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April 13, 1945

Letters from Theodore Katz

two uniformed men with jeep one sitting inside it and one standing near it with a rifle

Men with Jeep

April 13, 1945
Somewhere in Germany

Dearest Helen,

I’ve missed a couple of days in writing – but it was unavoidable – so I know you’ve already forgiven me. But I’ll make an effort to make up for lost time tonight. First, to answer the mail I received last night. Letters from you of April 2 and two of April 3rd wherein you tell me your new address – that a big pile of my mail finally arrived to greet you when you returned from New York – and also that you’ve received a cake from my mother. I trust it was delicious – but wait till you make your trip up there for some real samples before you decide on the caliber of culinary competition.

We’ve had a rumor today that President Roosevelt had died – but as yet, although the sources seem authoritative, we still haven’t had official confirmation. I hope it’s not true, of course – for although it wouldn’t affect the course of the war so much, it might have a deep effect on post-war aims. I won’t mention any more about it though, until I get more facts.

I’m writing this overlooking as beautiful a sight as I’ve ever seen. The sun is just going down and I can look across a beautiful valley – with high, wooded hills – orchards, green grass, apple blossoms, etc. From a distance, the effects of war are not apparent – but this same scene upon closer inspection, discloses the usual wreckage of war – which by now, leaves no impression on our calloused minds – and besides, being German – we have no sympathy. The one good things about being in Germany is that there is no need to sleep outdoors. There are plenty of vacancies – and in case everything should happen to be occupied, all one does is pick out a spot which happens to strike one’s fancy, to serve as lodgings – order the civilians to vacate in an hour or 5 minutes – and then take over – without any argument. These people follow orders almost eagerly and with haste.

Yesterday, as we were speeding down a road we were overtaken by a jeep bearing the latest edition of “The Stars and Stripes.” A few copies were tossed into our truck in a sort of rodeo act, the headlines proclaiming “9th Army 65 Miles from Berlin.” A short distance from there, we came upon a long column of German prisoners being marched to the rear. We stopped to let them by, looking down at them as these “supermen,” who looked for all the world like a herd of bedraggled cattle, stumbled by. One of the men held up a copy of the paper, and as those prisoners went by, each started dumbly at the headline, and though they probably couldn’t read the English, they couldn’t mistake the “65 miles from Berlin.” Only one of them made any comment – with a dazed expression on his face, he said “Yah, yah – Berlin.” So much for the war, today.

I’m anxiously waiting word of your new apartment – what it’s like, facilities, furnishings and how the windows are. I know that moving is an awful job. I’ve been doing enough of it myself to appreciate the difficulties involved. It’s at times like that, that I’m sorry we’re so abundantly equipped. I can’t help but think of how nice it would be to take a pass this week-end to Washington. I suppose I [would] break every window in the vicinity, for which, of course I’d blame you.

All my love,

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