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Letter from a German soldier in occupied Paris, 1940/41

Article about: I bought this some time ago from an antique shop, there was a whole pile of feldpost there. I didn't have time to look at the letters within the envelopes, so I just chose one with the clear

  1. #1

    Default Letter from a German soldier in occupied Paris, 1940/41

    I bought this some time ago from an antique shop, there was a whole pile of feldpost there. I didn't have time to look at the letters within the envelopes, so I just chose one with the clearest stamps and bought that. About a year later, I remembered I had bought this and had almost forgotten about it- so a few days ago, I decided to start trying to read and translate it. I don't speak German, but I do know some vocabulary and can sometimes piece together sentences, so I made a start myself. The hardest part was reading the handwriting, but I was proud of myself just to be able to read, recognise and understand parts! After the first page (which took me a while!), I surrendered and sought the help of a friend who speaks German, and he gave it a go. I helped him read parts, and he very helpfully translated as best as he could. Here's the text and translation as we have it:

    Meine liebe Anni!

    Habe gestern vier Briefe von dir bekommem, für die ich dir herzlichst danke, mein Liebling. Auch in ihnen schreibst du, dass du keine Post von mir bekommst. Ich kan daran nichst machen, da ist nur die Feldpost schuld. Es wäre doch zu spassig, wenn ich Dir die ganze Zeit geschrieben hätte X(lets go with nun) jetzt, wo wir bald heiraten gehen, würde ich das nicht mehr tun.

    Ich war gestern zum Arzt gefahren. Leider habe ich unterwegs eine Panne am Wagen gehabt, sodaß ich zu spät ankam. Muß deshalb heute noch einmal hinfahren. Aber ich habe nachgeschaut, was es zu kaufen gibt. 6.40 m weiße Seide für Dein Hochzeitskleid habe ich jetzt endlich. Schicke sie Dir sofort. Etwas Anderes habe ich nicht gefunden. Weder M---dstoff (some sort of fabric) für Deinen Vater, noch Pullover oder (Rhdir)rühren(?). Ich sehe heute nochmal nach.

    Und nun, mein Weib, muss ich schließen. Habe heute morgen noch viel Arbeit. Schreibe Dir heute Abend einen großen Brief.

    Es grüßt und küßt Dich von herzen!

    Dein Waldemerr/Waldemorr.




    And the translation:



    My dear Anni!

    I got four letters from you yesterday, for which I thank you dearly, my beloved. You write in them that you have not gotten any letters from me. I can not do anything about it, only the fieldpostalservce is at fault. It would be quite hilarious, if I would have written you all the time, now that we will marry soon, I would not be doing that anymore.

    I drove to the Doctor yesterday. Sadly I had a flat tire underway, and I came too late because of it. I have to drive there today again. But I looked around, as to what is there to buy. I finally have 6.40 meters of white silk for your wedding gown. I am sending it to you this instant. I found nothing else. Nor M-fabric for your father, sweater(?) or R. I will look again today.

    And now my dear, I have to finish up. I have much work to do tomorrow. I will write you a big letter today in the evening.

    Best regards and all the kisses! (I greet and kiss you from all my heart!)

    Your Waldemerr/Waldemorr



    Any corrections, clarification or insights are welcomed and appreciated! My friend's first language is neither English nor German, so he's done pretty well here. I couldn't really make out the sender's name, or the writing on the envelope except for 'Anni Horst', I think.

    Interestingly, he writes the letter on New Year's Eve of 40/41, but makes no mention of it. His talk about her mentioning of receiving none of his letters makes me wonder if she ever got this one, or if it was lost / intercepted with the rest of the pile I saw in the shop? I'm not sure if the stamps on the envelope give any indication of delivery or not, but the idea of him mentioning lost post while that letter itself may have suffered the same fate is quite unfortunate. He talks of buying silk for his soon-to-be-wife's wedding dress, presumably due to shortages of materials back in Germany? The talk of marriage makes you think about if they ever did get to marry, what his war experiences were, what kind of person he was, and the couple's fate. I think it's a fascinating insight into someone's life- the letter may not talk of anything significant, but it's a powerful reminder that all involved were just normal people, with their own lives.

    Mat
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  3. #2

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    Very nice piece of personal history! I hope he made it and they got married!

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  4. #3
    Jan
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    Well done, it´s actually much like doing a crossword puzzle isnt it !

    Best,


    Jan

  5. #4

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    Agreed Nick! And I felt like I was doing detective work Jan. Reading and translating this was very rewarding, I think I'll be picking up some more feldpost again, it's fascinating!

    Mat

  6. #5

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    Quote by ToxicGas View Post
    Agreed Nick! And I felt like I was doing detective work Jan. Reading and translating this was very rewarding, I think I'll be picking up some more feldpost again, it's fascinating!

    Mat
    Nice one Mat, make sure you post them for us to enjoy

    Thanks

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  7. #6

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    I will be sure to do so Nick! I actually got this from the antique shop in York we've discussed. I didn't want to leave empty-handed last time, so I impulsively picked this up, and I'm glad I did.

    Mat

  8. #7

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    Thanks for posting this, Mat. My first thought was did this letter ever make it to her? I too can't help but wonder what happened to him. Sadly we will never know.

    Luke

  9. #8

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    It's a shame his surname isn't written anywhere, maybe it could have been possible to look him up, based on the year and location? It's a strange thought that this man could still be around today, maybe even with the woman he speaks of, and he has no idea that someone's reading his lost letter from over 70 years ago...

    Mat

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