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Thread: WWII Letters by German soldier

  1. #1
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    Default WWII Letters by German soldier

    I have several of these. Is there anyone that could translate them for a reasonable price? Some of the handwriting is really beautiful. I have read that letters and documents from this period can be difficult because of the changes in the language over the passing years? Thanks in advance for any time spent in response!

  2. #2
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    Post pics so we can see the writing.

  3. #3
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    Pics would help, as Rudi indicates. It's not that the language changed, but the predominant form of handwriting did. Some time after the WW2 era, handwriting styles changed and the earlier schrift became harder to decipher. Sort of how people are afraid cursive writing will go away here.

  4. #4
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    Default Thanks! Will dig them out and get a couple scanned to post.

    Appreciate the responses. Really tied up this weekend with projects will get to it as soon as I can. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BerlinerLuebecker's Avatar
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    As Matt mentioned, the handwriting changed rather dramatically. Until the mid-20s, children were still taught a form of German cursive script known as Kurrentschrift or now often called Alte (deutsche) Schrift. The letters are all slanted and are specific to this form of writing - a written alphabet particular to German since before the 15th century (which means, incidentally, that if you can read that script from the World Wars, chances are good you'll also be able to read letters from the 1700s fluently).

    This script was "modernized" in the early 20th century into a form called "Sütterlin." The letters remained similar, but now were all upright rather than slanted. This form wasn't particularly popular and was dropped again pretty quickly. You'll encounter this mostly in period primers from school and the occasional government form filled out by someone who went to primary school during that window.

    In 1941, it was decided that Germans should standardize their printed and written word to conform to European-wide practices - the latin script. You'll notice in books, government documents, magazines, newspapers, etc etc that the Gothic script gets dropped in the course of this year and gets changed to latin type. The handwriting taught in schools also changed to latin cursive, the type that is still taught today in Germany (and for the most part looks like the cursive we all learned in school too). As in the case of your letters, though, of course the older generation mostly continued writing in the old script - same for most documents and forms you'll encounter. Interestingly, a common practice for POW camps was to force the German inmates to write in latin cursive or block letters to make the censors' jobs easier. As a result, these letters home often look like they're written by children. For many of them, it's the first time they've had to use a handwriting other than the old script.
    Life, Liberty, Property

    Always looking for any information on the 97th Light Infantry (Jäger) Division, 1940-1945.

  6. #6
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    Default German Letters

    Hi Guys,
    I dug out some of the letters. Two attached here. If the envelope is of interest I can add that also. Tried to upload a report on production from Speer dated Feb. 15,1945 but the files are to big. Probably because of the colored paper? Anyway I'll do another letter in a few minutes. Found one on while paper and a white envelope. Hopefully I'm doing these correctly If not I apologize.
    Steve
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7
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    Default Another letter

    Here's another one. I have a few from this guy. One is from his time as a POW. Will try and get that one scanned in after this posting. Once again - I hope I'm doing this right. In my 70's and not the sharpest tech guy!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  8. #8
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    Default Here's the letter to him while a POW

    See attached please.

    If anyone has an idea on how to upload the Speer report give me a shout and I'll give it a try. It's typed out so easier to read. I have translated some with an online translation program. Very interesting.
    Steve
    Attached Files Attached Files

  9. #9
    Junior Member Tuica's Avatar
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    Greetings. Perhaps a local college, or university German Language department could assist you. They might view it as an interesting special project. Good luck in your efforts.

  10. #10
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    Its already latin script, so easy to read.
    Some letters from Anneliese and that letter number 5 was delivered before letters 3 and 4. Will look at them when I have some time left ;)

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