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39#-Deprimierend in der Neva-Bogen mit Ivan und bugs- 13.11.43

Part of The KB41 Collection On This Day Series


This is the second letter that Herbert writes home to his family whilst in service on the Eastern front. Somewhere in Russland on 13th November 1943, Hebert writes this feldpost with multiple pages. One of the most detailed to date which means it is likely Herbert found enough time to write this longer letter as mentioned before his livng quaters seemed to be more permenant residence and sustainable. Not only providing greater saftey but higher morale to be in a warmer and safer residence whilst in occupied Russia.

The Feldpost reads as:

Russland 13.11.43

Ihr Lieben!

Die lieben Briefe vom 28. u. 31.10. von Mutti

und den lieben Brief vom 30.10. von Hanne habe

ich dankend erhalten. Sowie auch die 10 Zigar.

Für W. Wentorf wäre es wohl garnicht so

leicht mich auszufinden, da wir ja bei ver-

schiedenen Einheiten sind. Seid mal ein

bisschen sparsam mit den Marken, denn vor Januar

bekomme ich keine wieder. Eine habe ich noch

ergattert. Wenn Ihr dann mal was Feines

mitschicken wollt, dann 1 Dose mit Schmalz,

das hat mir besser gefallen als das Schweinefleisch,

denn es hält sich länger. Hier im Bunker ist es

nämlich immer furchtbar warm.

Um Inge tut es mir wirklich leid. Aber

ihr Mann hat mir nie so recht gefallen. Es ist

für sie dann ja wirklich besser sie läßt sich schei-


Eure Zeitung kommt dann und wann durch.

Ich lese sie immer gern. Sonst hören und sehen

wir nichts von der großen Politik. Die Frontzeitung

kommt nur bis zur Etappe. Hier habe ich noch

keine gesehen und Radio habe ich auch schon 2 Mon

keinen mehr gehört. Wenn Ihr mal eine Illustrierte

habt, die beguken wir auch ganz gern. Ich freue

mich jetzt schon auf die braunen Plättchen. Schickt

doch auch mal einen Bleistift, wenn Ihr diesen

Stummel seht, würdet Ihr lachen.

Liesa hat inzwischen auch wieder Post

bekommen. Ich schreibe ja auch ziemlich regel-


Nun zu Hanne´s Brief. Du möchtest gerne

wissen lieber Hanne wie es hier aussieht. Da

gibts nur eine Bezeichnung. Traurig, traurig u.

nochmal traurig. Das nächste Dorf liegt 8 km

von hier, also von der HKL entfernt. Wir

liegen jetzt mitten im russischen Urwald.

Unser nächster Nachbar ist der Iwan. Er ist

hier auch noch ziemlich zahm. Manchmal

kommt er zwar Nachts. Dann kriegt er

ein paar Sachen ins Gesicht und der Krieg

ist erstmal wieder vorbei. Der Bunker ist

vollkommen verlaust und verwanzt, Ratten

und Flöhe haben wir auch genug. Das ist

fast das Schlimmste hier. Das wäre der Lage-

bericht. Wir liegen im Nevabogen.

Hier kann man sich garnicht vorstellen,

daß der Krieg mal zu Ende gehen kann; aber mal

muß ja Schluß damit sein.

Nun will ich schließen. Beiliegend

6 Luftpostmarken und 1 Päckchenmarke.

Es grüßt Euch, Ihr Lieben

Euer Herbert

The Feldpost translated in English reads as:

Russia 13.11.43

Dear ones!

The dear letters of 28 and 31 October from Mum

and the dear letter of 30.10. from Hanne I received gratefully. As well as the 10 cigarettes.

It would probably not be so easy for W. Wentorf to find me,

as we are in different units. Be a bit

sparing with the stamps, because I won't

get any before January. I got hold of only one.

If you want to send something nice

then 1 tin of lard, I liked that better than the pork,

because it keeps longer. Here in the bunker it's

always terribly warm.

I really feel sorry for Inge. But

I never really liked her husband. It's better

for her if she gets divorced.

Your newspaper comes through every now and then.

I always enjoy reading it. Otherwise we hear and see

nothing about the big politics. The front newspaper

never reaches us here. I haven't seen any here

and I haven't heard the radio for 2 months.

If you ever have a magazine we'd love to see it too. I'm already

looking forward to the brown discs. Please send

a pencil too, if you would see this stub you would laugh.

Liesa has also received mail again. I also write quite regularly.

Now to Hanne's letter. You would like to know

how things are here. There there's only one word. Sad, sad and

sad again. The nearest village is 8 kilometres

away from here,  from the HKL. We are

in the middle of the Russian jungle.

Our nearest neighbor is Ivan. He is still

pretty tame here. Sometimes

he comes at night. Then he gets

a few hits in the face and the war

is over again for the time being. The bunker is

completely infested with lice and bugs.

We have enough rats and fleas too. That's

almost the worst thing here. That's the situation

report. We are in the Neva Arc.

Here you can't even imagine

that the war could ever come to an end; but one day

it must come to an end.

Now I will close. Enclosed

6 airmail stamps and 1 parcel stamp.

Greetings, dear ones

Yours, Herbert


Herbert starts this second letter in November by addressing his "Mutti" (Mother) with the letters that he received from her on the 28 and 31 October and remarking a letter of 30.10. From Hanne (Suggested family friend) That Herbert was very gratefully for. Herbert of course was very thankful for the 10 cigarettes included in these packages. Cigarettes being a valuable item to Herbert as mentioned in previous letters that he is running low and in need of. Despite from what we have seen when Herbert was recovering in Lazaretts in Latvia and later Brunswick in Germany from Pneumonia, Herbert should stick to his original plan Post-Hospital to cut the habit.

Herbert then writes that a suggested friend and fellow serving German Soldat called "W. Wentorf " is unlikely to find him as they are in different units, suggesting the family friend is nearby with a different unit and attempting to re unite whilst on the Eastern Front. Herbert also writes to his family to be "sparing with the stamps, because I won't get any before January”. This likely that his family are sending him gifts and he cannot send part of the items or responses back due to a lack of stamps in which to do so. Herbert allowance as he details doesn’t become replenished till January. Herbert only getting one parcel stamp that Herbert’s family can use, to send him gifts, with this Herbert requests that if they are to send him a gift could it please be " 1 tin of lard" as he details that he preferred this to the Pork as it lasts longer. Herbert detailing that the bunker in which he is in residence is always "terribly warm". This meaning the pork may go off faster than lard. At least the bunker is warm for Herbert and his fellow Soldaten; many would find their residence cold or damp.

Herbert moves the letter to write sympathy for "Inge" a suggested family friend who helps at the family shop, of which appears to be getting a divorce from her husband. That of which Herbert recalls not liking and Inge will be better for her if she gets a divorce.

Herbert moves to writing about the newspapers that his family sends (of which Herbert asked to be sent to him so he and his Soldaten could stay in the touch with news and politics of back home) which Herbert is thankful for as they arrive every now and then and this is the only way they hear news is from these newspapers or magazines. The front of the newspaper sent from Herbert’s family to the front never makes it to them. This shows the censorship that the Reichspost and the NSDAP has enforced to stop any information from the Reich on the front page with dates and locations of which possible regional or state newspaper to get into enemy or partisan hands. This being so information from home cannot be lost to the enemy and also so fake newspapers cannot be made by partisans and distributed as a form or counter propaganda. Herbert also writing that for at least 2 months he hasn’t heard anything on the radio either.

Herbert then writes "Ich freue mich jetzt schon auf die braunen Plättchen." This translates in English as “I’m already

Looking forward to the brown discs" This isn’t clear what Herbert means as the "Brown Disks" isn’t determined to be anything. Herbert doesn’t write mistakes in his letters but it’s suggested that the "Brown disks" could either be “Butter Dishes" that often came in brown Bakelite which Herbert has requested previously in this letter or it could be a spelling error and mean “Braunen Plätzchen" which is a type of small gingerbread cookie. This is supported as a mistake and either one of these due to what Herbert writes after as "Please send a pencil too, if you would see this stub you would laugh." This showing the lack of writing supplies Herbert faces and with this it’s likely that Herbert can’t afford to make mistakes with the lack of pencil and what he is trying to preserve.

Herbert moves on to address other family friends who write to him that his family can pass on the news too. Firstly Herbert receiving mail from "Liesa " to which Herbert writes he responds often. Then Hebert addresses  Hanne's letter. This asking how Herbert is and what life is like at the front. It is from here Herbert details his condition and experience on the Ost front in greater detail.

Hebert starts this by expressing how he feels, sadly it appears morale and feelings are depressing and bleak as Herbert writes "There there's only one word. Sad, sad and sad again. "This word being used to detail how Herbert sees his current situation, this further detailed by how far the nearest village is, "8 kilometres away from here”. This not being far away and the same distance away from the "HKL" meaning the "Hauptkampflinie" or Main Battle Line. Herbert then detailing his terrain as in the middle of the "Russian jungle". Herbert detailing that "Ivan" (a slang name for the Russians) is pretty tame but they do occasionally attack at night. With this Hebert details that Ivan then " Then he gets

A few hits in the face and the war is over again for the time being." showing how the waves of attacks are not strong and infrequent.

Herbert then addresses the bunker, that previously was described as terribly warm but this sadly the conditions are worse by Herbert writing "The bunker is completely infested with lice and bugs. We have enough rats and fleas too." Lice and Bugs being common pests especially in the jungle and swampy conditions of the Ost front. These small pests being a pain to all Soldaten and insufferable and fleas also being extremely hard to control or remove but Rats are also common place in warm and dry places just like the present day. Hygiene and cleanliness would be paramount and removing rats from the bunker would be a top priority. Rats were also mentioned in previous letters where Herbert had a hole bitten in his rucksack and had to move it. Herbert drawing this report of conditions to a close as he writes that these pests are the worst of his current situation.

Herbert drawing the letter to a close details his region by writing "We are in the Neva Arc." The Neva Arc being a region named after the River Neva located in North Western Russia. Herbert previously detailing his location to be near Leningrad. This region being in a similar location and Herbert is suggested to be closer to the river and suggest further North West than before, outside Leningrad. It’s with this Herbert writes "Here you can't even imagine that the war could ever come to an end; but one day it must come to an end" Herbert hopeful that the war could end at some point but sees a stagnation and possible stalemate. Herbert sadly to know the latter withdraw from this region.

Herbert closing as he mentions "Now I will close. Enclosed 6 airmail stamps and 1 parcel stamp". Airmail stamps that Herbert’s family can use to send mail to him and the one previous mentioned parcel stamp so Herbert's family can send him gifts previously mentioned in the letter. This letter ending "Es grüßt Euch, Ihr Lieben, Euer Herbert", Greetings, dear



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