18 March, 2012

18 March 1945

438th AAA AW BN

APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
18 March, 1945      0840
Dearest Sweetheart –

This is pretty early for me – but it’s Sunday today and the Staff Meeting didn’t last long. I’ve already shaved and I’m waiting for sick-call. Then I’ll probably go out to visit one of the batteries – unless something else turns up here.

Yesterday was a dull day with nothing particular happening. Oh – I managed to get a bath – in a bath tub, too. Funny thing about Europe, but bath tubs certainly aren’t common – and even in the better homes – bath tubs are often missing. I don’t know how these people keep clean. Anyway I did get cleaned up and dressed up; that means a fresh uniform – field – of course, but even at that I was all ready to visit you, dear. Gee – it’s over 9 months now since I’ve worn anything but combat shoes, O.D. trousers, shirt – no tie, and a field jacket. It’s very simple though. You’ll have to keep checking up on me, dear, after we’re married. I’ll probably get hold of one suit and tie and just keep wearing it.

Again, darling, there was no mail at all for me from the States. I got one V-mail from my cousin Jack Alexander who is with Third Army – still in France. He was studying or getting ready to study dentistry, I guess, when the Army got him. He had had 4 years at the U of Alabama and one year at Dental School. Anyway – he’s now a corporal in an Ordnance Bn – but he’s in the medical detachment as a dental assistant.

You mentioned once – in a fairly recent letter, dear – that you wonder what it will be like when I come home. It can be a frightening thought – I agree with you there. Will it be the same – you want to know – you and millions with you. I wonder, too, sweetheart, – and it’s natural. If people who have been married, lived together and had children – wonder about it – certainly we have a right to. But our problem is not one of re-adjustment – the word so much in use these days, for strictly speaking – we have yet to be adjusted. What I mean is that whether you wait 3 months – or a couple of years – the plunge into marriage is always a big step, and that is our only problem. All this elapsed time has served to make us know each other a whole lot more – and marriage is the logical conclusion. I have no fears whatsoever about what you’ll be like when I get back – I trust my judgement and I know I would have married you had I remained at home. Sure – I’m getting dimmer in my ability to picture you – etc., but I’m relying on that initial judgement – backed up by my knowledge about you through our correspondence. No – dear – our only problem is one which every couple has to face and that is – one of adjustment. That can be answered – only by marriage – and I feel quite certain we can hit it off. I say that not lightly, for I’ve given it a lot of thought myself.

What irritates me particularly is to read and hear about married couples who are doing all the wondering and worrying. Damn it – if 2 people married and got along – why should a wife worry about her husband? Sure – he’s been to war – but he’ll be goddam glad to get back to her – unless he didn’t love her in the 1st place and uses the war as an excuse. And why should a husband worry about his wife? She’s either faithful – and he need not worry – or she isn’t – and she’s no good. I just can’t agree with everyone who maintains the step from Army life to civilian status will be a big one. It ought to be as easy as rolling off a log – and anyone – outside of the sick – who says otherwise is merely looking for an excuse to ‘act up’.

And with that – sweetheart – I’ll have to sign off. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble with me – or I hope not. Just give me the chance, and I’ll show you how adjusted I can be. Love to the folks, darling, and

My deepest love,


about The Canadian Rabbi

Honorary Captain Rabbi Samuel Cass
Cleve, Germany - 18 March 1945

Rabbi Samuel Cass was born in Toronto in 1908. He served as the senior Jewish chaplain in the Canadian Army from 1942 to 1946, and by 1944 he was stationed overseas at the Canadian military headquarters.

On 18 March 1945 Rabbi Samuel Cass of Vancouver, Canada conducted the first worship service celebrated on German territory by Jewish personnel of the 1st Canadian Army near Cleve, Germany. Rabbi Cass assisted with the reorganization of Jewish communities liberated by Canadian forces in Belgium and Holland. He also worked with Holocaust survivors after the war.

For Canada and Jewish Canadians, the Second World War was the Jewish community’s most sustained war effort ever. Out of a Canadian Jewish population of approximately 167,000 Jewish men, women and children, over 16,880 volunteered for active service in the army, air force, and navy. There were an additional 2,000 Jews who enlisted, but who did not declare their Jewish identity in order to avert danger if captured by the Nazi forces.

Of the 16,880 who served, which constituted more than one-fifth of the entire Jewish male population in the country, 10,440 served in the army, 5,870 in the air force, and 570 in the navy. 1,971 Jewish soldiers received military awards. Over 420 were buried with the Star of David engraved on graves scattered in 125 cemeteries. Thousands returned home with serious physical and mental wounds.

Saskatchewan Jews were among the first to volunteer during both World War I and II, and many lost their lives in the European trenches. The province honoured those who sacrificed their lives, including a number of Jewish heroes, by naming several lakes and mountains of the vast northern region after them.

The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network provides the date of death and place of burial of many of the Canadian Jewish servicemen who died serving in the Canadian Armed Forces in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.


  1. Rabbi Samuel Cass was my great uncle.

  2. You and your family must be very proud of your heritage.