I presume this postcard was written by a Dutch laborer; clues include the date, the censor marks, the fact she was in Berlin. READ MORE
Earlier this year, my 91-year-old uncle, Allen Porter, was invited to be part of a panel of veterans at a WWII lecture at Fort Snelling. The topic was the liberation of the concentration camps. READ MORE
It might seem strange to say, but since finding Marcel’s letters, it feels as though other letters have found me. This is one such letter, which I recently had translated into English.READ MORE
By the summer of 1942, large numbers of working-age German men had been transferred to the eastern or western fronts to fight. This resulted in increased vacancies at factories and mines at the very point in time when more laborers were needed to support the German war industry.
Yesterday, a small cardboard box arrived, and as I walked up the driveway, I tried to puzzle out who it was from. When I opened it, I was delighted to see a hard-cover book from a Kickstarter campaign I backed months earlier, and had nearly forgotten about.
Over the weekend I finished reading the book ‘Alex’s Wake.’ It was one of those books that started with a slow drip, but ended with a wave of sadness so enormous it was impossible to hold back tears.
One of the amazing people I’ve met along this journey is Louise Dillery. Readers of the book will get to know how amazing she is, too. She translated some of Marcel’s letters, and has turned into a dear friend. Louise is nearly 90 years old, but you would never know it — she’s sharp as a tack, and loves to talk about thoroughly modern things like eyebrow tattoos, Beyoncé and the allure of ‘bad boys.’
Last week, a historian from the National World War II Museum flew to Minnesota to record the testimony of my uncle, Allen Porter. He was part of the 303rd Engineering Battalion of the 78th Infantry Division and fought across France and Germany in 1944-1945.
Recently I finished reading the book Paper Love by Sarah Wildman. Over the last few years, I’ve read more books on World War II than I can count, and I have to say, this was one of the best.
This book is set in Germany in the dangerous last months of World War II. Liesl is newly married to a widowed surgeon who has been summoned to work at a hospital far away; she is responsible for the care of her husband’s three young boys amid dwindling food supplies and refugees being assigned to their home. One son has a mysterious illness and faces the prospect of being sent to Hadamar, a destination for ill and unfit children; Hadamar was a destination that would mean certain death.