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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September 1, 1943: “We have become lathe operators in a war factory”

Postcard written September 1, 1943 by French forced laborers Maurice and Seraphin Carlue. The small postcard was written with violet ink and has a brown stamp with Hitler's profile.Mr. and Mrs. Jean Maurel and their son
1 Cours Gambetta
Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône)

Munich, September 1, 1943

We’ve been working for a month now in our new function as specialized workers. We have actually become off-line lathe operators in a war factory in Munich. We never knew we had such talents!READ MORE

July 4, 1944: “I’m also very happy … you are taking care of us, the exiles.”

July 4, 1944
(From Joseph Planche to Rene Cabirou)
My dear friend, 

I just received your letter of March 22, 1944, which pleased me a lot, to see that I am not forgotten by a workplace friend, and I would like to be with you, as in the past.  I’m also very happy that you told me that you are taking care of us, the exiles. 


Saving Private Ryan + French Forced Labor

Saving Private Ryan, 57:40  ©Dreamworks Pictures and Paramount Pictures

I’ve met with any number of book clubs where someone remarked how little they knew about French forced labor during WWII before hearing Marcel’s story (…hey, me too, sister. Me too!) A number of readers have also remarked that — now that they know more about what happened to conscripted French civilians — they’ve ‘picked up’ on references to it while reading other books.


October 10, 1942: “I’m keeping the little blanket close to me because it smells like the air of the surroundings of Nogent!”

Saturday, October 10, 1942
My dear Mom,
Today no letter from you, but a package for which I thank you very much: a padlock, Felisedine, slippers, hard candies, envelopes, a blanket, in short, everything that was written on the little paper inside, everything except the ‘Comedia’ that you may have taken out at the last minute. 

If that’s the case, you were right, for the reading of ’Echo de Nancy’ is enough for me. Again, thank you but please do not deprive yourself of anything for me, for I don’t need anything else and I wouldn’t fear asking you if I did. So please don’t go without something for my comfort, promise? 


July 2, 1944: “Nobody counts on the return of Roland according to the events of June 6”

Elbing, July 2, 1944

Dear Madame and Monsieur Roland, 

I received your kind letter [which] gave me great pleasure to have your news and information about the arrival of Roland. Thank you very much for the information about the [unclear] young lady. I’m in good spirits, don’t worry.


Service du Travail Obligatoire intake form, 1943

People often ask whether I’m still actively searching for information on Marcel. People seem disappointed when I tell them I am not trying to find additional information on his life or his time in the Berlin-Marienfelde labor camp. I feel I have enough information to understand who he was and what he may have experienced. And I believe that even if I were to find additional documents (or letters!) it would not fundamentally change the man I came to know: a kind and loving husband and father.READ MORE

Sad News from France

August 10, 1934 – September 26, 2020


One thing I have heard over and over from readers of Marcel’s Letters is that Marcel’s family began to feel like their family. That is why I feel compelled to share the news that Marcel and Renée’s beloved middle daughter, Denise, passed away on Saturday, September 26. Denise was 86 years old. Denise is survived by her children Philippe and Valentine, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


June 2, 1944: “I must be strong and have patience and hope that the beautiful days will arrive soon”

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roumieu
Bar sur Loup, close to Grasse, Maritime Alps, France

Ludwigshofen, June 2, 1944


My very dear parents,

I’m sending you these few words to share some of my news. First of all, I can tell you that we are all in good health and I hope that this letters will find you the same, my dear parents, as well as the Fécaud and Giordamanga families. READ MORE

January 21, 1944: “…we talked a bit about our country back home. That made him happy…”

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roumieu
Bar sur Loup, close to Grasse, Maritime Alps, France

Ludwigshofen, January 21, 1944

My very dear parents,

I have just received several letters dated December 20, 23, 25 and January 1 that pleased me very much, for they brought me your good news and I can see that your health is good, and I can tell you that it’s the same for all of us.READ MORE

December 23, 1943: “Hoping…the bad moments that we are all going through will soon be ended.”

Front and back of yellowed postcard written December 23, 1943

Lyon, December 23, 1943

My little Etta,

I hope that this card will give you the most sincere wishes that I am sending, hoping that the new year will be good for you, and that both of you will enjoy good health and that the bad moments that we are all going through will soon be ended.READ MORE

December 21, 1943: “tender kisses that I form very far from you but are no less sincere.”

Front and back side of handwritten postcard from WWII

December 21, 1943

My beloved little darling,

I was happy this evening to read your letter of December 6, learning that you received your money order and yes, my darling, so far I have had a good amount on pay day but believe me, your words of thanks touched me also this evening. READ MORE

A Return to Paris and Promises Kept

W A R N I N G :  B O O K  S P O I L E R S  A H E A D

Last year at the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) conference in Montreal (watch my talk here), I learned ATypI’s 2018 conference would be held in Antwerp, Belgium. After realizing Antwerp was an easy two-hour train ride from Paris, I realized I had found the perfect excuse to return to the City of Lights.