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WWII Romeo and Juliette


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#1 Skipper

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 08:26 AM

I wanted to surprise you for Valentine's day by sharing some of my archives. Not the regular things with Blood and Glory, but a true war time lasting Romance of hundreds of letters, documents etc.. between a German Gefreiter and his Frnech Fiancée. No politics here, just pure love.
These too young peolple have been together from 1940 until 1942 when Franz was sent to the Ostfront. You'd have expected their love to collapse? Not at all. Franz has been writing to his beloved from the front almost evey day. He received letters from his fiancée Christiane almost eveyday too. Because of the war some letters were lost , so theye are all numbered. There are hundreds of them !!!
I don't know who these lovers were, nore what happened to them after the war. They were probably separated by force . I don't know if Frantz even survived the front. It's a real Romeo and Juliette story. Beautiful and emotional.
This must have been their way to survive in the middle of a hell.
Enjoy and happy Valenties day. Docs will follow soon. :)
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#2 Skipper

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 08:33 AM

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The end of a love letter in German with some French phrases: when we will be united again I will kiss you non stop. I am yours for always and am thinking of nobody else but you, even when I'm angry at you . Je t'aime , always , always always....

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If you open this you will find my heart, open this again and you will read my thoughts I love you alot alot alot !! (written partly in German and in French)

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#3 bigfun

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 08:46 PM

Great find skipper!
I really enjoy these personal items, it gives us a glimpse of the war from a completely different perspective. In this case, true love! Thanks Skipper!!!
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Scott :flag_USA_ww2: :flag_netherlands:

#4 Skipper

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:31 AM

I am still trying to figre out how thye managed to keep in touch and get their mail through the front. Possibly his mum in Germany many have served as a relay.

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Here is a little poem he wrote for his sweatheart in 1943. In is entirely written in gothic. It says that how matter how they are separated they watch the same stars which unite them and their love is like the sunshine , so by watching the stars they can see their own love glitter.

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#5 Sturmkreuz

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:59 PM

More! More! Show me MORE!

Soldat:

Dienstgrab:

Vermisst:

Einheit:


#6 Skipper

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:05 PM

I will certainly post more as soon as I scan them. You gave me the FP numbers for 1940 to 42. Do you know the 43 and 44 figures (they should be Ostfront) .
Franz was in LE HAVRE in 1942 and then went to Russia from 42 to 1944.( or 1945, I don't know whether he survived)

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#7 Sturmkreuz

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:08 PM

Full name? Franz ...

Soldat:

Dienstgrab:

Vermisst:

Einheit:


#8 Sloniksp

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:14 PM

This is great Skipper!
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#9 Skipper

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:55 PM

Thanks Slon more will come as soon as I have finished scanning.

Sturmkreuz .The full name is difficult to read . His mom calls him Franzi and his fiancé little duck (canard) in French.
I believ eFrnaz could be a nickname and that the real name is GEFR. WILLI MATTHIAS. It is all written in German with some French words, sometimes it's Gothic!

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#10 Skipper

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:12 PM

Here is a part of a letter written from LE HAVRE France in On March 8th 1942.


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It would be too long to translate everything but Franz tells his fiancé that if only her mom would be more understanding it would be easier for all of them. :(
He even suggest swopping moms as a joke. He then tells that his own mom is very understanding and approves their love. He mentions them being maried
He also ends by saying that loves his fiancée mor eand more avery day and will write again the next day.

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#11 bigfun

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:32 PM

Great stuff Skipper!!
Scott :flag_USA_ww2: :flag_netherlands:

#12 Skipper

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 12:39 AM

Thanks Bigfun I will post more in the next days, it takes quite a while to decypher .

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#13 Skipper

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:06 PM

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This will give you an idea of th decyphering work I am doing to put the jigsaws of this love story together. I will have a lot more soon. There are 380 letters!!

They are mostly written by a FRANZ to his Fiancée Christiane. There are alos a few written by her to him. Then several letters are from Franz's mother to Christiane. The mothe rapproves their love and actually forwards the letters.
More soon.
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#14 Slipdigit

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 04:50 PM

Keep up the good work Skip and good job.

How did you come about receiving these letters?

Best Regards,  
JW :slipdigit:

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#15 Skipper

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 05:05 PM

Glad you came by Jeff. I came across a first lot of 60 letters. by chance on Ebay and won it because they are written in German and not many people could decypher them. I thought I had all of the archie when I saw another auction afew weeks later with 320 letters from the same origin. This time there were German buyers, but I knew what I wanted so I made sure I won the archive. I am in the process of analysing everything. It is a terribly sad story. Franz died in June 1944

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#16 Skipper

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 11:18 AM

I have read a lot of archives thse last 24 hours and have learnt a lot about this beautiful and yet sad love story.

I don't know about the 1940-41 period because the archive starts in 1942. In 1942 Franz FELLERING from Hüttenberg, Carinthia in Austria was based in LE havre Normandy. He already knew his fiancée Christiane (also nicknamed Monica, Moni, Mauserlein etc..) They were madly in love with each other and wrote daily love letters. These letters are absolutely beautiful and very interesting form a historical point of view. Later Franz and Christiane would be geographically separated. Franz would add a return stamp in his letters so that Christiane could benefit from the German Fieldpost which was faster. He would also send his own letters to a Kamarad who was still in le Havre (usually Willi Matthias) who would forward his letters. When Franz was ill in a Lazarett he would ask a friend and would give him cigarettes or a cigar for his service. :)

In 1943 Franz was sent to BELGIUM and then to the OSTFRONT. Their love did not only suvice this terrible new but actually grew stronger. Franz was sent to Southern Ukraine and was in ROMANIA in 1944. I am not sure about his occupation, I think he worked in a kitchen and brought supplies and food to the front. This is how he ended up on a boot on the Black sea in July 1944 and struck a mine. He got Scharpnel in his neck and lungs and took four days to die. I have his last letter in which he calls his fiancée his wife/ bride and says how happy they will be after this terrible war. On July 18th Christiane was very worried because sh had not gotten any news from Franz for three weeks. She wrote him many letters but these were returned. :(

Then on July 30th a letter managed to get through the line despite the Normandy battle. Franz's mother tells her the devastating news. I also have the draft of Chritiane's answer from August 1st, which is a beautiful letter in which she says she wil visit them after the war and will continue to consider her as her own mother. I do not know what happened to Christiane after August 1944. I suppose this was the last letter because Normandy was liberated soon after.

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#17 Skipper

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 11:21 AM

A wartime French perfume bottle seal . It still smells nice after 65 years! :)



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#18 macrusk

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 12:49 AM

Thanks, Skipper. I'm glad you got the letters and have shared them with us. It is a sad story. I was hoping that somehow they had managed to be together. Can you imagine how difficult it was for her in France when her fiance was a German soldier? And how difficult it must have been after his death and the liberation?

Letters were so important then and so important to us now from a historical perspective.

Michelle

#19 Skipper

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 07:20 AM

Glad you saw this thread Michelle, considering your avatar I thought you'd like it.
Things must have been terrible for Christiane. Not only her lover was far away and died, but her own family seemed to have been against this relation. The only people she could write to were here her sister in law and her mother in law, but just one letter before the postal service was interrupted when the Germans evacuated Normandy. The most terrible thing is that they all hated the war. Depsite censorship Franz wrote this in his letters. "Why are others so happy, whereas we are to be miserable and seperated because I am stuck in damned Russia? when is this dreadful war going to end?"

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#20 Skipper

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 10:15 AM

Here i a great note written by one of his Kamaraden to Christiane as a joke . It is written in a delicious broken French . I shall try to use a similar broken translation in language to give you the spirit of this joke.

"My dear Mademoiselle Christi,

There is the Kamrade of Franzi called Heri. The biggest wish of Heri is that Franzi leaves tomorrow and leaves his Kamarad alone. I must tell you that Franzi is a catastrophic Rogue and I believe it is better that if he was without me. I tell you I love you, but that is my secret!"

Then Franzi adds: "I have just a question do you believe one word of what my Kamarad Heri says? Of course the answer is no!!!!!! I love you more than anything. Franzi"

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#21 bigfun

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 08:26 PM

great stuff Skip, thanks!!!!
Scott :flag_USA_ww2: :flag_netherlands:

#22 Skipper

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 09:19 AM

Thanks BigFun, It's a sad story. Whne Franz was based near LEHAVRE he got sick and was transferred to aLazerett near ROUEN until he recovered. His fiancé would visit him there. I don't even know how she made it so far (bike , train , hitchhiking?) . Whne Franz wa son the Ostfront he would be on duty until it was dark and had to write his love letters with candle light. When he was on transit he would sleep in barracks and officers would extinguish lights at 11pm, so no letters at all..

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#23 macrusk

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 02:28 AM

It's amazing how others perceive the study of military history to only be the study of conflict and man's inhumanity to man, yet so often it is the study of stories of love against the most improbable backdrop, or stories of friendship and sacrifice of the most noble kinds. And love and friendship and bravery happen on both sides of the conflicts.

Thanks again Skipper.
Michelle

#24 Skipper

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 03:10 PM

I was most surprise that Franz's mother and daughter, immediately accepted the fiancée. Depsite the war. Christiane called Frau Fellering "mother" she would sign "mutti" , Hilde in turn would sign your "friend" (Freundin) and she would sometimes even write "sister". Thye were all worried relatives who had Franz in common and their grief must have ben terrible. Yet it was one among millions others. I must also stress the great solidarity of his fellow soldiers who would post the letter, lend their mailbox or felpost nummer, bring parcels, trade a felpost stamp for a pack of cigarettes. Without these guys, the correspondance would have been impossible because Christiane was not officially allowed to use the Felpost network. There would always be someone to help her. The last letter that got through to Normandy was on July 31st 1944. Useless to say that it must have been a risky business to deliver the very letter that told Christiane her lover had died in Romania on July 4th....
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#25 Skipper

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:54 PM

I like this letter a lot because it still has the unused return parcel stamp on it. The reason it wa saved is because it was stuck on the letter, probably by humidity. I could not be detached without pting the letter in water or making a hole in it. Therefore it is still intact. I still have other tabs that were used to stick stamps on the paper, but this is theonly copy of a complete relic.

The letter is very interesting it mentions the despair of a long wait, but alos the Saturday evening activites (cinema with friends). The films the Germans played = a train departs (Ein Zug Fährt ab) and the sunday off day which will allow Franz to write Christiane another love letter.

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