Letter From Lusatia, 7 December 1947

The following letter was received from Mr. and Mrs. Johann Herzog in Copperas Cove, which was received from Germany and is, herewith, made public in the Giddings Deutsches Volksblatt.

It is presented here translated by David Goeke.

Neu-Spremberg, O/L (Ober Lausitz), Region of Loebau, December 7, 1947

Honorable Family Herzog!

You will be astounded to hear from an unknown person. I received a letter directed to a family in Spremberg. This same letter came by way of further determination to Neu-Spremberg. In the local postal index, this person could not be located. I had to give over the letter to the postal service for further investigation. Now, you will certainly wonder how I arranged to write to you. I am honest and open enough to share with you the facts. We find ourselves in bitter predicaments. I think that you will not believe it if I report how things look for us. My child, 15 months old, receives ¼ liter of good and ¼ sour skim milk per day. We grown ups receive none at all. We receive 25 grams of fats and the same of sugar. Nothing can be had without stamps (ration stamps *). Yes, we are happy when we get dry bread. Now Christmas stands again at the door. If there is no special exception made (likely flour, sugar or some other commodity **) , to 1 kilogram per person, we won’t have enough to bake a simple cake. You will certainly already have read in the newspaper how Germany is hungering. There are some people who have relatives or acquaintances in other countries. These people have the best luck and now and again receive a package of groceries or other things. Things such as coffee beans, chocolate, powdered milk and the like, which we don’t even know anymore because such things don’t exist for children. It is a hard and bitter destiny and it does not look like things will get any better.

I would to ask a great request in my letter to you. Do you perhaps have acquaintances who could collect an offering and send a package? God would reward you and it would be a great help for my wife and children in our great need. Please do not look on my letter as a “beggars letter,” because I am not turning to you in that manner. Should it not be possible for you or your acquaintances to come through with my request, perhaps you will hear of someone too whom you could pass the letter you have received from me on to. I would welcome further correspondence and would be happy to report more to you later.

I wish you a Happy Christmas and at the same time a prosperous, healthy New Year.

My deepest thanks in advance and until I hear from you again, I send you my heartfelt greetings.

Your Unknown,

Willie Geisler and Family, Neu Spremberg Ober Lausitz, Region of Loebau, Turner Street 254, Sorpj Garrison, Germany

Translator’s Notes:

* The term used here is “Marken,” which in the context of this letter likely refers to ration stamps.

** There is no direct reference to what the writer is referring, but, again, in context, it is likely ingredients , because he does make mention of baking a cake.

Note also, that in translating, one tries to stay as much as possible to a true word for word translation. However, to have the translation make sense and be readable, some license was taken…..without jeopardizing the true content of the translation.


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