November 23, 1919

Fahrlander Family

Siegelau, 23 Nov. 1919

Dear Brother and Family

We received your precious letter quite some time ago and it made us all very happy to hear something from you once again. I did write half a letter some weeks ago but was unfortunately prevented from completing it. I put off from one Sunday to the next, and too much time went by. I have to apologize. You will probably have waited for an answer for quite some time now.
Well, dear brother, you ask how things stand with us concerning that there is quite a lot to write which I will take care of later. To be sure one does not know if things will improve or get worse. But dear Brother and family, everything would be possible to bear if we could only get our son dear son Wilhelm back again. This sorrow is almost impossible to forget. The oldest, Joseph, was drafted in May 1915. He was temporarily buried from a shelling attack, and in 1917 poisoned by gas from which event he recovered only after a long period of time. He has been with us again for a year now.
The second son, Wilhelm, was drafted in October 1915. He went to France in 1916 and was wounded in the spring of 1917. After recuperating he was posted to the reserve units in Hamburg and then was assigned to the mountain artillery, and in June of 1918 went to the hot country of Macedonia. When they had to withdraw under extremely taxing circumstances in the middle of September, he who had been such a strong individual, fell sick on the 5th of October and suffered pneumonia in both lungs which he was unable to resist, and he breathed out his young life in a military hospital in Neusatz, Hungary, at the age of 22. This loss almost kills me but unfortunately there is nothing to be done about it. All I want to write you is that we lost 30 young people (from Siegelau). I want to name them later. It does agitate me terribly. Our cousin Winterbauer lost all of his 3 sons. Of those of our sister Rosa, one is gone too; 3 came back.
I do not care particularly to write how things are going here. Everything is terribly expensive. A suit that could be purchased for 30 marks before, is 400 to 500 marks now. That way you can figure things out approximately. Horses are 7000 to 8000 marks. I have not had one for two years now.* The "fox" (light brown) mare that I had, died of colic two years ago and I have been doing everything with oxen since, and it works all right that way.
Now dear Brother we notice too that two of your sons were put in military uniform but were fortunate enough not to have to come over here. One could not help thinking at times whether perhaps dear sons would meet in this manner.
This summer an American soldier with the occupying forces notified parents in Elzach that he buried their son, sought for so long, in France. Coincidence can bring everything, but unfortunately nothing good.
The division of our father's estate will be completed soon now and something will go to you.** That which he actually farmed or used will not be much, I am afraid; I believe about 600 marks. It will probably have to be deposited in a bank here since the exchange value is very low.
As far as other things are concerned everything is all right with us. One of the boys, August, is 15 years old and suffers from a lung ailment and has unable to work since spring when I make good use of him. Vitus, who is two years older and who has been trained in the craft of a mechanic, does not particularly care for such matters (farming). The girls have come through the miserable war very well. Since I took care of the duties of the mayor too, I would like to give it up shortly.
Yesterday we auctioned off the right of the hunt. Up to the war it was 800 marks, and now it is 2610; to someone from Freiburg.
Now I want to conclude, hoping that this letter will reach you well and will arrive soon. Your letter took a little more than three weeks to get here and arrived here well and still closed.
Well, best regards from all of us. Farewell now, hoping for better times. Please write again soon too and do not wait as long as I have

Your Brother,

Franz Anton

I will send you a picture of my late son Wilhelm later.

* Horses were conscripted in the war, as well as men.
** Franz Anton, the father, died April 15,1915


NOTES: (Helen Ramsey)

Of the brother Franz Anton's sons, Joseph was born July 24, 1895; Wilhelm on October 15, 1896.

Franz Anton, the father, died April 15, 1915, some 14 months after shipping the clock and about eight months after Germany entered World War I. Any letter telling of his death was not found among the letters preserved.

Partial sequence of war declarations of World War I pertaining mainly to Wilhelm's presence in Macedonia and death in Hungary:

June 28, 1914 - Arch-duke Francis Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
July 28, 1914 - Austria declared war on Serbia.
August 1, 1914 - Germany declared war on Russia, ally of Serbia.
August 3, 1914 - Germany declared war on France (France refused to give guarantee of neutrality; was ally of Russia.)
August 4, 1914 - Germany invaded Belgium.
England declared war on Germany.
August 6, 1914 - Austria declared war on Russia.
August 9, 1914 - Serbia declared war on Germany.
May 24, 1915 - Italy declared war on Austria.
October 14, 1915 - Bulgaria declared war on Serbia. This was followed by declarations against Bulgaria by England, France, Serbia, Russia and Italy within the following 5 days.
April 6, 1918 - United States declared war on Germany.
November 11, 1918 - Armistice.

Also might be added here the fact that in the period from July 28, 1914 to December 10, 1917, there were a total of 48 declarations of war extending from North and South America eastward to the orient to include Japan, Siam and China, and in our hemisphere, even little Cuba and Panama.

Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 when it appeared that Germany might be winning and Germany could promise to return to Bulgaria, Macedonian territory annexed by Serbia in 1913, something the Allied Powers could not do at the time. Bulgaria struck Serbia from the east and the Austro-German forces attacked from the north. Serbia collapsed. Bulgaria occupied areas of Macedonia in October 1915. The remains of Serbian army found refuge on Corfu.
Although Germany had granted Bulgaria her wanted lands, she also exploited her food supplies resulting in an ill-fed and ill-clothed Bulgarian army, and when German help was needed most, Germany needed her men and supplies elsewhere. Bulgaria, aware of her mistake, made peace quickly, agreeing to demoblize her army, evacuate all occupied territory, and permit Allied armies to cross Bulgaria to attack Turkey. The Serbian army returned and attacked the small Austro-German detachments left in Serbia, and by November 1, 1918, were in Belgrade.
Franz Anton writes, "...they had to withdraw under extremely taxing circumstances in the middle of September". Wilhelm was with the German troops escaping Serbia and being pushed nowthward. He fell ill on October and died in a military hospital in Neusatz, Hungary. Neusatz is now known as "Novi Sad", a city in Yugoslovia located on the Danube, and 50 miles northwest of Belgrade; population was about 102,500 in 1972 atlas.!



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