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#37- Versorgung im Bunker, Ivan 400 m entfernt! - 28.10.43

Part of The KB41 Collection On This Day Series


This is third letter Herbert writes home to his family n October and the last of October. Chronologically like the previous was unorganised and has recently been revised and re discovered. Hebert writes further updates of his time in Russland again in A4 lined paper format. Sadly the envelop is lost to time but this detailed letter allows for more information of Herbert's service to be discovered!

The Feldpost letter in German reads as:

Russland, 28.10.43

Ihr Lieben! Gestern erhielt ich die Päckchen mit Zigar. und Kuchen, sowie den Brief von Dir, liebe Mutti. Ich bin in letzter Zeit gut versorgt, die vielen Päckchen mit Lebensmitteln und dann die Verpfle- gung hier ist auch nicht schlecht, ich glaube wenn es so weiter geht, nehme ich hier noch gewaltig an Gewicht zu; aber schaden kann das ja nicht. Die Kameraden habe ich auch mal in die Schmalz- dose hineinlangen lassen. Es ist überhaupt bis jetzt alles gut erhalten angekommen. Gestern haben wir uns Griespudding aus dem Gries und 2 Pck. Puddingpulver gemacht. Wir waren richtig satt. Die Haferflocken werden wir auch noch verwerten. Überhaupt Puddingpulver können wir gut verwenden hier. Soeben ist Post gekommen, es waren 4 Zeitungen vom 9.10./11. 12. u. 15. d. Mts. lieben Dank. Du machst Dir Sorgen, liebe Mutti, wie ich hier lebe. Das tut wirklich nicht nötig. Wir haben einen molligen Bunker im Keller von einem russi- schem ehemaligen Blockhaus. Mit 8 Mann hausen wir hier zwar etwas primitiv; aber wenigstens trocken. Es könnte viel schlechter sein. Mein Bett besteht aus einer Holz- pritsche. Stroh ist nirgends aufzutreiben in dieser öden Gegend; aber ich merke schon garnichts mehr davon. Man gewöhnt sich doch an alles.- Iwan liegt 400 m von hier. zwischen uns ist noch ein Wald, so daß wir uns ziemlich frei bewegen können. Man vergißt manch- mal ganz, daß überhaupt Krieg ist, seitdem ich aus dem Graben heraus bin. - Es ist also garnicht mal so übel hier und kein Grund zur Sorge vorhanden. Es ist doch ganz gut, daß im Geschäft nicht soviel zu tun ist. So braucht Ihr Euch doch wenig- stens nicht so abzuackern. Macht Pappa auch noch viel Wurst? Oder kauft er viel bei Nagel? Wie macht Heinz sich, und Lieschen? Heute haben wir wieder Schnaps bekommen. In den letzten 14 Tagen gabs reichlich von dem Zeug. Ich trinke aber nur wenig, es ist viel zu scharf. Wir nennen es hier Rataoel. Sonst geht es mir gut, was ich auch von Euch hoffe. Ich lege noch 4 Päckenmarken mit ein Es grüßt, Euer Herbert

The Feldpost letter in English reads as:

Russia, 28.10.43

Dear ones! Yesterday I received the parcels with cigar. and cakes, as well as the letter from you, dear Mutti. I have been well provided for lately, the many parcels of food and the food here is not bad either. I think that I think if things go on like this, I'll gain a lot of weight here. But that can't do any harm. I also let my comrades have a go into the can of lard. Everything has arrived in good condition. Yesterday we made semolina pudding out of the semolina and 2 pck. Pudding powder. We were really full. We will also use the oat flakes. We can use the pudding powder well here. The post has just arrived, it was 4 newspapers from 9.10./11. 12. and 15. of the mth. thank you very much. You are worried, dear Mum, about how I live here. That is really not necessary. We have a cosy bunker in the cellar of a former Russian log cabin. With eight men we live here a bit primitive, but at least it's dry. It could be much worse. My bed consists of a wooden cot. Straw is nowhere to be found in this bleak area, but I don't even notice it any more. One You can get used to anything. - Ivan is 400 m from here. There's a forest between us, so we can move about quite freely. Sometimes you forget that there's a war going on since I got out of the trenches. - So it's not so bad here, and there's no reason to worry. It's good that there's not so much to do in the shop. So at least you do not have to stress you with work that much. Is Dad still making a lot of sausage? Or does he buy a lot from Nagel? How's Heinz doing? And Lieschen? Today we got schnapps again. We've had plenty of the stuff in the last 14 days. But I only drink a little, it's much too strong. We We call it rataoel here. Otherwise I'm fine, which is what I hope you are too. I'm putting in 4 more bag stamps. Greetings, Yours, Herbert


This is the third and last letter that Herbert writes to his family whilst in service on the Eastern front of October 1943. Herbert like the previous letter updates his family of the items he has received that they have sent him from home. This being a cigar and cakes. Herbert again addressing this letter at the start to his "Mutti" (Mother) to which Herbert writes he's has been well provided for with the amount of mail and parcels he has received. Recalling that if things continue he will gain a lot of weight as a result, which Herbert details wont do him any harm. Food and parcels from home provided great morale in the addition of supplies to be shared among Soldaten that may help with rationing of times were hard. Thankfully so far Herbert seems quite content.

Herbert detailing how the items he has been given are put to good use by his fellow Soldaten and that what has arrived has arrived in good condition. Herbert detailing that collectively they made semolina pudding, using oat flakes also. These combined to make puddings that leave Herbert and his fellow Soldaten feeling very full.

Herbert then writes how they received more mail containing Newspapers sent to him from the "9.10./11. 12. and 15. of the mth". This being 4 newspapers that will go along way in providing some entertainment and an activity to do for the Soldaten when in some down time, whilst keeping updated with news of the Reich from back home. Herbert thanking his family for this.

Herbert then addresses the concerns of his Mutti, as imagined in letters Herbert revived from home, concerned words from his mother of how he is keeping (much like modern day parental concerns) have left Herbert to detail more about his conditions and how he is living. As not to worry his Mutti. As imagined at this stage in the war, late 1943 Germans knowing of the decline in their advances in the war and seeing more deaths of their Soldaten would obviously lead to concerns over the safety and wellbeing of ones child. Its with this that Herbert writes about his current living conditions whilst in Russland. Whilst exact details and precise locations are spared it gives and insight into what life was like for Herbert, that would also be like for other Soldaten in service. (It is worth noting due to espionage among the Germans and fear of letters falling into enemy or partisan hands when leaving the Soldaten's position, certain details were told to be spared and letters were often checked and either censored or destroyed if contained incriminating or too detailed information of Soldaten's location, intel about attacks or plans or words that go against NSDAP ideology or speak badly of the war.)

Some Soldaten would be in similar conditions, some worse but few better than how Herbert describes his living arrangements. Herbert details how they are in a Russian log cabin for residence. Herbert and 8 others live in the basement of this log cabin, phrased as a bunker. Primitive life that Herbert calls it but at least its dry, recalling that it could be worse. Herbert's sleeping arrangements consisting of a wooden cot, sadly no straw to be seen for comfort or in the surrounding landscape . That of which Ivan is just 400 meters from where Herbert is staying. Ivan ( being a common nickname used to detail Soviet Russian forces, similar to "Fritz" for the German forces). Herbert recalling that they are just 400 meters or so through the neighbouring forest to where Herbert is staying. Herbert recalling that its so peaceful despite being so close to Ivan. That you can almost forget there is a war on as they can go about so freely. It being quiet a contrast to what Herbert recalls experiencing in previous letters being in trenches. With this Herbert eases his worrying Mutti's by saying that its not bad where he is and not to worry.

After this Herbert replies to what his parents wrote to him in a letter. This being about his family's home life, as detailed in previous letters we learn that Herbert's family back in Kiel, Northern Germany own a shop. It is suggested that this is a General store style shop as all goods before have been mentioned. The stresses for maintaining this business without Herbert's help and other family friends due to the war being discussed. Herbert recalling that there is not much to do at the shop and Herbert's family can hopefully avoid some stress. This followed by a question asking if Herbert's Father - Hans Tank if he is still making a lot of sausage ( assumed a good that his Father made for the family and to possibly sell) or if he buys it from "Nagel", an assumed family friend or fellow local business. With this Herbert asks how "Heinz doing? And Lieschen?" are doing, assumed more family friends back home in Kiel.

Herbert the draws the letter to a close by detailing how he and his kameraden have got schnapps again. Recalled that they have had plenty of it in the last 14 days. Herbert writes how he only drinks a little as it very strong. The kameraden nicknaming it "Rataoel" ( its unclear why or what this means) but Herbert recalls that he is fine and hopes that his family back home reading this is just the same. Herbert lastly mentioning that he includes 4 more Feldpost stamps, all before his sign off, Euer Herbert- Yours, Herbert.


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