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Danzig-Neufahrwasser, March 14th, 1945
My dear little sweetie, my dearest little daughter! All my dear ones!
Every chance I get to write to you, I take. I'll also take advantage of the fact that I'll be in Danzig again on march 15 to see the orthopedist (I'm having inlaid soles made because, according to the physician I am still "useful" for war purposes, in spite of the fact that I have severely flat and spread feet). At the same time I can hand in the letter at the post office.
I was in Danzig today, but there was artillery shelling. Hotel Continental got a direct hit. The refugees were dining at that time;, the bodies were awful. I cried when I saw the children's bodies.
All of the shops were closed; they've even put refugees in the cinemas! A large contingent is digging in for the defense of Danzig. A woman on the tram gave me a coupon worth 1,000 grams of bread, and I bought a fresh loaf . At a butcher, after a long talk, the woman gave me, 100 grams of sausage. At the abattoir I bought (45 Pfennig a pound!) 20 pounds of beef. At our barracks we immediately made them into meat balls and fried them in sunflower-seed oil. Delicious! To have enough to eat again! So you see, dear mother, I still have a guardian angel, who will protect me in the future. It is still not known when we will be going into battle! But it will have to be some day soon! Maybe we'll be able to get out of this lousy trap before that time comes. We are based near Danzig harbor, but they'll ship out the wounded and refugees first! We will be last, maybe. It is a horrible feeling to be in this position. Adlershorst was under heavy fire today! We have to prepare for everything, and that includes being taken prisoner! But dear mother, don't be afraid, don't be sad. When this happens, you must learn to live with it, but we will be 100.000 men. Endless numbers of soldiers, Volkssturm commando, marines, Hitler Jugend etc. are stationed here. Trudel's fate is a hard one: I enclose a card: Erich is missing or dead. I fear the latter; I know this business. In this chaos they don't bother with informing the relatives; we have, as far as I know, had the same problem over here. The dead are only buried days later. Please comfort Trudel, but don't mention my fears!
Here the situation looks catastrophic; military everywhere. We must succeed in holding Danzig and get through or go out by ship! The pressure from the Russians is strong here as well! But we hope, we hope!
That my thoughts are with you is beyond question. I miss you all very much, but the war is unforgiving. One day it will end. Be brave, every one of you, and don't forget your daddy! Dear mother, you have my bank and savings books. If need be, you can always sign my name. You don't need an authorization. You are acting on my behalf, so just go on. I hope you have a decent place to stay and won't starve or freeze. I worry about this. Make sure you have some food stashed away. If it should come to a siege, try to remain in contact with the abattoir (perhaps through Rudi). What else is new? I am longing for mail. I cannot write to everyone anymore. No time, also blackouts intervals, patrols I have to go on, etc. I will not write tomorrow. We want to have a company feast because two sides of beef just arrived; it's more bearable then! Give my love to all of you, especially parents, brothers and sisters, and thousands of kisses from your dad.
My dear Helga, stay pretty and good, and help your mother where you can. School is not important right now.