Carolyn Porter | World War II
Learn more about the book "Marcel's Letters" and the font P22 Marcel Script, which is based on the handwriting of conscripted WWII laborer Marcel Heuzé
Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé, Marcel's Letters, Handwritten Letters, World War II, P22 Marcel, Typography, Love Story, Reunion, Daimler, Berlin, Marienfelde, STO, Forced Labor, Service du Travail Obligatoire, WWII
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“My father was friends with Marcel Heuzé”

Our conversation began with this astonishing claim: “My father was friends with Marcel Heuzé.”
(Cue the sound of a needle scratching across a record.)

Let me back up. Two weeks ago, I picked up my office phone to hear a 90-year-old woman with a crisp French accent state her name — Nelly Trocmé Hewett — followed by the astonishing claim her father had been friends with Marcel.READ MORE

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Book Review: Spandau, The Secret Diaries


I just finished reading Spandau: The Secret Diaries by Albert Speer. A friend loaned the book to me long ago; she heard Marcel had been imprisoned in Spandau, and thought the book might be of interest.

Albert Speer was Hitler’s architect and eventually became Minister of Armaments and War Production. During the post-war Nuremberg trial, Speer denounced Hitler, took responsibility for the use of forced labor, and was sentenced to a 20-year prison term. Many other Nazi leaders, including Fritz Sauckel, General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (that is, the man who was in charge of sending men like Marcel to Germany), were hanged.READ MORE

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December 26, 1944: Somewhere in France

12/26/44
Somewhere in France

My Dearest Wife:

Well Christmas is here an gone. It didn’t even seem like Christmas just like another day. Christmas Eve we didn’t get in till about six. After we ate I washed and shaved. Was [illegible due to paper damage] to a little party they were having over in his Co. Then we were going to go to midnight services. READ MORE

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Dec. 24, 1943: I’ll say a prayer for the best little family in the world

24 December 1943

Dearest little Mother,

Just a short time ago we finished with morning (9 A.M.) sick call. I have had indications that today might be a very busy one so thought I’d better get off your daily letter early.

Tonight is Xmas eve and I can just see you hanging up a little pair of stockings by the chimney with care. What are you giving Mike for Xmas dear? Pretty hard to think of things for a little tyke like that isn’t it? Gosh I’d certainly like to be with you tonight. I will in spirit anyway, especially when I am in church tonight. I’ll say a prayer for the best little family in the world.READ MORE

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I wish I could put into words what I have in my heart: Dec. 22, 1942

Dec. 22, 1942

Dearest Wilma:

Received two letters of yours, today. One written the 23rd of November, the other a v-mail letter written the 31st of August, the new and the old.

Don’t you ever change the way you have been writing your sweet letters! I’ll admit they just about knock me off my feet, but it’s just what I want to hear. I wish I could put into words what I have in my heart and mind, but I am afraid I would make a mess of it. Perhaps you’ll remember some of [the] things I told you a long time ago. It all goes double, now.READ MORE

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October 16, 1944: “…We have lived the great and glorious days of the liberation of Paris…”

October 16th, 1944

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson,

I have been waiting several days to be [sure] that the mail service had resumed operations. But Bob Ingalls will probably be back before this card reaches you and you will already know already all about us. However I am glad to tell you [my] gratitude for your thoughts and for your parcels. It is hard to imagine all the comfort and the pleasure I had and Hommer also when we got them: they brought along a bit of American atmosphere and the remembrance of the beautiful years I spent in U.S.A. and when one is behind the barbed wires this is marvelous!

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October 13, 1944: “…I do love & miss you & pray that we will be together soon…”

October 13, 1944
France

Darling Marie,

I’m enclosing a few lines to let you know that I’m still in the best of health & also pray to hear the same from you, my [loved] one. Today I’m going to answer a few of your letters dated Sept. 19th, 20th & 26th. Before I start, I want you to know it is really cold out here where I am & I understand it is also cold back home. Oh well, I guess there isn’t anything I could do about it.

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OTD August 6, 1944: The Daimler-Marienfelde factory was bombed

Library of Congress image USZ62-59134
Upper left: Before; Center: During. Lower right: After.

On this day seventy-three years ago, eighty-three Army Air Force B-17 bombers targeted Daimler’s Marienfelde factory. “The bombing is very effective,” the mission record stated, “and ten major [targets] are severely damaged during one of the best days that the Eighth [Air Force] experiences.”

If you’ve read “Marcel’s Letters,” you’ll know I scoured military mission records to find out how and when the factory where Marcel worked had been bombed. If you have the book, you can read the passage about the search—and this specific bombing raid—on pages 109–112. The photo above is first referenced at the bottom of page 110.

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Dissecting the book cover

The book cover has been finalized! I’m delighted with the final product and am grateful for the work of the cover designer, Erin. I’ve heard people remark they like it; that it has “shelf-appeal.” What people may or may not understand by quickly glancing at the cover, though, is that it has specific design elements that work hard to tell its story.READ MORE

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