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#40- Briefschulden, Sandtorte und Frauenarbeit - 28.12.43

Part of The KB41 Collection On This Day Series


This is the first and last letter Hebert writes that is known in 1943. This Feldpost is also the only known December letter. There is some letters without dates that will be shared at the end of our chronological series that ends next year with another year of Herbert Tank letters throughout 1944. It is suggested that Herbert enjoyed his Christmas and writes this letter in reply and updating of his family back home in Kiel of what he and his fellow Kameraden are doing pre new year.

The Feldpost reads as:

Russl, 28.12.43

Ihr Lieben!

Das Päckchen No 21 erhielt ich

gestern, sowie Euren lieben Brief vom

13. d. Monats. Heute Abend werden wir

uns gleich Pudding kochen. Unser Uffz hat

noch Haferflocken. Das wird wieder mal

ein prima Abendessen. Die Kameraden sind

schon dabei.

Ich habe meine ganzen Briefschulden

heute wieder mal erledigt. Liesa, Oma,

Tante Ilse, Cile, Anneliese, Tante Erna und

an Mariechen habe ich geschrieben. Nun zum

Abschluß kommt Ihr dran.

Die Sandtorte ist ganz prima, zwar

etwas kaputt; aber das macht ja nichts.

Den Zucker esse ich auf Brot, denn zum

Pudding nehmen wir Süßstoff. Heute habe ich

mal wieder meine Wäsche auf Vordermann

gebracht. Sie ist gar nicht mehr weiß zu

kriegen. Es ist kaum noch zu glauben, daß

sie es mal

war; aber so ist es, wenn Männer

Frauenarbeit übernehmen müssen. Es muß eben

alles gelernt sein.

Ich bin ja heilfroh, daß bei dem Angriff

in unserem Viertel nichts passiert ist. Wenn

der Krieg doch erst in der Heimat ein

Ende hätte.

Die Bilder lege ich wieder mit ein. Sie sind ja

ganz nett geworden.

Es grüßt Euch Ihr Lieben,

Euer Herbert

The Feldpost translated into English reads as:

Russia, 28.12.43

Dear friends!

I received parcel no. 21 yesterday, as well as your dear letter of 13th of this month. Tonight we are going to

cook ourselves some pudding. Our Uffz still has

some oatmeal. That will be another great dinner.

The mates are already at it.

I've finished off all my mail debts

once again today. Liesa, Grandma,

Aunt Ilse, Cile, Anneliese, Aunt Erna and

I wrote to Mariechen. Now for the

final it's your turn.

The sand cake is really great, a little

bit broken, but that doesn't matter.

I eat the sugar on bread, because we use sweetener

for the pudding. Today I did my laundry and

tried to get my clothes into shape again.

I can't get it white any more.

It's hard to believe that it used to be white;

but that's the way it is when men have to do women's

work. It all has to be learnt.

I'm really glad that nothing happened during the attack

in our neighbourhood. If the war would only end at home.

I'll put the pictures back in. They've turned out

quite nice.

Greetings, dear ones,

Your Herbert


Herbert writes this December Feldpost from somewhere in "Russl" short for Russland, Russia. It is suggested that Herbert is still serving somewhere in the Russia near Leningrad in North-West Russia. Herbert starting this letter by addressing the parcel "21" Herbert received yesterday (27th December) and the letter received on the 13th of December. Hebert detailing from here how he and his kameraden are to make some pudding. Hebert writing his "Uffz" has some oatmeal that will be added to the desert. Uffz referring to a rank, "Unteroffizier", a junior non-commissioned officer (NCO). This a usual occurrence of kameraden getting food sent from home and sharing it to create meals and make their food go further than that of their basic rations.

Herbert then writes how he has finished off his "mail debts" this something that Herbert writes in previous of this, writing numerous letters in one go to family and friends. Herbert writing that he writes letters to "  Liesa, Grandma, Aunt Ilse, Cile, Anneliese, Aunt Erna and I wrote to Mariechen." These being many letters that Hebert writes, this time more family members are mentioned than previous letters.

Hebert further writing of food, a "Sandtorte" (Sandcake) being really great besides being broken in places. A Sandcake is dry sponge cake, commonly known today as "Pound Cake". The sugar that could be used for the Sandcake was subsisted for sweetener Herbert writes, so the sugar is used on bread.

Herbert also writes of activities he has been doing whilst having some free time. Here Herbert writes of laundry that he has been doing, trying to make his clothes clean again. Herbert making a joke of it saying " I can't get it white any more.

It's hard to believe that it used to be white; but that's the way it is when men have to do women's work. It all has to be learnt."

Herbert draws the letter to a conclusion by writing of how he is glad to hear that nothing happened during the attack in his neighbourhood, at home in Kiel. Hebert hoping that the war will stop for them at home. This isn't the first time that the war on the homefront has been discussed in a letter. The bombing of Kiel by the British and the allied forces was a priority in targets across Germany. Kiel not only famous for a large Kriegsmarine presents, notably its U-boat pens but also for its trade routes and maritime industry in its docks.

Sadly Herbert writes that he has included more photographs as they turned out quite nice. Sadly these are lost to time, as many times Herbert writes in letters including things, its suggested his family at home would have placed these into a family photograph album. Concluding as always Euer Herbert, Yours Herbert.


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