Sunday 1 January 2012

Letters to Ireland from Germany after WW2

As you may have seen in my last blog, my beloved grandmother passed away recently.  My parents found an old letter when they were going through some of her paperwork.  We were aware of the existence of this letter and a photograph.  Since then we have discovered two more letters and the photograph of the German family.  I'll let the letters speak for themselves.  I've also decided not to publish the lady's first name or address as her children are possibly still alive.

I will faithfully copy the letters below, word for word.  To put the letter in context, I believe Gran was a member of The Red Cross and sent food parcels to a German family after World War 2.  A photo of the family is below.  The little girl mentioned at the end of the letter in 1949 is my mum.  The first letter is written by Frau Bohnet's mother and the final two were written in German, by Frau Bohnet, and translated by a neighbour.   The photo shows Mrs Bohnet with her two children.  Again I won't publish their names. 

Also, Gran probably did this as a mother and a good Christian and would not have liked a fuss made of her.  I have put these letters on my blog for historical interest purposes only.

29th May '48

My Dear Familie Fletcher
         Yesterday we received with great joy and thanks a parcel from you.  We thank you very sincerely.  You cannot realise the happiness it brought us especially coming from a stranger.  Yes, there are still good people in this world, who are ready to help us.  I regret that we cannot thank you personally but I know God will reward you and give you health.  My Daughter to whom you kindly sent the parcel, that is Frau Bohnet and for whom I am writing this letter is presently ill and begged me to write you and thank you.

My dear Familie Fletcher you cannot imagine the pleasure we got, especially the children.  The eyes pop out of their heads at the sight of such large bars of chocolate and the other good contents, such as we have not seen for years.

The children believe that God had inspired you with the knowledge that they were fatherless.  It is a pity we can buy nothing, and the scanty monthly ration we receive is nothing.  Everything is to be had, but only for the French in occupation.  Our son William does his utmost for us but I realise he too has a family to look for.  We really had a bad experience in the past years.  Having lost everything including home and all our belongings.  Also a daughter 39 years of age and my two daughters Husbands one of which was Mrs. Bohnet's husband.  Now again May God help and Protect you for your kindness again my sincere thanks.

Frau Bertha L

Freudenstadt, 12th Jan.1949
Bahnhofstrasse 95

Dear Mrs. Fletcher,

Many, many thanks for your gift, which you were kind enough to send to me. Also in the name of my children I say many thanks to you.  The good god may repay you for all the love and kindness you have showed to us.
Excuse me, not having answered your letter earlier, but not knowing the english language I had to wait until a friend of mine who lives in another town had translated it for me.
I very much regret not to be able to send you a photograph of my children and myself, but I hope to have one made one of those days and as soon as possible I shall send it to you.  For five years now I am waiting for my husband who is missed in Russia and had hoped to take us all on the picture.  But up to this date I am without any news.
It is wonderful that people like you still live in this world.  It is true, we have been suffering a great deal in the last four years and it just is like a gift of heaven to feel the love of people and even of people who do not even know me.
Once more many, many thanks to you dear Mrs. Fletcher.  Give our love to your little daughter.  God bless her and you.

Sincerely yours,
Frau B Bohnet

Freudenstadt, 10.2.49

Dear Mrs.

A few days ago I received your parcel, for which I thank you very much.  I hope you received in the meantime my letter I wrote to you last month in which I informed you of the receipt of your parcel of octobre last.
I join this letter a picture of myself and my children promised to you in my last letter. 
I passed Christmas very quietly with my mother and my two children and the contents of your parcel of october last made it possible to make Christmas more Christmas like as it would have been otherwise.

Once more many, many thanks for all love and kindness you showed towards us and with the best of wishes for you and your family
I remain

Sincerely yours
B Bohnet
u. kinder
(and children)


  1. Wow, Carol, that is amazing. What a wonderful thing to discover. It's like something out of movie. And such a powerful letter. Very moving.

  2. Jeez Carol, this is amazing. I am so sorry your Gran passed, however, I don't doubt she is in heaven now & maybe has met this German lady?!?

    The letter is so human and so loving, thank you so much for sharing this.

    It is wonderful to be reminded that loving kindness is so needed in our world & your Gran was obviously full of same.

    God bless her & you.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this - it's just wonderful, so touching and proof, if it were needed, one of the most important gifts in life is kindness.

    It's timeless, always in fashion, FREE, endless in supply, breaks down the strongest barriers and everyday achieves miracles.

    What a wonderful woman your Grandmother must have been and what a very kind one.

  4. Oh, how wonderful! These are the acts of humanity that make people great. Sorry for your gran's passing. Sounds like she was an incredible woman.

  5. No, I don't think it would. But what a letter to treasure, hey? Fascinating.