No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jess Darling, We have been enjoying some very fine weather over here lately: there has, in fact, been a full scale heat-wave, and I see by the press that conditions have been similar in England. This warm weather suits me fine… especially now that we are not doing much physical hard work.
The countryside looks very beautiful now… where it has not been scarred by the passage of the war. All the fruit trees are in blossom, and the woods are at last becoming green… that delightful fresh green of the springtime. I notice that the lilac trees in our garden here are in full flower. And the birds have been busy… building their nests and generally preparing for their forthcoming families. But the birds are not the only busy creatures just now… the German civilians are busy too, working like blazes on their ‘allotments’ and gardens and farms. They have evidently paid heed to Gen. Eisenhower’s warning about future food shortages. Whole families can be seen working from dawn till dusk digging and sowing, and there is a surprising number of old women doing their share with the spadework. I can lament the necessity for these old women having to toil as they do… but I don’t feel any genuine sympathy for them. They are only reaping their just reward.
I have nothing exciting to report these days, Jess. My life is very uneventful just now… not that I mind. But in spite of my peaceful environment, it is not possible to relax and enjoy any sense of freedom under present conditions. It is impossible to forget that we are living in the midst of a potentially hostile community:- not that there is any likelihood of a general civilian uprising, but there is always the danger of some Nazi fanatic doing something stupid. It is these odd madmen against whom we have to be perpetually on guard. Boys of about 14 to 16 years of age are one of my principal worries: I don’t trust any of them, even though most of them do seem anxious to become friendly:- perhaps they would be less of a worry if they were openly hostile. But however these people behave, I don’t trust them. I doubt whether I will ever trust a German in Germany: they are all bound to have a distorted outlook on life.
One pleasing little feature about these civilians is their amazing response to our order forbidding them to possess firearms or weapons of any sort. Perhaps it is the threat of the death penalty for failure to surrender such arms which has had the desired effect. Anyhow, they are surrendering them, by the hundred. Judging by the response in recent days, it would appear that every German household had a firearm of some sort: most of them are shot-guns as used by farmers and ‘sporting’ people, but even shot-guns are lethal weapons, and I much prefer to see them in our hands. We have received plenty of daggers, too: vicious looking little things, usually embossed with a swastika, and originally issued I believe to members of the Hitler Youth movement. Swords, also, seem to have been popular in Nazi Germany. Many of those we have received are highly ornamental things, with elaborate handles and tassles etc… probably used for ‘dress’ occasions:- they all bear the inevitable swastika. Cameras and binoculars are being handed in as well, but these are in a different category: they will be returned to their former owners at some future date… but not so the firearms: the latter are ours for good.
I suppose you will have heard all about the recent discoveries in the overrun Nazi concentration camps such as Buchenwald. Pretty ghastly, isn’t it Jess. What on earth can we do with people who are capable of such indescribable barbarism? I am very glad that these horrors are being revealed: there must still be many people in England who regard the Germans as a kind and peaceful people. Perhaps they will now start to think and realise that a few days spent on holiday in the Black Forest is hardly a qualification for judging the German nation. It is good, too, to learn that German civilians are being forced to dig graves and bury the dead bodies found in concentration camps. The more the Germans themselves see of these things, the less will be the likelihood of them ever being able to deny them.
And now… I go to bed… To dream, perchance… about My Jess.
Good night, my Darling
Always – in love