05 January, 2012

05 January 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
5 January, 1945         1330

My dearest sweetheart –

We finally got a trickle of mail thru yesterday p.m. and I got seven letters, six from you and one from my Dad. They were all in the period between 16 and 23 November and contained a great deal I was anxious to hear about. The letter from my Dad – although cheery as usual, didn’t exactly fool me. He and my mother seemed lonely from the way he wrote and in addition – he sounded tired. I do wish he didn’t work so damned hard. I’ve just completed a letter to him advising him to take it easier, sell less and relax more; but my father has never been like that and I don’t suppose a letter from me will change him.

I’ll try to answer your letters in sequence, darling. I have before me your letter of the 20th of November. At that time there was a good deal of excitement about the “big push”. Boy does that ever seem like ancient history now! Yes – we were in it – but I’m sorry we disappointed you, darling – but it was tough warring.

Both your letter and Dad A’s mentioned Irving’s operation and it really came as a surprise to me. I never did understand his first attack and apparent rapid recovery. I hope he’s well now and back to practice – but convalescence in gall bladder cases is often rather slow. It must have been a little tough for Ruth for awhile.

Thank Barbara for her little note – inserted in one of your letters and for her concern for me, dear. And ask her where she learned such fluent German? I laughed at your remarks about looking at the ads and wanting to buy slippers, robes etc. for me. I almost bought a pair of slippers for myself the other day, but I couldn’t quite make it. Yes – in the past I did buy things I knew I wanted. I hate to shop. I usually know what kind of shoe or suit I want, try it on and if it fits – it’s a sale. But I can’t imagine being as callous about gifts as you mention Arthur to be. And I can less imagine my buying for myself – someone else’s gift to me.

That reminds me – I sent out a couple of more packages to you today, sweetheart – nothing much – but I don’t want to lug it around. One was a book of photos I came across in Stolberg. It was an album depicting scenes taken from the Graf Zeppelin when it circled the world some years ago. I was going to try to cut the photos out and then decided to send the whole thing back.

Front Cover of Book which measures about 13.5 inches by 9.5 inches


Introduction... Translation Anyone?

This page shows 8 of the 265 photos in this book

The other is a men’s toilet set I got a few days back. I don’t remember whether or not I mentioned it to you. It was sent me by a former patient of mine who now lives in Chicago. I have no use for it here. But I did remove the hair brush, darling, just to play around with the hair I have left. It would be senseless to send the brush home and then return some day and find I have no hair left to brush. Don’t you agree?

It seems as if my timing on your Birthday Card was good. It was pure guess work, though. I’m glad you liked it, dear. As I remember it – I bought it a long while ago back in Liege. And I was lucky to find it – by the way, because Birthday cards and such – just don’t head the priority list in Europe these days.

Darling – one of my boys just came over to get me and I have to trot back to the Dispensary to do a little work on someone. It was so swell hearing from you again – no matter the date – and I know that you still love me as much as I love you – as strongly, as warmly – as expectantly. My love for now to the folks, sweetheart.

And all my deepest love


about the Graf Zeppelin

The information that follows about the Graf Zeppelin was extracted directly from the blog Airships developed and maintained by Dan Grossman of Atlanta, Georgia.

First, a letter from a reader of the Airships blog helped explain where the book that Greg sent to Wilma originated...
My mother who is also german, swiss tells me her parents who were heavy smokers collected cigarette coupons from a particular brand (still not sure which but probably out of business long time ago like the zeppelins) and would cash the coupons in for the pictures to fill the album which was also provided by the cigarrette company.
Now, some of the history of the Graf Zeppelin as researched by Dan Grossman.
Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, (July 8, 1838 - March 8, 1917), was not only the innovator and driving force behind the construction of the first zeppelin airships, he also piloted and commanded most of the early ships himself. Certainly the most successful zeppelin ever built, LZ-127 was christened “Graf Zeppelin” by the daughter of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin on July 8, 1928, which would have been the late count’s 90th birthday. By the time of Graf Zeppelin’s last flight, nine years later, the ship had flown over a million miles, on 590 flights, carrying thousands of passengers and hundreds of thousands of pounds of frreight and mail, with safety and speed. Graf Zeppelin circled the globe and was famous throughout the world, and inspired an international zeppelin fever in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Graf Zeppelin made the very first commercial passenger flight across the Atlantic, departing Friedrichshafen at 7:54 AM on October 11, 1928, and landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey on October 15, 1928, after a flight of 111 hours and 44 minutes. The ship carried 40 crew members under the command of Hugo Eckener, and 20 passengers. The ship’s first transatlantic crossing almost ended in disaster when it encountered a strong squall line on the morning of October 13th. Captain Eckener had uncharacteristically entered the storm at full power — he was known to reduce speed in bad weather — and the ship pitched up violently in the hands of an inexperienced elevatorman. Eckener sent a repair team of four men — including his son — to repair the covering in flight.

Eckener also made the difficult decision to send out a distress call, knowing that he was risking the reputation of his brand new ship, and perhaps the entire zeppelin enterprise. The distress signal was soon picked up by the press, and newspapers around the world ran sensational stories about the looming destruction of the overdue Graf Zeppelin on its maiden voyage.

The emergency repairs were successful, but the ship encountered a second squall front near Bermuda. Graf Zeppelin made it through the second storm, even with the temporary repairs to the damaged fin, and reached the American coast on the morning of October 15th. After a detour over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, to show Graf Zeppelin off to the wildly enthusiastic American public, Eckener brought his damaged ship to a safe landing at the United States naval base at Lakehurst, New Jersey on the evening of October 15, 1928. Graf Zeppelin was overdue, damaged, and had run out of food and water, but Eckener, his crew, and his passengers were greeted like heroes with a ticker-tape parade along New York City’s Broadway.

From Greg's Book, the North American Flight in 1928

After two weeks of repairs to the damaged fin, Graf Zeppelin departed Lakehurst on October 29, 1928 for its return to Germany. The return flight took 71 hours and 49 minutes, or just under three days; the ocean liners of the day took twice as long to carry passengers across the Atlantic.

In 1929, Graf Zeppelin made perhaps its most famous flight; a round-the-world voyage covering 21,2500 miles in five legs from Lakehurst to Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen to Tokyo, Tokyo to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Lakehurst, and then Lakehurt to Friedrichshafen again. The Lakehurst to Lakehurst voyage had taken just 12 days and 11 minutes of flying time, and brought worldwide attention and fame to Graf Zeppelin and its commander, Hugo Eckener.

From Greg's Book, Route Around the World in 1929

By the summer of 1931, after many pioneering flights which demonstrated the airship’s impressive capabilities and captured the enthusiasm of the world, Graf Zeppelin began regularly scheduled commercial service on the route between Germany and South America. Graf Zeppelin crossed the South Atlantic 18 times in 1932, and made a similar number of flights in 1933.

The Graf Zeppelin was recruited as a tool of Nazi propaganda remarkably soon after the National Socialist takeover of power in early 1933. Only three months after Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor, the Propaganda Ministry ordered Graf Zeppelin to fly over Berlin as part of the government’s May 1, 1933 celebration of the “Tag de Nationalen Arbeit,” the Nazi version of the May Day celebration of labor.

Later in May, 1933, Graf Zeppelin flew to Rome in connection with Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ first official meeting with the fascist government of Italy; Goebbels invited Italian Air Minister Italo Balbo to join him on a flight over Rome. In September, 1933, Graf Zeppelin flew over the Reichsparteitag congress at Nuremberg (the “1933 Nuremberg Rally’) to dramatically herald Hitler’s appearance before the crowd.

In 1935 and 1936, Graf Zeppelin’s schedule was almost exclusively devoted to passenger and mail service between Germany and Brazil, with crossings back and forth almost every two weeks between April and December. Over its career, Graf Zeppelin crossed the South Atlantic 136 times; it was first regularly scheduled, nonstop, intercontinental airline service in the history of the world. Throughout the remainder of its career Graf Zeppelin was ordered to make numerous propaganda flights, occasionally in concert with LZ-129 Hindenburg after that ship was launched in 1936.

Graf Zeppelin was over the Canary Islands on the last day of a South American flight from Brazil to Germany when it received news of the Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Captain Hans von Schiller withheld the news from his passengers, and told them of the disaster only after the ship’s safe landing in Germany. Graf Zeppelin landed in Friedrichshafen on May 8, 1937, and never carried a paying passenger again. The ship made only one additional flight, on June 18, 1937, from Friedrichshafen to Frankfurt, where she remained on display — all her hydrogen removed — until she was broken up on the orders of Hermann Goering’s Luftwaffe in March, 1940.

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