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August 11, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

sketch of soldier struggling with communications equipment

Ted's sketch, titled "The Octopus," 2/26/1944

August 11, 1944

Dear Helen,

I haven’t been able to write for the last few days – been awfully busy and without opportunity to write until just now. The sun is beginning to sink like a big red ball in the midst of thin purple clouds along the horizon, and I’ve been digging my hole for the night in an extremely hard bit of ground – not much softer than concrete and I have fears for my pick and shovel. To ease my labors, music, from a radio in a nearby truck, is wafting to my ears – and suddenly the announcer’s voice breaks in to tell all that the programs emanates [sic] from Washington D.C. In need of a short break and with the inducement that the word “Washington” brings, I drop my tools and make with the writing equipment – another proof of the old adage about the pen being mightier than the pick (poetic license).

And as I write, my head is in a cloud, but what a cloud. A swarm of the most undernourished, bloodthirsty mosquitoes I have ever seen buzz continually about my unbared head and to alleviate this condition we’ve all been forced to smear our faces with axle grease, resulting in all of us looking like a GI Al Jolson. Said grease has an unpleasant odor and was certainly never intended for application to the physiognomy, but necessity being the mother of invention, we have found other uses for it in addition to causing truck wheels to turn gracefully.

The radio was an additional source of amusement this evening. While we watched our artillery lob shells into an “area” occupied by enemy troops – A radio newsbroaster [sic] blithely announces that the town had been captured yesterday. So we all look at each other and laugh. It’s a joke on the Nazis – they’ve been captured and don’t know it. Perhaps if they listen to the same broadcast they’ll realize this important fact and give up. Wars are won so easily on the radio.

My break is over – so I must say goodnight and get back to my hole and my dear friends of the insect world.

All my love,

P.S. Regards of course

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