Carolyn Porter | My dear, dear parents...
A postcard from September, 1943, from a Belgian working at the Daimler plant in Bad Cannstatt, Germany
Denis Gaston, World War II forced labor, Bad Cannstatt, Daimler-Benz, Daimler forced labor, Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé, Marcel's Letters
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September 7, 1943: “My dear, dear parents…”


What’s the first thing that caught my eye about this postcard from September, 1943? The unusual emerald green ink, of course!

This card, written by a man named Gaston, was mailed to his parents in Belgium. I don’t know as much about forced labor in Belgium as I do about forced labor in France, but I’m guessing Gaston was sent to Germany to work at the Daimler plant in Bad Cannstatt. A huge Daimler assembly plant still appears to be located in Bad Cannstatt; streets in the area are named “Daimlerstrasse” and “Mercedesstrasse.”

Gaston’s postcard does not contain any major revelations. But what I’ve come to learn is that sometimes these postcards were simply proof of life. And if Gaston suspected he might be transferred to another location, it might have also created a trail for his loved ones to follow.

Bad Cannstatt (Stuttgart)
September  7, 1943

My dear, dear parents,
I am writing you these few words to let you know that I still haven’t heard from you since your last letter of the 12th of last month, and that I am in good health in spite of our friends’ visit*.  I hope that you are well and in excellent health and that it is so for the whole family, the friends and acquaintances. Here, so far, it’s the same thing. There is still talk of a move to Nuremberg, maybe Friday; and if it is I’ll let you know immediately in order to give you the new address. I hope that Dad works every day, and that you, Mom, keep busy with your little household chores. I hope that the crops are good. Just think, tomorrow, the 8th, it will be exactly six months since I left home.
Now, dear parents I end these few words because I have nothing else to tell you at this time. While waiting to hear from you, my dear parents, I hope you receive the best kisses from your son who loves you and thinks of you all the time.
So long! Everything is fine on board.

*Translator’s note: I wonder if this is a code word referring to the Germans
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