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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May 2, 1943: “I will be fine working in this new job until the liberation.”

To: Madame Pierre Hericher, Paris, 20e, de Ménilmontant 110
From: Monsieur Pierre Hericher, Prisoner No. 21.523, Stalag 19

At camp. May 2, 1943

My little wolf1

I got out of the infirmary this week. My fingers still need to be massaged to get back their movement. I get them massaged every evening after work because I am now living in the camp. I work in a military store with paper supplies, light work that suits my hand that was handicapped2 by these two accidents, the one of last June and this one. I think that I will be fine working in this new job until the liberation. I was thinking a bit that I might be discharged but I’m probably not injured badly enough. No problem, I’ll just wait.  


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

Up Here… A 10th Mountain Soldier’s Letters Home 1943–1945

Earlier this year I received an email from a man named David Hoople, who was writing from his home in Maine. After reading Marcel’s Letters he was so struck by similarities in our stories that he felt compelled to reach out. “The parallels to my project were inspiring,” he wrote. David went on to explain he had been transcribing the letters his father, Ted, mailed home while serving in the 10th Mountain Division during WWII. Similar to my search for information on Marcel, David’s journey to understand his father’s experience involved carefully piecing together information from handwritten letters, a trip abroad, and a remarkable encounter at the top of Mt. Croce—one of those goosebump-inducing moments that just might make you believe in divine meddling.READ MORE

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

September 23, 1942: “…it is absolutely necessary for me to learn [German]…”

Handwritten WWII letter, written in French in black ink, covered with four chemical censor marks.


Miss Elza Delbovier
106 avenue Nouvelle
Brussels 4 [unclear]

Full-page Letter

My dear Els,

You will undoubtedly receive this letter before the one that I mailed on Monday the 21st [unclear]. I apologize thousands of times for such a delay in writing to you. I would really not want you to be upset about this.READ MORE

May 14/15, 1942: “…my greatest ambition is to get home to you…”

10-page handwritten letter written by love-lorn British soldier stationed in Sudan, May 1942

Letter 52

Wednesday, 13th May, 1942
1887416 Sgt. Leigh AA, RE

My Darling Sweetheart,

How long it is since I last wrote you. I don’t know but it is longer than it should have been. I am extremely sorry to keep you of all people waiting but I am sure you must know and realise that I have an excellent reason, so please forgive me darling. I must confess that I have been frightfully busy and working hard in the intense heat produces a tiredness which hinders all attempts to write but the smallest of letters. Since my precious you are worth far more to me than a few scrappy lines I just wait my opportunity. READ MORE