08 May, 2012

08 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
8 May, 1945      0825

Dearest sweetheart –

Happy V-E day to you and the family! I guessed wrong – but I’m glad my error was one month to the good. Despite the fact that the past week’s events made the end undramatic – the full impact of what this all means is difficult to analyze. But it’s a wonderful feeling, darling, and – I hope you get the same reaction I got: I somehow feel immeasurably more close to you now. Up to today – it has always been a question of how I’ll get home – after the war over here is over. Now, dear – the war is over, and I’m so ready for the next move! They can’t help but send us back to the States – regardless of what they do with us afterwards. Eleven months of continuous combat is hard to beat in any theater – and we should be given a break. And even it it’s a question of the Pacific afterwards – and I’m hoping that the M.C.’s will get a further break – we’ll still be in the States a few months, I’m sure. The point is that after a 21 day leave or furlough, they have to re-equip, retrain etc – at some Camp – and from what we’ve heard – that’s about a 10 or 12 week job.

But, darling, I’m getting way ahead of myself. I may be all wet; well, I’d rather paint the worst possible picture and then be surprised. Right now – the one big thought in my mind is – ‘when do I get back to you?’ Gosh – sweetheart – that will soon become a reality. Does it frighten you a bit? It if does – shake it off and remember that through all these months of waiting, we’ve been constant, we’ve been in love – we’ve been each other’s prime interest. And we were that before I left. I’m going to see you, hold you, kiss you and tell you I love you – and it’s going to be the most natural thing in the world, too. And why shouldn’t it be, too, when all I’ve thought and dreamed about is you and us?

Good Lord – to be home, see familiar places, wear a shirt – even Army – with a tie, to wear a cap and not a helmet, to ride around and feel free for a while – even – all that and you, sweetheart – hell – I’m already overcome. Now I’m sorry I sold my car because I won’t have anything to run around in – but I’ll get something.

And we’ll have so much to discuss – just the two of us. Marriage – as far as I’m concerned – will have top priority – I mean the subject of marriage. I don’t know exactly how you feel or will feel, darling. I know there’ll be a half-a-hundred ‘ifs’. But that’s something you’ll have to decide. I know I’ve changed a lot in that respect – as have so many of the other officers who aren’t married and have fiancées. The fact is I’d love to marry you pronto, darling – but as I’ve just said – you’ll have to do the rationalizing. A soldier coming home to his fiancée after a long time away – isn’t quite capable of good rationalization.

And all this because V.E. day is finally here this p.m. at 1500 when Churchill speaks – the two other officers and I are going to start drinking. Yes, I know dear – there doesn’t seem to be any point – and yet – VE comes once in a lifetime, and I want to remember it – one way or another.

Here is Churchill making that speech...

Right now – I’m going to drive up to Battalion and see what’s new there. I should be leaving here officially – in the next couple of days, I think.

Meanwhile – sweetheart – I can with justice say – sit tight just a little while longer – because I’m sure to be coming home to you soon. Hold on, honey, hold on!!

So long for now, dear, love to everyone at home – and

All my sincerest, deepest love to you
P.S. And I really love you !!

Route of the Question Mark


(A) Helfta to (B) Halle to (C) Leipzig, Germany (25 miles)
16 April to 30 April 1945

Leipzig... The War finally came to an end, and we celebrated V-E Day by drinking the cognac, wine and assorted liqueurs that we had been carrying with us for weeks in anticipation of this event. The first three graders pulled guard that night so all felt quite secure. It was fitting for the War to end here as our quarters were the grandest we ever had, the luxurious offices of the directors of Stöhr & Co., a great textile firm. Steam heat, electric lights, running water, rugs, typewriters for everyone, desks and chairs in our rooms, almost private and (hold on to your hat) an elevator, the best addition ever; a swimming pool with Pfc [Leonidas W.] ZOIS in charge, assisted by Pvt [John] CUTTER [Jr] and Pvt [George] JOHN; a softball team that is still trying to win a game; The Polish pianist providing music with our meals; the kitchen crew and its famous quotation... Lt [Michael C.] MALANE asked, when he saw a fly trap rapidly filling, "What are you going to do with the flies now that the trap is full?" Answered a cook, "Why we take the trap outside, open the top, and let them go!" Now I ask you! T/5 [Marvin E. or Walter B.] JOHNSON left us for the States, 100 points to his credit and the envy of everyone. 1sr Sgt [Stanley F.] KOWALSKI, T/Sgt Albert W. or Roland C.] WRIGHT, T/Sgt [Manuel C.] OLIVIERA and Pfc [Donald E. or William K.] SMITH, are sweating it out, all have over 85, Good Luck and Happy Landings! Cpl [James E.] DOWLING and Pvt [Dennis J.] HAYES, both over the 42 age limit, have signed their five page request for discharge. Pfc [Daniel] HOLZER, blowing taps every night, lulling us all to sleep. T/5 [George W.] CHEETY wished he had given his correct age when inducted into the Army, 40's not close enough to pay off. Yes, it's over, as we have all the time in the world to do NO fraternizing.

From the Normandy beaches
to Leipzig, Germany...
Distance travelled --- 1425 miles!!!!

Never a Dull Moment!



about Stöhr & Co. and a Board Member,
Walter Cramer

Stöhr & Co. Aktiengesellschaft (AG) was founded by Eduard Stöhr in Leipzig in 1880. It was also incorporated in 1880 and is headquartered in Mönchengladbach, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Today top quality yarn for customers all around the world is produced at the certified locations Mönchengladbach and Famalicao (Portugal). The success of this ongoing work at a high standard is reflected not least in the development of new, additional capacities.

Stöhr & Co. - Quarters described in The Route of the Question Mark
with Front and Side shown below

The dynamic development of Stöhr & Co. AG resulted in the establishment of Kammgarnspinnerei Stöhr GmbH in 1976, which since that year has been the umbrella for all worsted yarn activities of the AG (company limited by shares). Stöhr is one of the 100 largest companies in Germany and all Europe. The company is active in Germany and exports its products in The United Kingdom, Turkey, Portugal and France. Its production operations in Romania are carried out by Stoehr Rom Srl; in Portugal, by Stöhr Portugal-Companhia Industrial Textil, Lda. In addition, the company’s German subsidiary, Kammgarnspinnerei Stöhr GmbH, produces worsted yarns, both pure and dyed, from 100% wool or a combination of wool and other materials such as Lycra, polyester, viscose, linen, mohair and polyamides. The products are used in the manufacture of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, automobile interiors and cushions and pillows.

Wilhelm Bernardo Walter Cramer was a German textile merchant from Leipzig. In 1919, Cramer became managing director of the Kammgarnspinnerei Gautzsch AG, a worsted yarn spinning mill. Four years later, in 1923, he was on the board of directors of the Stöhr Worsted Spinning Mill (Leipziger Kammgarnspinnerei Stöhr & Co. AG), another corporation in the same industry. Walter Cramer had a wide range of contacts both in Germany and abroad.

After 1933 he dissociated himself from the National Socialists. In the first half of the 1940s, Cramer took part in civilian resistance against the Nazi régime with his friend, Leipzig's former mayor, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler (1884-1945).Cramer was married to Charlotte Weber, with whom he had two daughters and a son. He was well acquainted with some of the generals and officers involved in the plans for a coup, and increasingly condemned Hitler’s conduct of the war. In his firm Cramer distributed copies of the sermons of Cardinal von Galen opposing the National Socialists’ murder actions against mentally ill people. Cramer made intensive efforts to help persecuted Jews in Germany, as well as Jewish employees in his firm’s branches in southeastern Europe.

At Goerdeler’s request, Cramer offered his services for the planned coup as political commissioner in military district IV (Dresden). After the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler at Wolf's Lair in East Prussia on 20 July 1944, Cramer was arrested in Leipzig on 22 July 1944. He was brought from Dresden to the prison at 3, Lehrter Straße in Berlin and subjected to severe maltreatment in the Gestapo headquarters at 8, Prinz-Albrecht-Straße. Later he was transferred to Tegel Prison in Berlin. Walter Cramer was found guilty of treason and high treason and was sentenced to death by the People’s Court under Roland Freisler on November 14, 1944. He was hanged at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin the same day.

Walter Cramer
1 May 1886 - 14 November 1944

In 1945, a street in the Gohlis neighbourhood of Leipzig was named Walter-Cramer-Straße after him. The City of Leipzig also honored Walter Cramer with a monument in the Johannapark in 1996.

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