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December 24, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

man sitting in a chair next to bunk beds writing a letter

Writing a letter

Dec 24, 1944

Dearest Helen,

The room is large – far too large to be illuminated by the candle which furnishes the light necessary for writing this letter, and far too large to be heated by the make-shift stove set over in a corner – the amount of smoke eclipsing the degree of heat which struggles in vain against the quiet cold. The room as well as the building bears the scars of war – gaping holes in the roof, bare laths in the ceiling where the plaster is missing. Some men cluster about the tiny stove, smoking and talking quietly in the dark. Looking past them and through the window, the bright moonlight reflects off the snow and the stars are bright.

This is Christmas Eve as I can see it – and I sit and wonder what you are doing at this moment – wondering how long it will be before I return – return to you and the life I desire. As I let my thoughts wander, I am suddenly rudely interrupted and informed that there should be some sort of entertainment on this august occasion. So we gathered all the men in one room – confiscated all lanterns and candles to act as footlights. I then hurridly [sic] composed a short satire on Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” – putting appropriate characters in appropriate roles – (I will describe this at a later date). This, in conjunction with the singing of carols, and the usual Army songs leads to a pleasant hours amusement – topped by the best crack of the evening coming from Sgt. Gluckin, who in all seriousness suggested that we sing “that good ol’ carol – let me see – what’s the name of it? Oh yeah. Semper Fideles!” – Honest, those were his exact words. [Adeste Fideles is “O Come All Ye Faithful”]

And now I’m back to my letter, wishing that I could be telling you all this instead of writing – and knowing that I’d have the rest of my life to tell you of these experiences of how much I’ve missed you, - to tell you how lovely you look, - what a wonderful cook you are (I mustn’t forget that) – and countless other things. But we must wait and now I see that this letter must end soon – the candle has literally become a mere shadow of its former self – and I will soon hie myself off to bed – this being composed of an area of flooring roughly 6’ x 3’ – but don’t worry I think it’s soft pine.

Regards to your folks and the girls –

All my love to you –

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