Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 10 & 28 & 30, 1942: 25 Words

Red Cross Correspondence between Opa and his Mother


March 18, 1942, (Seems to have been received by Opa 10 April 1942)
My beloved boy,
My most heartfelt birthday wishes! Am healthy, have things to do. Papa writes optimistically, has a good position. Stay strong and good; I trust you.
April 28, 1942 
(I assume by the German stamp it was received by Ella November 16, 1942)
Putschi, Everything is okay here; I am still at college and shall get my degree next spring. Have a good job for summer time. Tom
30 April 1942 
(there is a German time stamp of May 10ish 1942, and at the bottom a stamp of June 9, 1942? Not sure what it all means or who is stamping)
My beloved child,
Am glad you are healthy. Good news from Patti, Papa. Sweet letter from Gis; haven’t seen Anni in a long time. Annchen sends greetings.
Yours, Mama
It was hard to know when to put these Red Cross letters in chronologically. It seems they were sent between late March to late April. There are a few time stamps on them, and I think that those stamps are either when the form was given, when it was sent, or when it was received. 
It seems that Ella is allowed (or at least is making it a habit) to write once a month. Her April 30th note seems to indicate she has heard back from Opa. The time stamp on Opa's April 28th Red Cross letter to Ella makes me think that she didn't receive it until November. 
Can you imagine how absolutely heart wrenching this is for Opa and Ella, waiting for 25 words? That's the Red Cross limit. 25 words to know that everyone is still OK. 25 words to express as much forced optimism and good news in order to encourage the other. For Ella- she tells her son that she and his father and sister are OK, and that his friends are checking in and remember him. For Opa- he tells his Mom that he will get a degree and he has a job. 
In 25 words, they hold on to the taut, fragile line of connection that can be lost at any moment. 

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