20 May, 2012

20 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
20 May, 1945      0810
Leipzig, Germany

Wilma, darling –

After I finish writing this I’m leaving for Weimar, which I never quite got to visit so far. Strictly speaking, I’m not going there to visit – but to buy some clothes at the officers’ Px there. It’s about 100 km (60 miles) from here. What in the world I want to but clothes for, I don’t know, but hell, I’ve got to be dressed up when I get back to see you, dear. I got an E.T.O. jacket when I was in Brussels, and I need a pair of trousers to match. We dress up more now – on Corps orders – to impress the Germans a bit, I guess. They’ve never been able to understand how officers and E.M. wear the same clothes all the time. It was definitely not so in their Army – or any other Army I guess. The Parisians were shocked too, to find officers dressed the way we were when we were on pass. It was combat clothes, of course, but they said the German officers made us look shabby by comparison. But what the heck – we won – and that’s what counts they way I see it.

Speaking of Paris – reminds me of your reference to my condition, darling, in the letter of 9 May which I got yesterday p.m. The only picture I can think of with me in it is the one at the sidewalk café. In answer to one question – yes – I had had a recent haircut and that’s the way the Army usually dishes them out. It all depends on the mood of our barber. But I hadn’t lost 10 lbs, darling – although I was plenty tired.

I enjoyed your letter, dear, and I wasn’t surprised to read that Boston had celebrated very much. Yes – I am anxious to get going, but my letters of the past week or so have certainly made that clear to you, I suspect. You bet it’s a good thing I wasn’t in New York trying to call you. Boy – I’d have been mad trying to get you while you were chatting on the phone – although I’d like to be mad right now. If that happens, sweetheart, don’t worry I’ll have your call cut off, you know – I’ve saved one dollar in U.S. money – just for that call – although more than likely all we’d have time for is to get down a couple of telegrams. Boy! Am I getting ahead of myself!

Say, I’m all mixed up about those people in Moscow. Apparently the family thinks I know one from the other. I don’t – but it’s nice of you to trouble yourself. Off hand I don’t believe any of our mail is allowed to go in that direction and I’m pretty certain there’s no mechanism set up for it, but I’ll speak with our Sgt.

And I’m sorry about Mother’s Day, dear. I know you’ve been busy and I didn’t want to bother you. I thought the easiest way was to have Eleanor order some flowers and let it go at that – and I did the same for the folk’s anniversary. I guess it’s too late now. And that reminds me, darling, I once asked you to remind me of anniversary and other days connected with your folks. You won’t forget, will you? I want to be a part of anything connected with them and right now I have to depend entirely on you. Once I’m back – I can give you more close support. I’m tired too of this long distance stuff. I’m kind of hoping for September at the latest – What was that about a Fall wedding?

And it’s so sweet of you to try to figure out my case. It’s difficult – and I can’t even do it from here. As I wrote – I have 67 points. I may get more; it seems we haven’t got credit for the Air offensive of Great Britain – we were attached to the 8th Air Force; also – we should get another star for the Battle of the Bulge. But all that doesn’t mean much. It’s the breaks that count. All I know is that I love you more strongly each day and want to get home, marry you and stay home – in or out of the Army. I don’t give a damn – as long as we’re married. It will come through – just as everything else has – and when it does – we’ll be ever so happy, darling. All for now – must be off to see the site of the Republic – at Weimar. Love to the folks – and

All my love is yours,


about the Weimar Republic and the City of Weimar

The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the federal republic and parliamentary representative democracy established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government. It was named after Weimar, the city where the constitutional assembly took place. Its official name was German Realm (Deutsches Reich), which is often mistranslated into English as German Empire, or rendered by the partial translation German Reich.

Following World War I, the republic emerged from the German Revolution in November 1918. In 1919, a national assembly convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the German Reich was written, then adopted on 11 August of that same year. The ensuing period of liberal democracy lapsed in the early 1930s, leading to the ascent of the nascent Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler in 1933. The legal measures taken by the Nazi government in February and March 1933, commonly known as Gleichschaltung ("coordination") meant that the government could legislate contrary to the constitution. The republic nominally continued to exist until 1945, as the constitution was never formally repealed. However, the measures taken by the Nazis in the early part of their rule rendered the constitution irrelevant. Thus, 1933 is usually seen as the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Hitler's Third Reich.

The cultural heritage of the city of Weimar is vast. Besides giving its name to the Weimar Republic period in German politics, the city was also the focal point of the German Enlightenment and home of the leading characters of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Goethe and Schiller. The city was also the birthplace of the Bauhaus movement, founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, with artists Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, and Lyonel Feininger teaching in Weimar's Bauhaus School.

In 1937, the Nazis constructed the Buchenwald concentration camp, only eight kilometres from Weimar's city centre. The slogan Jedem das Seine (literally "to each his own", but figuratively "everyone gets what he deserves") was placed over the camp's main entrance gate. Between July 1938 and April 1945, some 240,000 people were incarcerated in the camp by the Nazi regime, including 168 Western Allied POWs. The number of deaths at Buchenwald is estimated at 56,545. The Buchenwald concentration camp provided slave labour for local industry (arms industry of Wilhelm-Gustloff-Werk).

The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Weimar in April 1945, and the city surrendered to the US 80th Infantry Division on April 12, 1945. The city ended up in the Soviet zone of occupation, however, so US troops were soon replaced with Russian forces. From 1945 to 1950, the Soviet Union used the occupied Buchenwald concentration camp to imprison defeated Nazis and other Germans. The camp slogan remained Jedem das Seine. On 6 January 1950, the Soviets handed over Buchenwald to the East German Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Weimar was part of the German Democratic Republic (DDR, East Germany) from 1949 to 1990. On 2 September 2004, a fire broke out at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. The library contained a 13,000-volume collection including Goethe's masterpiece Faust, in addition to a music collection of the Duchess. An authentic Lutheran Bible from 1534 was saved from the fire. The damage stretched into the millions of dollars. The number of books in this historic library exceeded 1,000,000, of which 40,000 to 50,000 were destroyed past recovery.

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