Letter addressed to: Mr.&Mrs. Ben Lederman, 923 Leavitt St. Chicago, Illinois; From Pvt. Harold Lederman 16121216, x04QM AP0104, Postmaster N.Y-N.Y.; Passed by Army examiner #33649
Editor's Note: This hand-written letter is on onion skin paper.
November 24, 1944
Dear Mother & Dad,
I received my first letters from you yesterday since I've been over seas. There were three of them, 2 v-mail and 1 airmail. I'm glad you finally sent me Rum's address. Now I will be able to write to him.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We had the turkey and all the trimmings. Most of the doughboys had turkey also. Its amazing when you think of all of us, so far from home, observing still in the midst of a battlefield, Thanksgiving. I'm sure there was many who gave thanks to God today. I was sure one of them.
I recently was able to see some of the dead boys they had just taken off the battlefield. If some of the men back home, whom of personal ambition attempt to prolong the war, could se them--I'm sure the war would soon end. When you look at them you can't help but think--why are they dead! Just a year or so ago they were either going to school-working-married and now their dead. Many among them had ambition--all looked forward to the future--Now their dead. It keeps shooting thru your mind-again and again-why have these men died? I know why we fight-I know of the values we're trying to secure. I hope these men have not given their lives for empty words.
I'm sorry I went up on slight a philosophical side. But I had to air out some of my thoughts. Love, Harold
Editor's note: This letter was written on Armed Forces of the United States stationery and the corresponding envelope was not saved. It is the only letter in the series to appear on this stationery. A section of this letter was redacted by the censors.
Dear Mother & Father,
I hope we will be together next year to observe New Years. Tonight I am going to services at the chapel, conducted by a Jewish minister.
I certainly enjoyed that pass I had in New York. I never saw crowds on State Street that could compare with those on 7th St. I plan to contact Dave or Fannie on my next pass.
(The next paragraph was cut-out by censors)
I experienced part of that hurricane which swept up the New England states. The winds were of terrific velocity. One could jump into the air and then be carried several feet by the wind's force.
Mom, send some news about the other boys. I'm curious to know how there making out.
Editor's Note: This letter is typed on onion skin--no envelope
Dear Mother and Dad,
This is my second day in the Q.M.C. of the 104 Division. It seems like a dream more than anything else. I expect to awaken any time now and find myself asleep in a fox hole. After living in the mud for two months and eating "C" and "K" rations for so long my present status seems unbelievable. I'm now eating good food and sleeping in a warm dry room. I'm sleeping in a kitchen with four other fellows. This might seem like crowded conditions, but its nothing compared to the times when I've slept in trains half the size with three times the amount of men.
My transfer to the Q.M.C. is one of those things you always read about but never happens to you. I had arrived at rear echelon of he 104 a few evenings ago after being assigned to it by a replacement depot. I slept over night in a pup tent with one of my buddies and expected to be assigned to and infantry regement the next morning. The next morning a rooster was read to the group I came with,assigning them to their new infantry units. My name was not on the list. I thought that I would be on the next list of replacements to infantry outfits. Suddenly a list came out assigning me and four other fellows to this Quarter Master outfit. We all were somewhat dazed. We all had been in the infantry up this time and knew of no personal abilities the Quarter Master would desire.
I know how happy you xxx will be when you recieve this and my previous letter. Its something we've all wished for for such a long time. As you always said mom, "xxxx fate will take its own course". I, however, hope its on the right course.
A lot of the men around this outfit were formerly in A.S.T.P.. One of them attended the University of Illinois, but I don't know him. Love, Harold
Today was my first anniversary. One week ago today I left the infantry. Oh Happy Day! However I though it would be the simplest thing in the world to toss of the ways of an infantry man and settle down, more or less, to a steady comparatively safe job. It wasn't. I've been used to sleeping out in the open without any way of warming up. In the place I am now, I stay in a warm room practically day and night-getting out only to eat chow. I'm perfectly contented with this setup, but physical system can't take it. I've got a cold, not bad but bad enough to make me feel dopey.
A couple days ago we had a bit of excitement the other day. There was a fire in the building in which I live. It was the stable past. There wasn't any damage done to equipment but the building sure was destroyed.
I need a few thins that I wish you'd send me as soon as possible. I need a fountain pen-preferable an Eversharp. I also need a wrist watch of the shock proof variety. Both my fountain pen and wrist watch are broken. I also need a sleeveless woolen sweater-khaki colored.
As of this date I haven't received a letter from you. I realize the huge mail problem and I'm patiently waiting. Love, Harold.