15 April, 2012

15 April, 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
15 April, 1945 0925
Germany

Wilma, darling –

It’s another Sunday morning away from you – and I really feel cheated on Sundays because that’s when I could spend most of my time with you. But we’ll catch up by concentration – right?

Now half of this month is gone and the war still goes on. I still maintain it will fold on or about 15 June. Rumors – in the last 24 hours – have been a dime-a-dozen and they include stories about what outfits will be broken up into Military Government units, which will go to the Pacific and by what route, etc. The very hottest one was that this Corps was seeking billets in Paris, preparatory to what – no one knew. Whatever happens to this outfit if it is broken up, I still remain a medical officer and the Army will have to give me some sort of job. By all rights – I’m about ready for transfer to a hospital. I’ve had the necessary time with a front line outfit to warrant it; the only reason holding it back is my age. They’re transferring the doctors who are older than I – which is as it should be. But – from what I gather – the transfers are to General hospitals in Com.Z – where the staffs are pretty well established and where an M.C. returning from a line outfit is told that he’s been out of touch with things and he’d better stay up on the medical or convalescent ward and get oriented. He probably gets nothing else but oriented. Anyway, I’ll still sit tight and see what happens. To date I’ve filled out at least a dozen questionnaires and to date – they all end right there.

I told you about the massacred slave labor people here – yesterday, dear. There’s been one slight note of justice meted out so far. Our Commanding General had 300 of the leading citizens in town brought in – store owners, manufacturers etc. They were organized in teams of 4 and made to improvise stretchers. They were then given the task of lugging the corpses away, one by one, over quite a distance thru the center of town where everyone could see – and from there – to a common burying ground which was being dug by another crew of Germans. No German was allowed to wear gloves when picking the bodies up. M.P.’s were all over the place, supervising; and believe me – those Germans didn’t like that task one bit. I stood around watching for some time, as did hundreds of other troops who kept coming and going. I think the Germans in this city, at least, are being made to feel our contempt for them and their type of civilization better then if we lined them up and shot them. They walk with bowed, ashamed, accused faces – and I failed to see any trace of the Master Race on any of them.

In the evening, dear, we had a party. Why? I’ll tell you. Usually – or always rather – we eat with the men – or rather at a table set aside a bit. This set-up has us living in a nice house – all by ourselves. So we decided we’d have a fish-fry and use the dining room. Everyone caught the spirit, but damn it – we only caught 4 fish – and there were 10 of us. And trout is not a large fish. We managed to get hold of some eggs, though – and we had some sardines, tuna fish etc and made hors d’oeuvres. The table was set with the house’s best linen, silver and glassware. We found all sorts of whiskeys, liqueurs etc – and we sat around and had a good time for ourselves. Later we played Bridge. What an odd war! It has done a lot of things to all of us and one thing in particular it has done for me. I think I have a better appreciation of some of the simple things in life, simple – but nice; plain and homey things. But a person must have an understanding of such little things before he can be fully aware of and appreciative of the bigger things.

Together with you, sweetheart, I believe we’re going to have a fine and rich life. Our love for each other has not only endured, but deepened and that love is the basic start. Beyond that – we both have good ideas – and by gosh – we’ll carry them out.

Have to stop now, dear. My love to the folks – and

All my everlasting love
Greg.

P.S. Enclosed makes 24.
Love,
G

* TIDBIT *

about Eva Braun


Eva Anna Paula Braun was born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany to school teacher Friedrich Braun and Franziska Kronberger. She was born the middle of three sisters into a Catholic family on 6 February 1912 - three lively, pretty girls. She was educated at a lyceum, then for one year at a business school in a convent where she had average grades and a talent for athletics. After completing her studies, she worked as a receptionist at a medical office. At age 17 she took a job working for Heinrich Hoffmann, the official photographer for the Nazi Party. Initially employed as a shop assistant and sales clerk, she soon learned how to use a camera and develop photos. She met Hitler, 23 years her senior, at Hoffmann's studio in Munich in October 1929.

They began seeing each other romantically around 1931. Although the two took a liking to each other, Hitler courted other women at the same time, some of whom were driven to suicide. Braun, too, resorted to such measures twice, with the first attempt on 1 Nov 1932 and the second on 28 May 1935. After the second suicide attempt, Hitler seemed to have become more committed to her, providing her with a mansion in Munich, a Mercedes sedan, a chauffeur, and a maid. On 30 Jan 1933, when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, she sat in the VIP section as his secretary.

By 1936, she was living with Hitler at Berghof near Berchtesgaden in southern Germany, and two years later, in 1938, Hitler named her his primary heir. Nevertheless, Hitler and Braun never appeared in public as a couple, and the German people would not learn of their relationship until after the war. Although close to Hitler, she was not allowed to be near any conversations between Hitler and government and military officials.

Photographs of Berghof
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

According to Hitler's chauffeur Erich Kempka, Eva Braun was "the unhappiest woman in Germany. She spent most of her time waiting for Hitler." He had always kept her out of sight - as soon as guests arrived, he almost invariably banished her to her room - although she did often act in the capacity of a hostess at dinner parties with Hitler's inner circle. Joachim Fest tells in his biography of Hitler how Eva Braun continued to be kept in semi concealment during the years, stealing in by side entrances and using rear staircases, contenting herself with a photograph of Hitler when he left her alone at mealtimes. But gradually she accepted her frustrating role - content to be sole woman companion of the great man. Her relationship with him was strained by his lack of time and energy for her, particularly after 1943, and over time had picked up drinking and smoking as an outlet, which displeased Hitler.

In mid-1944, Braun began appearing in public with Hitler, but those engagements were limited especially as Hitler became more reclusive after the failed July Plot assassination attempt. On 15 April 1945, as Soviet troops neared Berlin, Germany, Braun traveled to Berlin to be with Hitler. Underground at the Führerbunker below the Reich Chancellery, she refused repeated attempts by various people to take her to a safer location.

Layout of Führerbunker

In the morning of 29 April, at the age of 33, wearing a dark silk dress, Braun married Hitler in a small civil ceremony in the bunker with Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann acting as witnesses. At about 1300 hours on 30 Apr, together with her new husband, she bid farewell to the others at the bunker. At about 1530 hours, she committed suicide by ingesting cyanide while Hitler also killed himself. Their bodies were burned in the garden of the Reich Chancellery. Their charred remains were found by the Soviets, who secretly buried them in Magdeburg, East Germany. In Apr 1970, the remains were exhumed, cremated, and dispersed into the Elbe River.

Here is a video called "Eva Braun... a life".

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