Hard times

I have written a couple of posts about letters I have been asked to translate that were written by a young German in 1933 to his American pen pal. Now comes a third letter, this one from 1949. As it turns out, he survived the war, although not in great shape: Key passage (my translation):

At the beginning of this year I was sick for a long time, and after that I was in a frame of mind that I can’t properly describe to you. I had a depression of the soul that took away from me the energy for any undertaking. The privations of recent years have taken a toll on my health, which to some extent still persist, although I can now add fat, and so on. Only with difficulty can one overcome the past. I have been steadily in a doctor’s care and am only slowly improving. … Finding the urgent necessities for my family also causes great concern. As I once wrote to you, we lost everything in the course of the war, and we are short of all things. Before the currency reform (July 1, 1948) one could buy no clothing or furniture, even when one had money, and now after the currency change the windows are full of goods and there is too little money to buy all of the most basic necessities. Through the currency reform we also lost all of our savings except for a tiny amount (I could not even buy a coat with what was left) so my family and I rely on our monthly income, which is just enough to pay for the most urgent needs of life. Goods are very expensive compared to the times before the war, but wages have remained the same, so that there is no connection between income and costs. Despite that, I believe that I will manage to get by, if I become and remain completely healthy and we suffer no more blows of fate that we lack the strength to fend off.

No more mention of Hitler’s peaceful intentions. It would be interesting to know exactly what he did during the war but that, for now, remains a mystery.

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