13 September, 2011

13 September 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
13 September, 1944     1200
Dearest darling Wilma –

At last two letters from you – dated Aug 27th and 28th – and I was interested in your comments on the Germans and their tactics. You cannot imagine darling just how rotten they were until you speak to people who were a witness to the atrocities. I won’t go into details – because I don’t like to write such things – but it was terrible. And you can understand after a while how these people hate the Germans with such intensity. Last nite we were coming thru town at dusk; A crowd was gathered around a truck carrying a man with hands held high. There was jeering and taunting and I stopped to ask what was going on. The man was a collaborateur who was a tip-off man for the Gestapo. I asked what they were going to do to him and a woman said “What does one do to a traitor?” They were taking him off to shoot him and I didn’t feel the least bit sorry for him. The poor Belgians were having enough trouble as it was without having to put up with their own traitors.

Belgian Resistance workers
with a Nazi collaborator

In that connection – I met two Jewish gentlemen yesterday p.m. I was surprised because I didn’t think there were any around – but thisis a big city. Both showed me their identification cards – stamped with a large Jűde on it and their yellow stars of David which they had now taken off their coats. Again – the stories they told were horrible and they couldn’t speak too highly of the Belgians and how wonderful they had been in trying to protect them and others who were chased all over their country.

I finally found a place that develops films and I hope I can get some of my rolls done. I believe I have almost 7 of them and undoubtedly some of the pictures won’t come out because some were taken from a moving jeep, or on cloudy days etc. – but I hope enough of them come out to make it worth while. If they do – I’ll send them thru to you a little at a time, darling, so that if a letter goes astray for one reason or another – we won’t lose them all. I’ll send the negatives along too and you can give a set to my folks and they’ll be able to develop whichever they please. This planning may be a bit premature – but I hope not.

"Pontoon Bridge at Liège, Belgium at site of destroyed bridge -
taken from back of jeep - after crossing. September 1944
City (350,000) is divided by the Meuse River."

"Another one of the destroyed - but not completely
down - bridges at Liège. September 1944"
"Another Cathedral - I don't know where"

You have been seeing a lot of Verna – haven’t you? I’m glad you like her – because she is a difficult person to know. Apparently she likes you too or she wouldn’t be spending so much time with you, dear. Of course – I can understand that. As for 20 years from now and your being young to me – have no fear about that, sweetheart. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll always love you. I am the sort of person who really loves one person and that person is you, darling. That’s all I want and need.

Although you painted a pretty tough picture of Irv (Nin’s husband) having a hard time with his 12 days off – forgive me, darling, if I don’t feel too badly. After all – he will get his 12 days off. We don’t get leaves here – and now I’m speaking for all the men and officers – not for myself. It’s they I feel sorry for. I ride around a great deal, see a lot, get a chance to look into some shops etc. – and it all must sound quite nice. It is, dear, but only for me – because I happen to be the battalion surgeon and get off on the slightest pretext. The colonel never questions my going and I do just about what I want and when. It is not so for the others. They have been stuck at the C.P. ever since we landed and the only towns they have seen are the ones we pass in convoy – and of course – we travel right on through. Without trying to be mean about it all – have Irv see the Chaplain and get a T.S. slip. Now – don’t I sound like a gruff old b- d. I’m not really, dear – so forgive me?

I should close now and go get some lunch or I’ll miss it altogether. It was swell hearing from you again, darling, and to read that you still love me. I do love that thought. I can say, only, that my own love for you deepens with every passing day – and as far as our future in my mind is concerned – it is a “fait d’accomplis”. It certainly will be wonderful – darling and I’m living for that. For now, love to the folks and
All my sincerest love

P.S. Enclosed is to supplement your reading of “Paris Underground”. It is real. Note the satire of the address of the “Libre Belgique”. It was headquarters for the Gestapo and the publisher “Peter Pen” – was poking fun.

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