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Adlershorst, March 2nd, 1945
My dear little sweetie, my dearest little daughter!
I had to make a trip to Danzig today in heavy snow. It wasn't pleasant, like yesterday; we only got back this evening. But I don't regret this trip because we met with the mail officer in Danzig and-to my delight-I finally received your long-awaited letter of February 19, as well as the card from father. Now I can relax and sleep better. I worried about you! Completely listless, without any energy, I woke up every morning, curse this inhumane war, whose terrible realities I have come to know all too well, and whose impact I will never forget.
What unimaginable misery I have witnessed, not only in the military - but enough for now. When I have more time, I'll write in more detail. I took part in the raid on the youth hostel, your former workplace. I dragged a Russian who'd been shot out of a fire, because we wanted to interrogate him about the strength of his formation. But as I said before, when I have more time, I'll say more.
I can't concentrate now, for I'm with twenty-two men in barracks, the lights switch on and off, and there's a lot of noise. Card players fill the table, not a great situation for someone who loves peace and quiet. I am saddened, my dear sweetie, that you had such a perilous journey, but the main thing is that you are safe. And I am counting on you, my dear mother, to do everything to keep all of you from harm. My prayers and blessings are with you always. I tell myself that if I ever get out of this witch's brew alive like you did, I, - and I dare say all of us - can get through anything else. The main thing is good health; the rest will come naturally. I left all my things in E., which is nearby (I had only a few things with me. The rest had to be left when we evacuated; besides, they would only have been in the way). I am done with everything now. It's very primitive here, but we have to get by, and so we get by!
What will my fate be? I will be posted on Monday; that is to say, Neumann and I are the rest of our unit. There are only eighteen men left. Some of us were sent to the front lines in Stettin yesterday. Basically I won't ask where to; I will leave everything to fate, which has taken such good care of me so far. People are talking about Stettin or Thorn, the motor park near Neufahrwasser, where we got some vehicles again today. As I said, I will do only what they order me to; for the rest I stay put!! Thanks for the food coupons. We are practically closed in here; you can't leave this place alone. You get into trouble when someone brings you in something. Camaraderie is not, what you might think. Everyone is quite brutally selfish, everyone thinks only of himself, I have seen things that would make your hair stand on end! Oh yes, healthy comrades, in fear of their own lives, have left seriously wounded behind. While my own able-bodies comrades ran off, I myself helped three wounded men to the army hospital, through the mud and all to my position, before I started on an odyssey through unknown territory some 20 kilometers off. I arrived soaked, filthy uniform, ripped socks, unshaven for 14 days no bath. We, the unit set aside for "special purpose" celebrated our reunion in a park with a drop of cherry juice and a horrified sense how small our unit has become.
We billeted and mustered about five pounds of pork rations, fried it, drained it of fat, and picked up rationing. Then, finally, after three and a half weeks in them took off our clothes and went to sleep. A wonderful feeling!! Clean shaven, washed, socks and handkerchiefs clean I bunked with Neuman. The village, which the main battle front divides, is called Junpfen. En route again, misery, saw misery, and saw a looting soldier, since he broke into the homes and destroyed them just for the sake of destruction! But enough about that. I am sorry that your suitcases are missing, but let's hope they'll be found in the end. If Uncle Gustav stays in Deutschkrone, we at least have some hope of one day getting our things back. What I miss most from my suitcases are my civilian boots and my house slippers! My writing paper is gone as well. I was able to muster 20 chips of shaving soap and some tobacco as well as a pound of butter (from Schröter)! But enough about that. The main thing is that all of you, my loved ones, are in good health and safe in Berlin. I think we're surrounded again because most of our forces are in Danzig and cannot move it into Stettin. Let's hope for the best! Don't you worry about me, I'll manage!
The airplane maintenance unit is shutting down here and moving to Thüringen. Every evening refugees, foreigners, and Russians (in German uniforms) pour in and camp in the basements - lice everywhere. I'm careful! But it isn't so bad yet. My mail, which unfortunately arrives very irregularly, can be sent to this address until the new address is known. Letters will be forwarded. Are Karl and Bruno still at home and did the family in Deutschkrone lose everything? Or did Uncle Leo and Uncle Albert stay there? Write all the news. Are you going to stay in Berlin for the time being? Please be brave, my dear mother, so that I don't have to worry myself sick. Yes, I've really learned to appreciate bread. Helga should eat well; the shortages will come later. I'll write again tomorrow. I'm very tired today; dragged heavy machinery and then lousy food! I'm cold too. Well, good night, all my dear ones. You should not and need not go to work for the time being! Don't strain yourself! We are under defense alert here so we can't go out! Everyone has the "barracks fever!"
Heartfelt greetings and kisses from your daddy
I put a spell on this war and _ _ _ _ _ _.