02 April, 2012

02 April 1945

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
2 April, 1945      1700
Germany

Dearest sweetheart –

Now, Now – I know dear, but I just can’t help it – honestly. On days like this – V-mail has to fill the bill. O.K.?

And this place – just so you won’t think we don’t have variety – is an inn – a typical German inn – with hunting house, shot-guns, trophies etc. Just as cozy and comfortable spot as you could imagine and situated on the top of a high hill – overlooking the city below. I’ve got a nice room – with a bed. I mooched around and found a closet full of sheets etc. so I’m already for a good sleep time, dear. Oh – yes – I made the bed myself.

This may be the Hunting Lodge to which Greg referred.
It became a Protestant student residence called Vilmarhaus.





Tomorrow, darling, perhaps I’ll be able to write a regular letter. On top of everything – we lost another hour last nite – double summer time. And now, dear, I’ll say so long. Remember I love you deeply – where-ever I go. Love to the folks.

All my everlasting love,
Greg

Route of the Question Mark

[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

(A) Gisselberg to (B) Marburg, Germany (2.5 miles)
30 March to April 2 1945

April 2... Ober-Marsburg. A village on top of a mountain, and it looked as if it had never heard of the war, yet the dance hall where we lived had been turned into a factory for manufacturing submarine parts. T/4 [Cecil W.] ALEXANDER dynamited a stream, and the Motor section had a fish fry. T/5 [George W.] CHEETY dressed up in a German uniform and posed for photographs.

* TIDBIT *

about The Bombing of Nordhausen

Nordhausen was a sub-camp of the concentration camp Dora-Mittelbau. This camp was created by the SS for prisoners too weak or too ill to work in the tunnels of Dora on the fabrication of the German V1 and V2 rockets. Following the Nazi terminology, Nordhausen was a "Vernichtungslager", an extermination camp for ill prisoners. The extermination methods used by the SS were not the same as the ones used in the great extermination camps: there was no gas chamber but, in Nordhausen, the prisoners died by starvation and total lack of medical care. The conditions of life in Nordhausen were so terrible that the few survivors often said that "If Dora was the hell of Buchenwald, Nordhausen was the hell of Dora"...

The SS used the Boelcke Kaserne, a former barracks in Nordhausen city, as a dumping ground for hopeless prisoner cases. The camp of Nordhausen was a huge complex of installations and hangers made of concrete. There were absolutely no sanitary installations and the inmates had to stay in the hangars nights and days, without any food until they died. Even for a man in healthy condition, this could lead very fast to extreme weakness.For prisoners who were already exhausted and ill, these cruel conditions of life meant quick although miserable death.

Because the camp was installed in concrete buildings and hangars, the US Air Force thought that it was a munitions depot of the German Army. On the night of 2 April 1945 the Allies sent 247 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to attack what were actually barracks, not munitions storage, in two nighttime fire raids. 1,500 sick prisoners were killed when they were forced by the SS to stay in the hangars which were set ablaze by the bombs. 2 Lancasters were lost. As part of the raid, three-quarters of the town of Nordhausen was destroyed and approximately 8,800 people died.

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