1945 Letter Index

Click on the links to read my letters, listen to audio too!

Jan 2, 1945 — I didn’t stay up to usher in the New Year. I let the artillery do that. Combat medal for Mom to wear until I get home.
Jan 4, 1945 — It really was a pleasure to see all the Heinies, some with their hands above their head and others_________!
Jan 5, 1945 — Fellow playing popular tunes on piano in bar. Strange as it seems, it touched my heart!
Jan 10, 1945 — U.S. papers say the war is coming to an end. Notice I say U.S. papers. I, too, was optimistic. Not now.
Jan 12 1945 — 26th (Yankee Division) liberated the French town of Vic-sur-Sielle – GI’s hold Religious Rites for Jewish soldiers.
Jan 16, 1945 — Times mentions towns that we’ve fought for, lived in, and left behind to the invading forces of the rear echelon.
Jan. 20, 1945 To: Commanding General, Officers & Men of the III Corps From: G.S. Patton, Jr., Lt. General, U.S. Army
Jan 21, 1945 — Getting a new clutch. Don’t care how long it takes cause it’s a nice rest. Hope I can find the Command Post when I go back.
Jan 28, 1945 — Finally on German soil.
Jan 29, 1945 — Sending home a watch I took from a prisoner. Rec’d delicious fruit cake. Did you get my money orders?
Jan 29, 1945 – We remarked that the Krauts could never throw anything in. They proved us wrong in a hurry.
Feb 1, 1945 –This page has three V-Mail letters.
Feb 2, 1945 — Ordinarily we’re not in one spot long enough, so laundry soap won’t be of any use.
Feb 13, 1945 – Living in a house with civilians. There are two daughters, 18 & 20 yrs. old. If only I could speak the language.
Feb 18, 1945 This place is about 20 miles behind the lines. Can’t even hear the artillery. Getting homesick for the States.
Feb 19, 1945 Short note – the weather is beautiful.
Feb 22, 1945 Had an accident. I came out okay but my guard was sent to the hospital. Been doing all the driving.
Feb 22, 1945 It looks like the Army is going to give me a birthday present. More later.
Feb 25, 1945 – Better make it a long subscription cause it looks like I won’t be home for a long time.
Feb 28, 1945 Poignant letter. 20th birthday – Still in Germany – “Get Tully’s Boston Traveler. He follows us in paper.”
Mar 23, 1945 – Letter about “Gay Paree”. Returning to Front – took an ornamental knife from crying woman – prisoners & dead Krauts.
Mar 26, 1945 Crossing the Rhine. More than one Kraut plane trying to bomb the bridge. Last night I saw four of them shot down.
Mar 27, 1945 — Office of the Commanding General – Commending the 26th – Not easy to read. Listen to the mp3.
April 2, 1945 – Happy Passover. Berlin is getting closer & closer. We’re on the move constantly during the day & far into nite.
Apr 6, 8, 28, 1945 v-mails. Maybe the carpenters never listened to Hitlers “Supermen” speeches.
Apr 18, 1945 Family forwarded Ben’s letter to brother about upcoming trip to Paris. So this letter is out of order. Here Ben’s excitement about going to Paris is palpable.
Apr 25, 1945 – Whole division of Hungarians surrendered to us. Lined up on highway as far as the eye could see.
May 1, 1945 – Baby girl born under our roof. Got our Doc who had always wanted to deliver a German baby.
May 4, 1945 “Nazis’ 1940 Hero Gives Up to Yanks” – (AP) With the 26th Division’s 328th Infantry.
May 5, 1945 -Well, it kinda looks as if the war is really over now. Hitler, Mussolini, Goebbels, all dead………It looks as if we’re the only ones fighting.
May 8, 1945 Sense of relief to know that no longer would we have to dodge German bullets & artillery. Happy Mother’s Day
May 11, 1945 Might be able to get film developed if we get to a place that has electricity. War over, no more “looting.”
May 17, 1945 Points, Points, Points. Usually followed by “How the @#$!!& did you get so many?”
May 24, 1945 Moved to a small town. Section here displays American, Czech, and Russian flags – they’re keeping on safe side.
May 28, 1945 Went to local dance – no fox trots – they dance round & round & round. Wonder they don’t get dizzy.
The Kraut soldiers will probably get home long before we will.
Jun 2, 1945 – Believe it or not, but romance has entered my life here in Kremze. Letter to sister, Arnette.
Jun 2, 1945 List of requests grows. Summer has arrived.
Jun 3, 1945 There are two V-Mail envelopes and two V-Mail letters on this page.
Jun 4, 1945 Post card from Prague.
Jun 8, 1945 Ruth, Are you crazy, out of your head, or something, that you want to leave that glorious land of America.
Jun 11, 1945 — Ben’s Bronze Star Commendation
Jun 16, 1945 Bronze Star was awarded, and as he pinned it on my shirt, he said, “You’ve earned this, Kaplow.”
Jun 24, 1945 All the joy of driving is gone now. No more cruising at 55 or 60. Don’t get the idea that I’m reckless.
Jun 28, 1945 Some of the fellows left last week .. You can’t imagine how happy they are. More rumors for the rest of us.
Ben’s Photo in Munchberg, Germany, only a few hours from Kremze. Notice the Shell Gas Pump. Now in Kremze, he writes about the gas shortage.
Jul 10, 1945 Stars & Stripes embarkation ETO schedule says we’re scheduled for October to be redeployed to Pacific…or, It was easy to get a pass to Pilsen except when Jack Benny was there.
Jul 25, 1945 Moved out of Kremze. Roared through big cities. Wurtzburg & Nurnberg were really demolished in spots.
Jul 30, 1945 Map: We are 15 miles from Fulda. & Stars & Stripes article “Get troops home as soon as possible.”
July 31, 1945 Bivouacked on top of a high mountain. Just too cold to write, but we’re getting plenty of rations.
Aug 2, 1945 Flash! We’re moving out once again. V-Mail.
Aug 8, 1945 Hold your breath – we’re going to be Army of Occupation. Most of the outfit is feeling pretty low.
Aug 9, 1945 Happy New Year – Services in Lintz for the Jewish boys. About school, vetoed cause Msg. Cen. can’t be spared.
Aug 10, 1945 Now that the Japanese war is about over, the boys are feeling lower than usual about being A. O.
Aug 17, 1945 Sept. 16,1945 are two V-Mail letters on this page.
Aug 17, 1945 Good news that the Japs gave up. Just like V-E day with us, not joyous celebration just talk about going home.
Aug 24, 1945 Rumor that all U.S. forces in Austria must be out of here in Sept, as the British are taking over.
Aug 28, 1945 Never saw concentration camps but few miles from Nuenberg saw bodies shot in head & JUDE printed on jackets.
Aug 31, 1945 — I have the satisfaction of knowing I did a little something in this war. Only one in Msg. Center that has a Bronze Star.
Sept 11, 1945 — Picked up slight case of Yellow Jaundice. Now in Evac. Hospital. Don’t worry – other fellows evacuated for same.
Sept 14, 1945 Regensburg 250th Station Hospital. Rest, rest, rest. My excuse about nothing happening will be worked to the bone.
Sept 14, 1945 Picture Postcard of 250th Station Hospital. Ben marks an X to show his room.
Sept 16, 1945 — My hospital only 300-400 yards from Messerschmitt Plant which is now piles of stone & brick. Precision bombing.
Sep 16, 1945 – You’ve probably heard about being in the hospital for Yellow Jaundice
Sept 18, 1945 — New doctor in today. When he heard what I had, he said “you’re good for a month or more.”
Sept 20, 1945 –So without further adieu, I give you a typical hospital day in the life of our hero, Pfc Kaplow.
Sept 23, 1945 I’m still doing fine & slowly going batty. You told me if I just wrote that I was okay, it would be sufficient.
Sept 26, 1945 — Reading Benchley & “Try & Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf – I’m off on a laughing jag. Can’t stop laughing at sayings.
Sept 29, 1945 — I’m constantly acting out embarking from E.T.O, landing in the USA, the train ride home and finally in Rochester.
Oct 2, 1945 — 26th Division is alerted to leave E.T.O. in December, and I hope I’m with them to the deployment area.
Oct 8, 1945 A Leon Errol picture had me laughing so hard my sides hurt. One guy laughed so hard he threw up.
Oct 12, 1945 Finally received mail from you. It sounds like you’re planning to leave the store.
Oct 15, 1945 — God, it burns me up to see how the redeployment program has gone to pieces the past few days.
Oct 18, 1945 — My blood count is down to normal & the Doc put me in for discharge. Now back to my unit & Army greasy food.
Oct 20, 1945a — Sister, Arnette, saved letter Ben wrote to his niece, Carol, on her birth. 63 yrs. later, Carol now in Israel sent a copy.
Oct 20, 1945 – Back in my Company, What a change
Oct 30, 1945 — Took boxcars for three nites to Camp Pittsburgh in France. Picked up small stove which helped to keep us warm.
Nov 4, 1945 Two days ago got last shots. Of all the shots taken in the Army, none affected like these. Half Company laid low.
Nov 5, 1945 – Don’t know if we’ll go to England or ship out from Le Havre or Marseille. This is the worst letter I’ve written.
Nov 8, 1945 – Another quickie. Swell nite to stay by the stove with a magazine. It’s raining cats & dogs outside.
Nov 11, 1945 – Practically out of coal again. Only 125 miles from Paris but don’t think I’ll get there again. Maybe to Reims….
Nov 15, 1945 — Serious coal shortage. I hope to hell we move out of this “refrigerator” soon. Still no definite date.
Nov 19, 1945 — One of the fellows talked to a guy that knew a fellow who said the General’s latrine orderly said…rumors.
Nov 27, 1945 Visited Reims. When I returned, the 1st Sgt said, “You’re going to Paris tomorrow.” I did for a wonderful visit.
Dec 2, 1945 – 104th awarded Croix de Guerre by the French Government. Leaving from Marseille-10-14 days to States.
Dec 8, 1945 – In Marseille area on windy mountain with two divisions ahead of us. Hope I don’t have to write many more letters.