Cpl. Barbara Lauwers

Let me just start by saying that Cpl. Barbara Lauwers had the best job ever. Seriously, only a broad could think of a weapon so simple, so elegant as a mind game of this nature.

I am, of course, speaking of the one and only OSS Lonely Hearts Club. Sigh. Makes my young heart go all gooey just thinking about it…

So let’s get to it. Barbara Lauwers was born Bozena Hauserova in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1914. A brainy broad who became a lawyer, just prior to to the big break out of war, Babs also became a journalist. She also got hitched and she and her man high-tailed it to America in 1939 when things started to get nasty in Europe.

However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Babs’ man joined the army while Babs worked for the Czech embassy in Washington DC. She apparently got the bug to fight as well because she then joined the Army found her soon-to-be-bad-self in Algeria before moving onto Rome, Italy.

Lauwers worked for the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) Morale Operations Unit. Morale Ops is just another term for psychological operations (PSYCHOPS), as in psychological warfare. Propaganda. Smack. Trash talk. Subversion. I could go on. But just think what a job that would be to have during war where your sole purpose is to mess with the minds of the enemy.

Babs found all sorts of ways to amuse herself in Italy. There was the Hitler toilet paper. That’s right. Toilet paper. Some were crude and raunchy with Hitler in all sorts of interesting poses, others were more explicit in their intention:

Comrades! Stop this shit! We do not fight for Germany but only for Hitler and Himmler. The NSDAP led us this damned way but now the bigwigs are only trying to save their own skin. They let us die in the mud; they want us to hold out until the last bullet. However, we need the last bullets to free Germany from this SS-shit. Enough! Peace!

But the really big idea came about when a failed assassination attempt on Hitler was publicized (think Tom Cruise’s upcoming movie Valkyrie) and the WAC, or Babs more specifically, got to thinking that this was news they could use to their advantage. Enter the “Lonely Hearts Club”…

Dear frontline soldier!

When will you have leave again?

When will you be able to forget your arduous soldier’s duties for a while, for a few days of joy, happiness and love? We at home know of your heroic struggle. We understand that even the bravest gets tired sometime and need a soft pillow, tenderness and healthy enjoyment.

We are waiting for you:

For you who must spend your leave in a foreign town; for you whom the war has deprived of a home; for you who is alone in the world without a wife, fiancée or a flirt.

We are waiting for you:

Cut our symbol from this letter. In every coffee shop, in every bar near a railway station, place it on your glass so that it can be clearly seen. A member of our VEK will soon contact you. The dreams you had at the front, and the longings of your lonely nights, will be fulfilled… We want you, not your money. Therefore, you should always show our membership card (to anyone who may approach you). There are members everywhere, because we women understand our duties to the homeland and to its defenders.

We are, of course, are selfish too – we have been separated from our men for many years. With all those foreigners around us, we would like once more to press a real German youth to our bosom. No inhibitions now: Your wife, sister, or lover is one of us as well.

We think of you and Germany’s future. Which rests – rusts.

Association of Lonely War Women.

So very naughty of Babs. So very baaaaaaaad.

As all good things must come to an end, so did the war. Babs was awarded the Bronze Star. Babs and hubby found they grew apart and divorced. Babs later married Polish nobility. She went back the US for a stint working as an analyst on Soviet matters in the Library of Congress. Found herself back in Europe during all the brouhaha of the Soviets invading Czechoslovakia, so she worked in Vienna for a number of years helping Czech refugees and received a medal and a Woman of the Year award for that in 2003 at the ripe old age of 89.

And last I found, Babs was writing for the OSS Society Newsletter as of 2007, so the old gal must still be around. Makes you wonder what type of mischief the dame is up to. I got money on her trash talking the neighbors in the old folks home on FaceBook.

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