Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WWII documents


According to Frau's will, everything she had in our house when she died belongs to Darling. Among all the stuff was a lot of paperwork. We don't know what they are all about. Many of them are in German, and some are in Polish. Some are dated as late as the seventies and are probably legal papers when known family members died. That might be fun to research in the future.
Some of these documents will make it into my next book, The Frau Chronicles: My Mother-in-Law Misadventures.
For various reasons, some will not. Some don't add to the narrative of Young Hertha and many are simply confusing.
Sadly, I won't include some of them in the book because of family issues. I won't say much about it, but I fear if I include documents mentioning some of Darling's brothers they will feel they have a claim on the book. I just don't want to venture into that territory.
One very cute document I can't include is a note from Darling's oldest brother to his mother. This was written in the late 1940s or early 1950s, while Hertha and Adolf still lived in Gellendorf Number 72 In Schaumburg-Lippe as refugees. This shows both the front and back of the note:
To Mother from me. may I go to bed mommy pls sweetharte
Finich your lessons please P  Mother

I think it's cute and gives some idea of Hertha as a young mother, certainly showing her background as a kindergarten teacher. It also fascinates me that Frau kept this scrap of paper for over seventy years in a lock box with all her other documents.
Along the same lines, Adolf and Hertha each had British Zone ID cards. We have no idea why they had these instead of German cards.
The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center has a copy of the September 1946 issue (Number 61) of the Weekly Information Bulletin, apparently issued to Allied commanders and refugees. Within this document, on page 16, is a description of the Identity Documents in use in the British Zone, stating they are now valid in the US Zone.
I can (and will) include a picture of the adult British Zone card.

That same Bulletin describes the British Zone card used for children under the age of fifteen. Her oldest brother had one of those, too, which is fascinating to me from a historical perspective. I can't include a picture of that document in the book either, which is too bad.

Sometime soon we'll get the documents that clearly belong to each brother to them. It takes a while and a lot of research to determine what each is and to whom it belongs.
It takes a long time to determine what can be in the book and what cannot, also, but I'm sorting through it all and getting closer to publication every day. I'll keep you posted.

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