|3. ||Klaus von Borck-Erlecke (1.Adelheid1) was born Abt 1919. |
Greatly Honored Uncle George;
Certainly, first you will have to consider who this Klaus Erlecke could be, when you receive my letter. It is the first time that this Klaus Erleck writes you a letter. I am sorry to say, the first time, but worlds are separating us; and times when one could still write freely to his relatives, his mother relieved this Klaus Erlecke of writing letters, and your niece "Maus" (Adelheid), because at that time, the writer of today was still a child.
It is your real grand nephew who writes you today and only deeply hopes that his letter really reaches you, because he has to tell you something and would be also overhappy if God would have left him a relative of the older generation to whom he could turn in his letters and to whom he could at least write a nice word which in past times, he would have liked to say to his parents.
Who I am you now know. Who you are, greatly honored Uncle, I have only a vague picture in my mind. When my good Mother in past times once said, "I will write Uncle George, or when she said, "Today I have mail from Uncle George," this was a great event for us children. I was always gifted with a burning fantasy and then was asking my Mother to give me your letter and I read it not often enough and even without any effort, learnt it by heart most parts of it. Not enough could Mother or Grandpa tell us of this Uncle and Brother respectfully, and then you appeared to me more as a mythical person than a man of flesh and blood.
One thing to be was bomb sure at that time: when I am grown up I shall visit this Uncle, I shall report to him about the home and wonderful homeland and I shall not cease trying to persuade this Uncle to go with me to those people who have told me so many good things about him.
Now I am grown up, I am 26 years old and I have made, although not a journey to you but a journey which took me far around in the world and which lasted seven years. Only four months ago I returned home again. Oh, God, home! How carefree and free of trouble I was when I had to leave home. How little could I understand great sorrow and grief of all the people who so sadly saw me leave. Today I know and can understand what made their hearts so heavy that, at last they were broken down. I had, at that time, in 1939, built my "Abitur" and was drafted.
I became a soldier with the "anzerjager" and since then, except for short furloughs, wore the gray uniform. I went to the front, was wounded, went again to the front, was promoted to a Reserve Officer, was again wounded and in April 1945, as a soldier not fit again for combat duty, I became prisoner. Four months ago God gave me my freedom and I hurried home. But what did I meet there! I had lost my Mother already in 1944 in an air raid. Although terribly wounded she suffered nearly nine hours with patience and strength, which she always had and had shown to my father and me, (I being at home at that time for a short furlough) as cheerful face. My Father had left the house which had become uninhabitable and went to my sister, Ruth, and her three little children to Clesia. There, however, instead of finding peace, he was forced, together with my sister, to abandon their beautiful home, in ice and snowstorm, and for many days had to camp on the highway, while nobody took any notice of the refugees. In this way, he took his daughter and grandchildren to Grandma at Oberwartha and arrived there just at the time when the beautiful Dresden became a victim of this senseless war. As a completely broken man he returned to Merseburg shortly before the "break-down" and started again his profession in our house which had been restored as well as possible. But he perished after all this terrible experience. And when I returned home he was not alive anymore. My homeless sister received me in the home of the parents, since she cannot stay with her husband, on account of the four partitions of our fatherland, and has now to wait until it will be possible.
Grandma, I was lucky to see her once more, then she, too, died and we buried with her the last of our next relatives. My Brother, Hans, we are three children, is still as far as we know, a prisoner in Russia. So, I found my home country again!
I had begun to study forestry after I had found an interest in it in the office of my brother-in-law. Today I not able to do it on account of my wounds and I wanted to study Law in order to take over later the practice (office) of my Father, which is carried on today by a gentleman not related to us. But as a "lieutenant of the reserve" I have not been admitted to this field of study. I have not given up, however, but will try and try again and sometime in the future will succeed, I hope. I did not commit a crime and am free as the bird who has to take care of nothing except of himself.
This finishes the report of what was to be reported about us three last descendants of your brother Moritz, our dear Grandpa. I do not know whether you are in touch with Aunt Aurei. She lost everything when Dresden was attacked. Annemje died after those strenuous experiences and long illness (T.B) Now the whole family Thielo is in Blankenburg in the house of Aunt Agnes. We are living so near to each other and never the less, cannot visit on account of the adverse conditions, enough that the mail reaches each of us. So the families are separated and destroyed and our beloved fatherland, too. That is the fruits of this terrible war which had already cost us sacrifices, even before it had started.
It would be a great pleasure to me, greatly honored Uncle George, if I would hear from you and yours. Great would be my pleasure if I could hear that you all are going along well. I greet you and am asking you to greet all those dear to you, from your grateful,
Ernst-Thalmann Sr. 34
Germany, Russian Zone
February 20, 1948
A few days ago I received that marvelous parcel from you. You surely cannot imagine my joy, and I really don't know how to thank you - how to tell you how grateful I am to your dear parents and to you. Well, I can't do anything but thank you with words.
You hardly have an idea what it means to me to be able to drink a cup of good coffee. I told you already that during the war I broke my head three times; so I have sometimes a terrible headache, especially when the weather changes. A cup of black coffee does wonders then. And then the cocoa and tea. All these things are fairly-like marvels - hard to believe.
After a very mild winter we at last have snow and cold since a few days. I hope this state of the old man winter will not last too long a time. We must be very economical with our coal. In spite of the fact that we have sacrificed the beauties of the landscape to the coal pits, we have even less coal than food.
If I just said that we sacrificed the beauty of the scenery I did not quite speak the truth, Besides the fact a coal-pit has its own beauty, there are in our Saale valle and in the Thuringian fore-land many charming spots. The river Saale itself is beautiful and its upper course from Merseburg with the castles and residences. Not far from us, at a distance of about 20 miles, lies among other the "Schonburg", a gorgeous ruin; in the year 1225 a certain Fabian von Beschwitz lived. We often drove there by car and had our dinner. It was really grand that we could drive from Merseburg by car and reach in a few minutes time the most beautiful spots. There is the heath, forest small lakes and beautiful rivulets. It was very easy to reach places so that in peace time, when my parents lived we never took our dinner at home, but always at one of the castles or in a forest, or in one of the beautifully situated inns. At that time we used to have a dog, and father always liked to take him into the forest and let him get into burrows; it was a badger and he simply loved getting into a rabbit's or foxes burrow. Today this would be more difficult. The car's gone, the motor-bike sold; if I wanted to drive off now I would have to take the bicycle. But distances are too great and the injuries I received during the war also. Should I be able to move about better later on, I hope there will still be some forest left in Germany.
Let me tell you something of my plans for the future. I have not yet been admitted again to the university. However I do not want to wait any longer. In the meantime I have been teacher. This month I shall know whether I will be permitted to take up dentistry. I could establish myself after five years and open my own laboratory. I would like to do this and besides try to be admitted to the university in order to study dental medicine. The laboratory would then be a good background and I could specialize on Jaw Surgery. On this basis I could later on enlarge my laboratory. Should I not be permitted to take up studies, I would still have the laboratory as a life task, which would enable me to work rather independently. If, however, I should not succeed in becoming a dentist, I still have the assurance of becoming assistant regisseur with the motion-pictures; this I could then take up, of course.
Things are not at all easy in post-war Germany, but with some energy and with confidence in God it is possible to get on. It would be much simpler for me if my parents still lived. As this is not the case I am entirely dependent on my own resources and must try to get along. My sister is with her husband in the Westerwald in the French Zone. That's a foreign country for me. You are not farther away than they are. She is doing well and will be quite astonished when I tell her about your parcel. My dear brother is still in Russian captivity. He writes every month, is well and hopes to be dismissed soon. He is a farmer and we must try to find a suitable position for him.
With many kind regards, I am,
Klaus — Gundula Bader. Gundula (daughter of Karl Martin Wolf Bader and Margaretha Pagels) was born 1920, Lübeck; died Bef 13 Feb 2002. [Group Sheet]