Post WW II
I do not who initiated the first correspondence after the war ended in 1945, or when. Dad died January 23, 1944, while the war was still being waged and it would not have seemed possible to inform anyone in Germany of his death. Mern has given me what letters remained of the post war years after correspondence was resumed between Vitus and Hansrudi with Mother and Emil. I was living in Kansas and later corresponded with Hansrudi.
From the letters it is seen that they were in desperate circumstances in Germany, and that Mother, Emil, Mern, and Mern's mother, Betty Gustafson, tried to help them by sending them needed articles – food and clothing. Hansrudi was about 17 or 18 when the war ended, had learned some English and tried very hard to express their gratitude for the parcels sent. His letters are difficult to read in spots, mainly because the letters in some words are indistinct, due to a wide pen nib, so I have typed copies to the best of my ability.
The letters I have range from 1947 through 1964-65, which two years are about my plans to go to Germany; 1966, the year of Vitus' death; a letter in 1976 telling of the death of that dear Hermann Weber (Vitus' brother-in law) at age 91; my first correspondence with Franz Fahrlander in 1979 when I sent Xerox copies of some of the old letters with a resume of others, to both Franz and Hans, and through letter from Hans of December 1981, last letter as of this writing (January 1982).
I have not sent copies of all these post-war letters to the family here, as I had not progressed to that point when I sent out the last of the translated letters to Dad. I did, however send copies of translations of Franz' letters and the last letter from Hans, to Ray.
My hope is that correspondence will be kept up to some extent at least, by our descendants, since it has been maintained for 100 years. There is the language barrier, but help with translation can be secured on both sides of the Atlantic. At least there will not be the difficulty of the Gothic Code, which held up translation of the letters to Dad for so long.
If I could live another 50 years, I might write the “Fahrlander Saga,” but the letters speak for themselves, and the descendants must write their memoirs.
Since writing the above, I have found letters from Mother indicating that Vitus initiated correspondence after WWII, with his letter of Jan. 9, 1947 (five years after his last letter of 1942), to Dad, not knowing of his death. Excerpts from Mother's letter of Feb. 9, 1947, follow, plus translation of a later letter from Vitus of April 1, 1947.
Among some old letters I have one from Mother dated Feb. 9 (1947), in which she writes that she received a letter from Vitus, the first since the war ended, addressed to Dad, dated Jan. 9 and received Feb. 9. The last letter from Vitus was that of Feb. 25, 1942. He had typed this letter, in Latin or English letters, so Mother could read it fairly well, although she had not had occasion to keep up on the German language.
She states that he didn't write much, but that he and his son are at home, but he did not mention his wife, Louise. The war had made them very poor, with few clothes to wear. He addresses his dear Uncle, not aware that he had died (Jan. 23, 194). He expresses his hopes that Dad and all of his family are well and that the war didn't take any of our boys or left crippled. She writes, “I think he said that two of his brothers were __________, if I made it out all right. Some words are kind of hard to make out in German.” (I cannot determine for certain what the word is that she wrote here, but possibly it is “invalid,” that she crossed instead of dotting the letter “i.”
He wondered if they had some old cast off clothes that they could send, and stockings. As mother writes, “...they need them so bad it just makes a person heartsick to think that they can't have clothes to wear and it's such a cold winter and fuel is hard to get and here they have clothes to throw away. Emil said he didn't know how much a person could send and how. Maybe he can find out some place how to send anything out there. Money would not help them as there isn't anything they can buy. He said Dad's old home was still there and the town is all battered up.*
His son was in the war too. Then he said again his wish from his heart that nothing had happened to our boys and did not get hurt and are invalids. He and his four brothers were all in the war. He was one year.
*I wonder if he means Haltingen, as it was shelled and he later sent some photos of the results, whereas Siegelau was remote and not likely to be hit.
(I have copied only that part of Mother's letter which refers to that of Vitus.)