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July, 10th, 1943
Dear Magda and Bert!
Please note my new address!
Please do not be angry for not hearing from me in such a long time, which really wasn't so long, because I'm always thinking of you all. Perhaps you think that it's easy to say that and why bother coming up with such lazy lame excuses. But you know, a soldier has very little time, and I'll prove it to you straight away.
05.30 wake up call, wash up, make bed, clean up sleeping quarters, breakfast
06.30 roll call
13.00 receive orders for the day
13.15 line up for service
17.00 clean and polish gear
19.00 clean weapons
20.00 inspection of cleaned fire arms
21.00 a letter to my wife
From 22.00 until 05.30 air raid alarms whenever the Tommies feel like it. You see how day and night are packed with fun-filled activities.
In spite of all this, I'm fine and the boot camp drill has just brought me an advanced course in the bakery to fine tune me for a profession that I've been working in for the past sixteen years! Apart from that, I've become a real soldier. I can stand still, keep my trap shut, shout "shit" in a loud voice, behave like a "Johnny be good," and zap like a bolt of lightning about the parade grounds. In addition, they taught me not to steal any silver spoons and not to rape women, because this behavior is unworthy of a soldier.
I'm with twelve others in one barrack, and I'm probably the youngest. All are sacrifices for the total war. Among them, a doctor of chemistry, a middle-school principle, a diploma engineer, a blacksmith, a musician, farmers and craftsmen. In the evening, when we're all sitting around the table, the middle-school principal might tell us about something, and the blacksmith lets off a loud fart, purely out of excitement. The chemist mumbles a chemical formula and swears that there was some sulfur involved. The musician awards a B-major or a C-major, according to the tone of the fart. The engineer calculates the rate of dissolving in the air, and the blacksmith even thinks: "It smells just as if it came from a horse itself." I, however, think that it's a little "Johnny be bad" finding its way out again. Apart from all that, we get along just fine, because we're all struggling for one common goal - home leave. But up until now, the enemy proves stronger. I wonder who'll be the first to get through.
I like Bremen very much, but it would be even nicer if Tommy couldn't fly. Köln has been hit very badly. It's horrible how everything looks. I think the frontline isn't as bad as either of these cities. I heard from Mutz that you sent her two pictures, for which I thank you very much. I hope that you are all coping well under the circumstances, and hope for a quick peace for all of us.
Warmest greetings and kisses.