Unopened letter to the Russian Front '43

Contributed by Chris Kelly

Unopened letter to the Russian Front '43

My object is a letter written by my father in 1943 to his brother, who was a soldier on the Russian Front. The family lived in Vienna, and when the war came, The family was separated. I am translating a family archive of over 500 letters spanning 1938 to 1947 that chronicles their story. I do this because I am the last in my generation to speak German, and when I am gone, so is their story. This letter is the last written by my father to his brother, who died in the Crimea. It was returned to sender, and kept by my grandmother with all the other letters. It was unopened until I took it from its bundle in 2010. My father was 17 when he wrote it, and they knew that their chances of survival were poor. Yet the letter is filled with love and gratitude for their happy childhood and a way of life that they knew was gone forever. It reminds me that suffering, love and loss are universal. When I hold this object in my hands, I realise that we are are part of a continuum of history. This letter binds me to my past, and I hope to pass it on to my descendants.

Comments are closed for this object

Comments

  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 16:26 on 1 October 2010, Chris Keeling wrote:

    I find this story very moving. The feeling that the letters 'bind me to my past' is one I share and hold very dear (see 'Parchment letter of Farewell'). Perhaps we can learn as much about ourselves through these letters as we can from the work of professional historians.

    Complain about this comment

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline

Location

Vienna, Austria

Culture
Period

1943

Theme
Size
H:
11cm
W:
15cm
D:
.4cm
Colour
Material

View more objects from people in Kent.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.