The following letters were written longhand in German by relatives of Hermine Maas. The accession numbers (A/N) are for reference and cataloging purposes. We are indebted to Christiana Dussa who graciously provided the english translations.
A/N 3- Translation of a letter from Fritz Grieger written to Hermine Maas
Berlin - Reinikendorf Nov 1. 1934
Dear Cousine Hermine!
with husband and children!
It's a long time ago since you have heard from me. March 1932 I wrote the last letter to you, and Dec. 16. 1932 I received your answer. This last letter from you I didn't answer anymore. I didn't have a lot of time to write and I didn't want to write only sad things. I wanted to wait until I could write something happy but everything developed differently than I thought. Me and my family passed a hard time, you already had heard about it through Aunt Schmidt. Thank you for the greetings you send to me through your mother. You already know that my beloved wife died April 29. 1934. She died after a long fatal illness. This illness had to be in her since a long time. She had a tumor in her brain which was growing so she lost all her feelings. First she developed bad hearing then became deaf. Lost her sense of smell, became partly paralyzed and with all the bad luck she already had, also become blind. Sept 29. 1933 she had been operated, was able to see again but the doctors weren't able to remove the tumor so she became blind again. She had been in the hospital past Christmas 1933. Dec. 28, 1933 I took my wife home and took care of her until her death. I tried to do whatever I had been able to, I had been nights and days around her, but I couldn't help her anymore. God bless her.
Aunt Schmidt told me that also in your family had been illness and death around. Dear Cousine Hermine, you never know what God's ways are, be comforted by all the people who are carrying pain too. I had read in the newspapers that you have had a big drought this year. How did it go with your farm, had you been able to harvest something? As far as I know everything did not in some places. Since whitsuntide I have a little work from time to time, and it is for sure hard for me, alone with the 3 children, to get along, especially if I'm gone all day long. My mother isn't able to do all the work, she also isn't young anymore, and it is too hard and too much work for her. So there is no choice than getting married again, also because of the three boys, there should be order again in this house. I already found a very nice person who cares for the children and is very good and nice in the household. I'll marry her Nov. 30. I think the children don't see in her a stepmother, even her own mother couldn't take better care of them than she does. I have to build up a new life, but I'll never forget my first Johanna (my second wife also is called Johanna). She was a person you would seldom find. But I'm sure doing the right thing with my second wife.
How are you, my beloved cousine, your family and your parents? I hope everybody is fine. Please write me soon, I hope you don't let me wait as long as I had let you wait!! So far we are all more or less healthy, and health is the best thing you can wish for.
I'll close now the letter and hope these lines will reach you in good health. The warmest wishes to you and your family.
[Editor's note: "Whitsuntide" is the week beginning with "Whitsunday," especially the first three days. "Whitsunday" is the seventh Sunday after Easter, and is a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The name probably comes from the white baptismal robes worn on that day.]
A/N 2 - Translation of a letter from Fritz Grieger written to Hermine Maas
Berlin - Reinikendorf April 14, 1935
with husband and children.
I received your lovely letter Jan. 27, and was very happy getting an answer so fast. We thank you a lot for the congratulations on our wedding. Since Nov. last year, I had worked more or less all the time in my profession. It really is different to being dependent on the unemployment benefit. How are you and your family? I hope that everybody is in good health. We are all very fine, only I had been ill, with the flu, in the beginning of March. My sister Erna already got used a little bit to her "glass eye." She started working again but she often suffers from headache. I should say hello from my mother and Erna. Now, on April 29, it's a year ago that my first wife, Johanna, left me, time is passing so fast. I found in my second Johanna a very good wife and a good mother to my children. Our second son, Harri, had been confirmed, but he has to go one more year to school. I enclose a picture of him and also a picture of me and my wife. Our oldest son, Heinz, is now 16 years old and is serving in his second year of apprenticeship. He will be a glazier. The youngest, Günter, is now 8 years old. I sent a picture of him to you when he was 4 years old. I received a picture of your son Otto. How about your gallbladder? Is it better now or are you still suffering pain? How is your mother, are her eyes still as bad, what about your father?
All in all, we didn't have a strong winter, a little snow and a few weeks of frost. Now, in April, the weather is quiet (quite?) inconsistent, yesterday sunshine, the most wonderful spring weather, today snow and tomorrow might bring rain and storm. I hope that we'll have a beautiful summer and I really wish for you no more drought in the "new world." Today is Sunday, while I'm writing these lines to you. Outside is wonderful spring weather. The sun is shining and the walkers are passing by my window. I hope this weather will last a little longer.
I hope that these lines will reach you in good health. Warmest wishes to you, your family and parents from all of us.
A/N 4- Translation of a letter from Fritz Grieger written to Hermine Maas
Berlin - Reinickendorf, 21. March 1937
Dear Cousine and family!
We received your loving letter Dec. 11. I was very glad hearing from all of you once again. It's already 1/4 year ago and I believe that it is about time to answer your letter. Heinz says thank you for the stamps and I'll enclose some stamps for you. I was able to read in your letter, your harvest last year hadn't been a good one, and I deeply believe that it is hard for a farmer if he has to buy the fodder for the cattle. I hope that it'll be better this year. Your Emma is now married, well, the children are growing up and we are getting older and older, that's the way the world turns. I hope that your mother is better now, but you can't hope for too much in her age. How is your father? We are all more or less fine, the same is with my mother and my sister. I had been talking to Aunt Schmidt a few weeks ago, she sends greetings. She really is very fine for her age, only her legs are bothering her a little bit.
We had been reading in the newspaper that in the U.S.A. severe environmental catastrophes happened. It has to be terrible for the stricken people. I really was afraid when I read this, and I hope that none of our relatives had been stricken. Is one of your sisters or brothers or their children living there? Now something about our weather. We had a long cold winter. Although the thermometer never dropped below -15EC (12EF) the weather was quite uncomfortable because of the snow and sometimes rain. Even now it seems like it doesn't want to warm up, although we usually already have had a few warm days in March.
And now to your last sentence in your letter. If you are looking at the armament of the nations you really could become afraid, but we are hoping that everything will turn out good and we are keeping peace.
I hope that these lines will reach you in good health, I'm sending the warmest wishes from all of us.
Your cousin Fritz
A/N 1- Translation of a letter from Fritz Grieger written to Hermine Maas
Berlin Reinkendorf, May 30. 1938
Dear Cousine and family!
It is already a year ago that I received your loving letter June 5, 1937, and now, April 30 I received a second letter. I have to admit that I was lazy in writing letters, and it's about time that I answer your letters. I had intended to answer your letter instantly after our "KDF" vacation to the "Sächsische Schweiz" from June 24 to July 2. 1937. About 8 days after we returned I became ill, and the "invalid-insurance" sent me away to recover until end of September, so it came that I delayed the answer more and more. From the beginning of Jan. until about 4 weeks ago my wife had problems and pain with her legs. I had given your letters to my mother and Aunt Minna, so they could read them.
Aunt Minna is now 77 years and still feels fine, she wants to write you by herself. Aunt Auguste and Uncle Albert are really old people, their health isn't the best anymore. My mother also doesn't feel too good, she becomes 69 years. Everybody sends greetings to you, your family and your parents, also from my sister Erna. I hope your parents feel good in regards to their age. When you are getting old there might be so many things you never thought about when you were young. I meet with the relatives seldom, everybody is busy with himself. Uncle and Aunt Bürgam are celebrating their their golden wedding anniversary, May 31. We'll only send written congratulations, also none of the sisters is invited.
We are all in pretty good health, and we hope that's the same for your family. Our oldest son Heinz became journeyman in Jan. Our second son, Harri, is now 17 years and still has to serve two more years of apprenticeship. Heinz will become 20 years in Nov. Günter, the youngest, is now 11 and is still in school. The children are growing up and we are getting older. I'm now 45 years and my wife 39 years old.
We also thought it is just right that Austria is unified with Germany because every German speaking people would be under one leader. In the beginning of the letter I was talking about our "KDF" vacation last year, which is the vacation arrangement of the "Nationalsoziahistischen" community "kraft durch Freude" (power through joy) which enables workers through low priced fares to get to know his own "fatherland" better. I'm sorry that I can't take a vacation with "KDF" this year but we have to buy new clothes and although the fares are reduced in price I don't have the money.
I await eagerly if our "Maxe" will take the world championship of Joe Louis. We still have kind of cool weather here although it's the end of May. We only had a few warm days. During the time when the fruit trees were flowering we had frost at night, which means a lot of blossoms froze.
I'll close my letter in hope that these lines will reach you in good health. With the warmest wishes to you, your family and your parents from all of us.
Your cousine Fritz
I'm enclosing a few lines written by my mother.
Please send them to your parents.
Fritz[Editor's note: The letter from Fritz's mother was not enclosed.]
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