.
    There are individual words I've been able to pick out, most notably the name 'Bad Bill' written in English just under halfway down the first page. Also a date, 1928. As ever, the majority of the handwriting is lost on me.
    When all is said and done, this will be the second latest piece of correspondence I have regarding this soldier. Another is currently up for bidding, dated March 1945. As it is so near to the close of the War in Europe, I feel it must contain information as to Friesch's fate, and as such I'll fight tooth and nail to win it.

    Best regards, as always. B.B.
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    'A nation that forgets its past has no future.' -- Sir Winston Churchill

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  3. #2

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    Quote by BrodieBartfast View Post
    There are individual words I've been able to pick out, most notably the name 'Bad Bill' written in English just under halfway down the first page.
    No naughty Wiliiam there; it's Bad Boll*, actually. Translation in the evening.

    *) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Boll

  4. #3

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    My poor grasp of sütterlin displayed in all its glory! And there I was, visions of Spaghetti Westerns dancing around in my head.

    B.B.
    'A nation that forgets its past has no future.' -- Sir Winston Churchill

  5. #4

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    Note that Friesch is now a Leutnant [2nd Lieutenant]. Here's what the letter says:


    "17th August 1944

    Dear Mrs. Häckh!

    I do not remember a Maier who was two classes below me. I know two men of that name. One is from Köngen, the other from Dettingen an der Erms. I cannot form a judgment about either one, as I don't know them well enough. The one from Köngen is or was employed as an agronomy teacher in Göppingen, which is also where I met him when I was travelling from the military hospital at Bad Boll to Cannstatt. He looks like our former
    Oberlehrer in chemistry and physical science Mr. Mack, who later became a Schulrat in Backnang*. I haven't seen the other one since 1928. That is all that I know.

    When I read about the raids on Stuttgart in the High Command communiqués, I thought of you and your home in the Leibnizstraße. According to the accounts I got, Stuttgart must look horrible. But in most cases, people have no idea what the cities in Northern- and Western Germany look like. Thus, everyone believes it was his city that has been hit the hardest. You were actually lucky insofar as only your roof was blown away and your doors and windows damaged. Under such circumstances, that is actually a fortunate outcome. If I should give you the impression that I take notice of this without any sense of compassion, I ask for your forgiveness. It is with sorrow and deep grief that I think of all those who have been affected by this terrible war. It feels so egotistical and narrow-minded to me if one learns that fortunately nothing has happened to one's own dearest while being confronted with the destruction of millions of houses and the deaths of thousands of people. I am at a loss for words when it comes to the incomprehensible turn for barbarism, cruelty and inhumanity this war has taken. Thus, my thoughts are with all those who are dragged into the war like this.

    Andf so, I do not begrudge you the peace you enjoy in the garden of the parish house in Marktlustenau in the slightest. I would gladly share this peace with you for just a few hours with the greatest pleasure. My Sundays were mostly filled with very unpleasant things, so that the longing for the bright hours in our lives is fulfilled less and less.

    Last night, a rain of bombs - to which one is not used from the Russians - fell down on our little town in the east as well. Despite the 50 to 60 bombs that were dropped within a narrow area, despite the fact that the planes were able to select their targets without hindrance, not too much has happened. However, no bombs of the heaviest caliber had been dropped. By now, we are used to these visitations, which occur on an almost daily basis.

    Now I wish you a pleasant mid- and late summer, for the sake of the harvest alone. Gertrud is nearly bursting with eagerness to help with the harvest. How then must Eckart, the future farmer, feel!

    I greet you most cordially,
    your
    Friesch
    ."



    *) An Oberlehrer is a senior teacher; a Schulrat is a schools inspector/superintendent. By the way, judging from the references to a teacher and a student known both to Friesch and Mrs. Häckh, it would appear that they know each other from school. He always addresses her as "Frau Häckh" and by the formal "Sie", which would be odd if they were former classmates. It seems rather likely that Mrs. Häckh used to be his teacher.
    Last edited by HPL2008; 08-14-2017 at 08:21 PM.

  6. #5

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    This one has answered a lot of questions I had previously. Thank you very much. I'm sure these letters are as fascinating for everyone else to read as they are for me.
    From the way he writes about his 'little town in the east,' I'd have to guess that he still hadn't returned to frontline service by this point. Would this have been due to the severity of his injuries, or simply that he had done his bit, as it were?

    B.B.
    'A nation that forgets its past has no future.' -- Sir Winston Churchill

  7. #6

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    Quote by BrodieBartfast View Post
    This one has answered a lot of questions I had previously. Thank you very much. I'm sure these letters are as fascinating for everyone else to read as they are for me.
    From the way he writes about his 'little town in the east,' I'd have to guess that he still hadn't returned to frontline service by this point. Would this have been due to the severity of his injuries, or simply that he had done his bit, as it were?
    He was definitely still in the Wehrmacht, as this is a field post letter sent from a military unit and he had since risen through the ranks from the JNCO rank of Unteroffizier to the commissioned officer rank of Leutnant.

    I'd say he had long since returned to active service and that the "little town in the east" was simply where his unit was billeted or garrisoned.

  8. #7

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    Thanks for clarifying that. One of the downsides to having only fragments of this correspondence is the sheer amount of holes it leaves in the narrative. Three more of these letters finished at auction tonight, and I managed to land all three. I'm going to start archiving the letters and their translations tomorrow.

    Thank you once again for the help. Couldn't do it without you.

    B.B.
    'A nation that forgets its past has no future.' -- Sir Winston Churchill

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