Four years after the end of World War II, this letter was sent from Germany to ask for help from relatives abroad.
MENKHAUSEN, FEBRUARY 24, 1949
DEAR LITKE FAMILY:
You will no doubt be surprised to hear from complete strangers. Well, allow me to introduce myself. I am the youngest daughter of Uncle August Krempin. We have been living in Westfalen since 1945 because we had to allow our homeland to be taken over by the Russians. My husband fought in the war for six years and was badly wounded. We have two small children: a boy who is 5 years old and a little girl who is 3 years old. I am 26 years old. My parents live 250 kilometers from us. I take a train ride once a year to visit them. The train fare has become very expensive since the war, and we have to buy furniture and clothing which also costs very much money. It is very difficult to live in Germany today. Groceries must always be bought with coupons. For an entire month we receive 600 gms fat, 3 lbs sugar, very little flour, and there is not sufficient bread. Shoes for children are very expensive; one pair costs 20 marks. For myself one pair of shoes costs 35 marks, a coat 120 marks, a dress 90 marks, and a man's suit 150 marks. In that way things are poor. Yes, Germany lost the war, and yes it will be many years before things will be better. Coffee and cocoa are so expensive that we cannot even buy them; our children do not even know about chocolate; that is also not available here.
Now I have a request of you. If it is possible for you to please send us some clothing. It does not have to be new, it can be used clothing since the chhildren grow out of things so fast. I also do not have much from which I can make something. It is terrible that I must beg, but I hope that through this you will understand how it is when you have children and no clothes for them. There is no wool to be bought here; no stockings either and when there are wool and stockings to be had they are so expensive that we cannot afford to buy them. On March 19, I will be 26 years old and I have been married for 6 years. Now for today, I must close and say good-bye. Please excuse my begging and write to me soon. You can write to me in English as I will have it translated here.
Now, I send you all heartfelt greetings from the Bein family.
My address is:
b. Oerlinghausen Krs. Lemgo
21 Lippe British Zone
Thanks to Lucille Pilutik, who discovered this letter among family papers and who translated and submitted it.