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May 7, 1945

Letters from Harold J. Dahl

Letters from Harold J Dahl May 7 1945

May 7 [1945]

Dear Mom & Lou,

Poor Herald Starr!  He has such trouble keeping from putting his serial number after his mother’s name on his letters.  Just did it again!

I have a stack of early May letters from you - naturally thought of Mom on her birthday - I have something put away for her but can’t send it - will have to try to bring it when I come.

two men standing before a brick building in world war 2

Harold Dahl and his sculpture teacher,

Ulric Ellerhusen

Thanks, Lou, for sending a package to Nancy [Woodell] - she’ll be terribly happy to get it, I know.  Mme de Maublanc wrote me that she had sent Nan some preparations. And Tommy Weir took her the painting of Luxembourg which I sent her as a sort of engagement present.

I have some money I could send home, but things being so indefinite, I want to keep at least $25.00 on me at all times.  So when June 1st rolls around I’ll send it along - that will put me over another $100 mark, which pleases me no end.

The kind of life I want to lead will keep Paris in actuality rather than memory.  Perhaps my mind will change but I rather think my international leanings will remain pretty strong.

It must have been pretty good in New York on VE Day - I was on guard.  As usual, those who could celebrate were not the ones who had the most to celebrate.  Another thing for G.I.’s over here, of course, is the knowledge that there isn’t much point in celebrating half a job.  What all of us want is some home-life - a chance to start building our families - and we all know we are still prisoners of the Army until after the Japs go down, too.

And I feel so deeply the misery there is here among all the poor unfortunate ones who are trying to get back to their homes after years of forced labor here in Germany.  You see them everywhere along the roads.  Sometimes I talk to Frenchmen or Luxembourg kids - the condition of most is really pitiful - especially the Poles & Russians who took a terrible shellacking.

It is interesting to watch the German people, and for “people” you can substitute “old people, women & children” - there being very, very few able-bodied men.  They still have nice clothes and a fair amount to eat - but one of these days the magnitude of their defeat will be clear to them as it evidently is not now.  I don’t think any nation has ever before been as crushed and broken as Germany is now. There stands hardly a single place of manufacture, hardly a single block of stores.  And her men are all gone, either to their Maker or into prison camps.  What a crying shame it is that such a country as she was could not have seen fit to live decently.  The enormity of her crime becomes all the more obvious when one sees how far ahead of all the rest of Europe she really was. And still was not satisfied!

We are happy here in the Company because Capt. Raynor is back with us after quite an absence. [Capt. Raynor was wounded]. The guys certainly think the world of him.  Now if we could only get Riggs everything would be wonderful.

Today there was a letter from the E’s [Ellerhusens].  I always like to hear from them, wrote them a letter not a week ago. Also heard from Clint [Scilipote] in the New Hebrides and also from Gracie - both the same day.

Nancy [Woodell], lucky girl, will soon head for the Riviera for a much-needed rest.  Actually she has had it much tougher than I - and we both show it.  She has a tired look - dark under her eyes - recently has lost weight alarmingly. On the other hand I am sunburned and fat as a walrus.  Funny thing, isn’t it?  I certainly hope she has a lot of good weather & a swell time from start to finish.

That about finishes me for now -

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