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September 30, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

ink sketch of buildings and landscape from a high viewpoint

A sketch of Ted's - perhaps Luxembourg

Sept. 30, 1944
Somewhere in Luxembourg.

Dearest Helen,

This morning I reveled in the luxury of a hot shower, that rarity of rarities, with a resultant feeling of cleanliness which is a distinct novelty for me since leaving the States. We went into a town having a public bath house, getting there early enough to be near the bend of the line, and in no time I was under the shower wielding the soap with a vengeance. I’ve just finished washing some of my clothes – though the cold water here will not remove the tattletale gray. But at least they’re clean. The room, or rather cell, was crowded before we started to wash our clothes, and now it’s a veritable maze of clothes-lines loaded with various army unmentionables, criss-crossing every which way.

Luxembourg, from what I have gleaned from meager experience, is very unlike France in that everything seems Germanic. The architecture, people, etc. In France, the buildings were old, picturesque with a certain warmness. Here, the architecture has been influenced by modern German functional design, largely cold and stiff. There is also a marked absence of the colorful clothing of France. Here the people wear black, grey and other drab colored garments. The people seem stolid, unlike the amiableness of the French. However, these are only traits of character, and do not reflect political views – the people are friendly towards us, and very happy that the Germans have gone.

As to our abode, we have discovered to our horror that we have company in the form of vermin – bed-bugs, to be exact. At night they crawl out of the walls and search for victims. This marks the first time in my life that I’ve ever seen these pests, and I find they are not a pleasant spectacle. We’ve sprayed an Army insecticide powder about and soon perhaps, we’ll have the situation in hand. Our blankets, beds, and the slats I told you about are well doused with this preparation. In fact the olive drab blankets promise to turn to a beautiful pearl-gray soon. Before retiring for the night, a visitor to our room, would see six men with flashlights seeking out the little pests and making sure that there are none in the bed clothing. Thus far, I remain untouched, but some of the men have not fared so well. Pretty well bitten up. Maybe I’ve got the wrong type of blood, type A.

Mail’s been bad lately, very little arriving. Consequently I’ve received none from you for a few days. So I’ll be looking for you in the mail sack tonight. It is now about five months since I last saw you, so much time wasted. I hope soon we can be making up for it, though I don’t particularly care for all that news about sending men to the Pacific after we finish up here – emphatically not.

Meanwhile, keep all your fingers crossed and keep the mailman busy.

Regards to everyone.


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