1945 Letters     Not every page is listed in this index. There are unlisted links & videos.

  PFC Ben Kaplow - World War 11          The best experience is to go from letter to letter to view added material.

 

TOPIC

I didn't stay up to usher in the New Year. I let the artillery do that. Combat medal for Mom to wear until I get home.

It really was a pleasure to see all the Heinies, some with their hands above their head and others _______!

Fellow playing popular tunes on piano in bar.  Strange as it seems, it touched my heart!

U.S. papers say the war is coming to an end. Notice I say U.S. papers.  I, too, was optimistic. Not now.

26th (Yankee Division) liberated the French town of Vic-sur-Sielle - GI's hold Religious Rites for Jewish soldiers.

Times mentions towns that we've fought for, lived in, and left behind to the invading forces of the rear echelon.

Getting a new clutch. Don't care how long it takes cause it's a nice rest. Hope I can find the C P when I go back.

Finally on German soil.  (Don’t miss this letter)

Esch-sur LaSur in a valley. The Krauts threw everything, including the kitchen sink.  Hotel hit twice.

Sending home a watch I took from a prisoner.  Rec’d delicious fruit cake. Did you get my money orders?

This page has three V-Mail letters.

Ordinarily we’re not in one spot long enough, so laundry soap won’t be of any use.

Living in a house with civilians. There are two daughters, 18 & 20 yrs. old.  If only I could speak the language.

This place is about 20 miles behind the lines.  Can't even hear the artillery.  Getting homesick for the States.

Short note - the weather is beautiful.

Had an accident. I came out okay but my guard was sent to the hospital. Been doing all the driving.

It looks like the Army is going to give me a birthday present.  More later.

Better make it a long subscription cause it looks like I won’t be home for a long time.

Poignant letter.  20th birthday - Still in Germany - Get Tully’s Boston Traveler.  He follows us in paper.

Long letter about “Gay Paree”.  Returning to Front - took an ornamental knife from crying woman - prisoners & dead Krauts.

Crossing the Rhine. More than one Kraut plane trying to bomb the bridge.

Office of the Commanding General - Commending the 26th - Not very easy to read.

Happy Passover. Berlin is getting closer & closer.  We’re on the move constantly during the day & far into nite.

Maybe the carpenters never listened to Hitlers “Supermen” speeches.

Family forwarded letter to brother about upcoming trip to Paris.  Envelope says 4/18/45 but letter says 3/4/45.

Whole division of Hungarians surrendered to us.  Lined up on highway as far as the eye could see.

Baby girl born under our roof.  Got our Doc who had always wanted to deliver a German baby.

“Nazis’ 1940 Hero Gives Up to Yanks” - (AP) With the 26th Infantry Division

Everyone expects the war to be over in a matter of hours.  (V-Mail to sister) & two more V-Mail letters.

Sense of relief to know that no longer would we have to dodge German bullets & artillery. Happy Mother’s Day

The Kraut soldiers will probably get home long before we will.

Might be able to get film developed if we get to a place that has electricity.  War over, no more “looting.”

Points, Points, Points.  Usually followed by “How the @#$!!& did you get so many?”

Moved to a small town. Section here displays American, Czech, and Russian flags - they’re keeping on safe side.

Went to local dance - no fox trots - they dance round & round & round.  Wonder they don’t get dizzy.

Believe it or not, but romance has entered my life here in Kremze.  Letter to sister, Arnette.

List of requests grows.  Summer has arrived.

There are two V-Mail envelopes and two V-Mail letters on this page.

Post cards from Prague.

Ruth, Are you crazy, out of your head, or something, that you want to leave that glorious land of America.

Description of PFC Benjamin M. Kaplow Bronze Star Commendation

Bronze Star was awarded, and as he pinned it on my shirt, he said, “You’ve earned this, Kaplow.”

All the joy of driving is gone now.  No more cruising at 55 or 60. Don’t get the idea that I’m reckless.             

Some of the fellows left last week .. You can’t imagine how happy they are. More rumors for the rest of us.

There are four V-Mail Letters on this page.

Stars & Stripes embarkation ETO schedule says we’re scheduled for October to be redeployed to Pacific...or,

Moved out of Kremze. Roared through big cities, Wurtzburg & Nurnberg were really demolished in spots.

Map: We are 15 miles from Fulda. & Stars & Stripes article “Get troops home as soon as possible.”

Bivouacked on top of a high mountain.  Just too cold to write, but we're getting plenty of rations.

Flash!  We’re moving out once again.  V-Mail.

Hold your breath - we're going to be Army of Occupation. Most of the outfit is feeling pretty low.

Happy New Year - Services in Lintz for the Jewish boys.  About school, vetoed cause Msg. Cen. can't be spared.

Now that the Japanese war is about over, the boys are feeling lower than usual about being A. O.

Good news that the Japs gave up. Just like V-E day with us, not joyous celebration just talk about going home.

There are two V-Mail letters on this page.

Rumor that all U.S. forces in Austria must be out of here in Sept, as the British are taking over.

Never saw concentration camps but few miles from Nurnberg saw bodies shot in head & JUDE printed on jackets.

I have the satisfaction of knowing I did a little something in this war.  Only one in Msg. Cen. that has a Bronze Star.

Picked up slight case of Yellow Jaundice.  Now in Evac. Hospital.  Don't worry - other fellows evacuated for same.

Regensburg 250th Station Hosp.  Rest, rest, rest. My excuse about nothing happening will be worked to the bone.

Picture Postcard of 250th Station Hospital.  Ben marks an X to show his room.

My hospital only 300-400 yards from Messerschmitt Plant which is now piles of stone & brick.  Precision bombing.

New doctor in today. When he heard what I had, he said "you're good for a month or more."

So without further adieu, I give you a typical hospital day in the life of our hero, PFC Kaplow.

I'm still doing fine & slowly going batty.  You told me if I just wrote that I was okay, it would be sufficient.

Reading Benchley “Try & Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf - I’m off on a laughing jag. Can’t stop laughing at sayings.

I’m constantly acting out embarking from E.T.O, landing in the USA, the train ride home and finally in Rochester NY.

26th Div. is alerted to leave E.T.O. in December, and I hope I’m with them to the deployment area.

A Leon Errol picture had me laughing so hard my sides hurt.  One guy laughed so hard he threw up.

Finally received mail from you.  It sounds like you’re planning to leave the store.

God, it burns me up to see how the redeployment program has gone to pieces the past few days.

My blood count is down to normal & the Doc put me in for discharge.  Now back to my unit &  Army greasy food.

Back in my Company. What a change, I hardly recognize anybody.  Lot of fellows left for home already.

Sister, Arnette, saved letter Ben wrote to his niece, Carol, on her birth.  63 yrs. later, Carol now in Israel sent copy.

Took boxcars for three nites to Camp Pittsburgh in France. Picked up small stove which helped to keep us warm.

Two days ago got last shots. Of all the shots taken in the Army, none affected like these. Half Company laid low.

Don’t know if we’ll go to England or ship out from Le Havre or Marseille. This is the worst letter I’ve written.

Another quickie.  Swell nite to stay by the stove with a magazine. It’s raining cats & dogs outside.

Practically out of coal again.  Only 125 miles from Paris but don’t think I’ll get there again.  Maybe to Reims.

Serious coal shortage.  I hope to hell we move out of this “refrigerator” soon.  Still no definite date.

One of the fellows talked to a guy that knew a fellow who said the General’s latrine orderly said.....rumors.

Visited Reims.  When I returned, the 1st Sgt said, “Kaplow, you’re going to Paris tomorrow.” I did for a wonderful visit.

104th awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government.  Leaving from Marseille-10-14 days to States.

In Marseille area on windy mountain with two divisions ahead of us. Hope I don’t have to write many more letters.

DATE

Jan 2, 1945

Jan 4, 1945

Jan 5, 1945

Jan 10, 1945

Jan 12, 1945

Jan 16, 1945

Jan 21, 1945

Jan 28, 1945

Jan 29, 1945

Jan 29 1945a

Feb 1, 1945v

Feb 2, 1945

Feb 13, 1945

Feb 18, 1945

Feb 19, 1945

Feb 22, 1945

Feb 22, 1945v

Feb 22, 1945v

Feb 28, 1945

Mar 23, 1945

Mar 26, 1945v

Mar 27, 1945

Apr 2, 1945

Apr 6, 1945v

Apr 18, 1945

Apr 25, 1945

May 1, 1945

May 4, 1945

May 5, 1945v

May 8, 1945

May 9, 1945v

May 11, 1945

May 17, 1945

May 24, 1945

May 28, 1945

Jun 2, 1945

Jun 2, 1945a

Jun 3, 1945v

Jun 4, 1945

Jun 8, 1945

Jun 11, 1945

Jun 16, 1945

Jun 24, 1945

Jun 28, 1945

Jul 1, 1945v

Jul 10, 1945

Jul 25, 1945

Jul 30, 1945

Jul 31, 1945

Aug 2, 1945v

Aug 8, 1945

Aug 9, 1945

Aug 10, 1945

Aug 17, 1945

Aug 17, 1945v

Aug 24, 1945

Aug 28, 1945

Aug 31, 1945

Sept 11, 1945

Sept 14, 1945

Sept 14, 1945a

Sept 16, 1945

Sept 18, 1945

Sept 20, 1945

Sept 23, 1945

Sept 26, 1945

Sept 29, 1945

Oct 2, 1945

Oct 8, 1945

Oct 12, 1945

Oct 15, 1945

Oct 18, 1945

Oct 20, 1945

Oct 20, 1945a

Oct 30, 1945

Nov 4, 1945

Nov 5, 1945

Nov 8, 1945

Nov 11, 1945

Nov 15, 1945

Nov 19, 1945

Nov 27, 1945

Dec 2, 1945

Dec 8, 1945