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Historic Heartfelt Post-WWII 1948 Letter: German Children to Those in USA

Education does not end when leaving school. It is an ongoing process that certainly makes life more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy this!

German school children around 1948

German school children around 1948

1948 Letter

A letter with the date 1948 saved by a family member is a recent discovery of ours. Along with the letter written in German was a typewritten copy interpreting the written prose. It made me think of Germany post World War II, and it also led to other discoveries in and around the town of origin where the letter originated.

Thank you letter written in German

Thank you letter written in German

Germany After World War 2

The country of Germany was devastated after the end of the two world wars. Victors after the war did not want to see the rise of German aggression again. Due to the closing of factories and other restrictions, unemployment in Germany soared.

Humanitarian efforts helped to relieve hunger and help people in other ways resume a more normal life. It all took time. This letter refers to the part that school children in the United States did to help school children in Kirrlach, Germany.

The letter does not specify the gifts that children in the United States sent to their counterparts in war-torn Germany. Suffice it to say that the tokens of friendship were greatly appreciated! You can read below the accompanying typewritten interpretation of the letter.

Kirrlach, the 2nd of March, 1948.

Dear children,

This week we children in Kirrlach received the tokens of love from you. How we rejoiced you cannot imagine, because we live in a poverty stricken territory.

Our place is located in the vicinity of Heidelberg and numbers 6,000 inhabitants, among them 1,000 school children.

The letter continues:

In the past year we had a bad crop failure, on account of which we suffer much distress.

Joyfully and thankfully we accept every small item because of it, and see from this that there are still children in this world who stand by us in this our great need.

Once more our most cordial thanks, and many greetings sent to you from the children of class VI b.

Erna Wurges

Waghäusel, Germany

Three townships comprise the German city known as Waghäusel. The core city of Waghäusel has the fewest residents (over 1,200), while the other two, Kirrlach, and Wiesental each have more than 9,000 people living in each of them.

The beautiful Rhine River Valley is nearby, and farming takes place in the fertile agricultural areas around these towns. There is also the scenic Black Forest and protected wetlands, making this portion of the southwestern state of Baden-Württenberg a beautiful place to visit and live.

The first three photos above show a schoolhouse that dates back to 1898 in Kirrlach. Is this the schoolhouse from which the letter originated, or perhaps a newer one? The last two photos show a German wine tavern that has been in continual business since July 15, 1700.

Major manufacturing enterprises were not in this rural area. For that reason, many of these old structures escaped damage from bombing raids during the war and still stand today.

Churches

Given that the entire population of Waghausel, including Kirrlach and Wiesental, is plus or minus 20,000 people, they certainly have a good number of churches! The 15th-century monastery and pilgrimage church in Waghausel initially attracted more people to settle and live in that region.

Although the text in the video below is in German, you can see more of this lovely region. If you happen to read German, you are in luck and can learn even more.

Bertha Benz Memorial Route

Next to Kirrloch is the now-famous Bertha Benz Memorial Route. People taking that scenic drive are following the route that Bertha and her sons took back in 1888 when she operated the first internal combustion-powered vehicle on her mission to prove the efficacy of her husband Karl's invention. It was a daring adventure! The roads (many of which dated back to Roman times) were primitive. People usually walked or were conveyed by horses.

She purchased the fuel (a cleaning solvent) to power her 3-wheeled vehicle at a pharmacy. Bertha used a hatpin and one of her garters to keep the conveyance operational, among other challenges. To get a sense of how unusual this journey was, watch the video below. For even more information, click on the source links at the bottom of this page.

"My first customer was a lunatic. My second had a death wish."

— Karl Benz

Watch the video below to see the oldest street-legal car in Germany, also built by Karl Benz, the founder of Mercedes Benz. Vintage car enthusiasts should love this!

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 10, 2021:

Hi Devika,

Thanks for reading the letter written back after WWII, and also information about those times, especially that early Benz vehicle. I found it to be fascinating. Thanks for your comment. I am amazed that you found it in the feed.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 10, 2021:

Peggy W Interesting, informative and a well-written hub on this issue. You shared a unique hub and rare about the letter.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 28, 2021:

Hi Patricia,

My dad also fought in WWII as a paratrooper on the European front. I hope that you are doing well in Florida. You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 27, 2021:

Hi John,

I am so glad that someone took the time to translate that handwritten letter from German into English. It would have been fun to know the origin of the class in the U.S. that was corresponding and sending gifts to the one in Germany. I am guessing somewhere in the Midwest, because of where our relatives lived during their lives.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 26, 2021:

Peggy, I read this with great interest when you sent it. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. My Daddy fought in this war and taught us to love our country, unconditionally.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 26, 2021:

Hi Vanita,

Thanks for your comprehensive comment about this handwritten letter, and the import of it. Like you, I found those videos interesting and informative, especially that early Benz vehicle and the one over 100 years old still operating on German streets. Enjoy the balance of your weekend!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2021:

Hi Liza,

Thanks for checking back. Since no one can leave comments on articles unless they spot them in the feed, I purposely space them out. Your memories of visiting Heidelberg must be very special ones as are my memories of visiting southern Germany.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 25, 2021:

What a delightful article, Peg. I love seeing the wonderful penmanship in handwritten letters like this even if I can’t read it. When interpreted, though, it was touching and makes us realise what people have to go through in the aftermath of war.

Wonderful photos and interesting videos cap this off. Thank you for sharing.

Vanita Thakkar on September 24, 2021:

I loved reading and knowing about the letter - very rare these days (though e-mails are there as an updated version of those beautiful hand-written letters that we hardly get to see these days). It aroused mixed feelings of sadness - at the tragedies that wars bring about; love - at the sweetness, cuteness and innocence of the little kids from both sides; hope and inspiration - at the kindness of the givers and the gratitude of the receivers .... Such little gestures, however little and insignificant they may appear in front of the surrounding large scale destructions and tragedies, are like the beautiful stars twinkling in the darkness of night - captivating and inspiring.

The videos are nice, especially the one about Martha Benz - amazing!! Loved it very much.

Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

Yes, the penmanship is beautiful in this letter. I just read your piece about the 1950s, and penmanship is one thing that was taught back then. For many years, assuming we got a thank you at all, most of them seem to be crudely printed these days. I think penmanship is also a lost art for many people today.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2021:

Hi MG,

Thanks for reading this and leaving a comment. I would like to think that we are smart enough as humans to rethink how things have been done in the past, and learn from it. I hope your dire prediction is not what the future portends.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 23, 2021:

Hi Liza,

Southern Germany is so pretty! It is great that you got to visit a fellow student who was studying in Heidelberg. While I did not personally get to that city, I saw a number of others in that region. I am happy to know that you enjoyed reading this post-WWII letter that has significance in many different ways. Thanks for your comment.

Liza from USA on September 23, 2021:

Hi Peggy, it is my second time commenting on the article :) It's showing on my feed while I was reading the other comments. However, I didn't see mine. I wonder if there's an issue. But, I love the letter! I wish I have something like that. It's precious. Oh, I went to Heidelberg and several other cities in Germany in 2007.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 22, 2021:

Hi Heidi,

I agree that these personal letters are impactful, but less well-known that the items that become headlines. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for your comment.

VIDYA D SAGAR on September 22, 2021:

Congratulations Peggy on the Hubbie award. This is a great article. The children's letter touched my heart. People everywhere suffer the ravages of war. It was interesting to read about Bertha Benz Memorial Route. The pictures and videos are fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 22, 2021:

Hi Bill,

I think that all WWII buffs would enjoy reading letters like this one, and the other one that I recently shared about a lone survivor from an airplane used in bombing raids that crashed. They are all personal bits of history that few people get to read, unless letters like these have been saved by people receiving them. I am glad you liked this. Thanks for your comment.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 21, 2021:

Peggy

I find these letters quite interesting.

The penmanship is so elegant in this one.

It's hard to imagine the civilians & children who suffer during this time of war.

Your pictures are amazing. I really am fascinated by the churches.

You always do such a great job with your articles.

Take care.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 21, 2021:

This is a nice article, but right up to 2021 the dominant theme of the world is war. We can't get away from it, but tales like the one written by you show its futility but it's not going to stop.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Bill,

That is so true! It is not only the soldiers and their families who suffer the effects of war, but also the civilians. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

I am glad that you appreciated this old letter that tells a story about that area of Germany after the war. Bertha Benz was amazing, wasn't she! She pressed forward when her husband was reluctant to test his new vehicle. The rest, as they say, is history! Thanks for your comment.

Liza from USA on September 21, 2021:

Hi Peggy, another ardent letter from the post-WWII. You definitely own something that has emotional significance to the readers. Thanks for sharing it. By the way, you've mentioned a few cities in Germany. In 2007, I went to Heidelberg to visit a fellow Malaysian student who's studied there. It was a lovely town, situated in southwestern Germany.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Liz,

I am glad you liked the photos as well as the other items shown in this article. I hope you are staying well and getting to do a bit of traveling now. I always enjoy your articles.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

That is such a lovely state in Germany. Although I have not been to Heidelberg, I have been to quite a few other places in Baden-Wurttenberg. My friend lives in Herrenberg which is south of Stuttgart. We did quite a bit of traveling in southern Germany. Enjoy your times spent in Heidelberg. You must be giving lectures or reading your poetry in that university town?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

That is such a lovely state in Germany. Although I have not been to Heidelberg, I have been to quite a few other places in Baden-Wurttenberg. My friend lives in Herrenberg which is south of Stuttgart. We did quite a bit of traveling in southern Germany. Enjoy your times spent in Heidelberg. You must be giving lectures or reading your poetry in that university town?

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 21, 2021:

Finding these bits of history is amazing. These are so much more personal and impactful than even the "big" history stories we all know. Thanks for sharing. And, again, congrats on your Hubbie Award!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Pamela,

I have several German friends, one of which lives in the U.S. When she was a child, she and her siblings were taken out to the country to live with grandparents in Germany. It was deemed safer, and unlike people in larger cities, there was generally food to eat because of enough land for gardens. Hunger was a big problem after the war. Hoover was responsible for helping to feed people in war-torn countries. Visiting his Presidential Library was most interesting many years ago. I am glad you found this to be informative and interesting. Thanks for your comment.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on September 21, 2021:

Wonderful piece of history, Peggy. I’ve always been a WWII buff so I found this fascinating. Enjoyed the old photos and video also.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 21, 2021:

This is something we don't think about regarding war, the civilians left in the countries after the way, and how they must deal with so much heartbreak and hardship. Excellent article, my friend!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

I am so glad you liked learning about this letter and what it reflected about that area in Germany after the last world war. The town of Kirrlach looks beautiful! Learning about Bertha Benz was fun. She certainly took things into her own hands with regard to testing that early rendition of what would become an auto industry! Thanks for your comment.

Rosina S Khan on September 21, 2021:

The historic letter from German to US children really touched me a lot. And the old motor vehicle driven by Martha simply astonished me. I was intrigued by the other video on another running old motor vehicle too. Thank you for your wonderful article, Peggy. I had much to learn from it.

Liz Westwood from UK on September 21, 2021:

This is a fascinating article. I really appreciate all the detail and the photographs, which add to the interest.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2021:

Thanks for reading this letter and accompanying information about this part of Germany, Umesh. I appreciate your speedy comment.

manatita44 from london on September 21, 2021:

I loved the children's letter, of course. It's hopeful tone, relevance and inspiration, but I loved the scenery, churches and the beauty of the country. I have been to Heidelberg about 60 times, one of those mentioned. I was there 3 weeks again and will return in October, God's willing. Lovely read!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 21, 2021:

This is a very interesting article, Peggy. I like all of the historical information. I must admit I have never thought of the suffering of German citizens after the war, but I know the German people were not all in favor of the war. It is always interesting to see a letter from that time in history. Thanks for all this excellent information.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on September 20, 2021:

Hello, Peggy. I enjoyed learning about this letter from 1948. It's quite touching, and I found it much more emotional because it was written by students of Grade VI.

I also liked the videos and photographs. It was fascinating to learn about this letter, Bertha Benz's adventure, and, of course, Kirrlach.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us. I always value your efforts and the time you spend in creating your articles.

Please accept my heartfelt congrats on receiving the Hubbie Award. I am so happy for you. Your use of images is always unique, and it always add more life to your writings. Well deserved!

Take care and stay safe. Keep smiling!

Blessings and Love to you!!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 20, 2021:

Very exhaustive account and well researched article. Well done and thanks.

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