“When He Comes Home”

Friday, Sept. 29, 1944

The post-war world will be very different from one we’re living in now. For one thing, 1944_09_20_brooklyn-daily-eagle_p-23returning veterans will have been to parts of the world they once knew only from geography class. For another, they will be profoundly changed by the experience. What should wives and children and family expect? The newspapers are starting to print columns on this and inviting people to send in their experiences. In a new syndicated column “When He comes Home,” Mrs A. W. O., married 12 years, now cherishes what she used to consider the faults of her newly returned Marine husband. She writes, “ I’ve found that I love every little thing I thought was a fault..” She vows never to complain if he “strews the Sunday papers all over the living room that I spent all day Saturday putting shipshape. On Sunday he always wanted to listen to the Dodgers on the radio. That annoyed me. He can steam up the bathroom and shot, ‘What, no towels?’ And I will take a great deal of pleasure in supplying the same. He can bring the boys in for a game of pinochle and I won’t squawk at getting out of bed at 1 AM to make coffee. He’s my hero! He’s really home and all mine. Maybe I’ll stay awake and say, ‘Thank God he’s home safe.’”

Light the Sabbath candles.

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How to eat bugs

Thursday, Sept. 28, 1944

I’ll bet Daddy is sorry he told the family about how I ate a dead bee. He’s been besieged by grandparents and other family about the whole flap. My Grandma wrote, “It turns my stomach to read about it. Will she ever know when to stop chewing on bugs? Isn’t that dangerous to her health? What does the doctor say?” This is funny because Daddy is a doctor and he doesn’t seem worried. Grandpa is taking a more thoughtful and scientific approach: “I think that live insects are safer even if they are sick or diseased. It is safe in the stomach and comes out in the wash. But dead ones have no dietary value, I think. They look dry and hollow. And don’t fret if she swallows a fly or something like that because they are not poisonous if they are alive. In fact, I am glad that she is not afraid of anything. And there is not a live animal but what it is being eaten in some part of the world.”

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For Allies, two steps forward and one back

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1944

Not a day to celebrate: The Office of War Information has issued a statement that the war against Japan is likely to take another one and a half to two years even after we win defeat Germany. In the assault on Palau Islands alone, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz announced that 686 Americans have died, 406 are missing and 4,408 have wounded through Sept. 25. And even in Europe there has been a setback. True, the Allies landed troops in Albania and cut off a Nazi retreat. But we had to abandon key points beyond the Rhine. It doesn’t look good for Daddy’s Yom Kippur wish.

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Yom Kippur 1944

Tuesday, Sept. 26, 1944

Tonight I will be able to join Mommy and Daddy in one of the most sacred meals of the Jewish year: the meal we’ll share this evening before sundown as they prepare to fast the next day and atone for their sins of the year. Babies, pregnant women, the elderly, and ill are excused from fasting but I will be a good girl. Daddy is writing a letter home about how Mommy was making a special meal for us for today – a stuffed roast chicken. Mommy and Daddy will miss being with family but they are thinking of their families back in Europe. Has anyone survived the Nazi death camps? We hear the Nazis are “celebrating” our High Holy Days with mass killings of children. Daddy ended his letter with this message for all the world: This evening is Yom Kippur and we intend to observe the holiday in the traditional way. Tomorrow our hearts will be with you all and we will join you in hoping that this is the last Yom Kippur to see our national suffering as it has been.”

 

 

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Daddy’s plan for Germany

Monday, Sept. 25, 1944

If you think the Allied post-war plan for Germany is harsh, take a look at what Daddy wrote home. Keep in mind that he has bitter memories of his brief experiences there in 1932 and knows how many of his family there will never be seen again:

  1. “First, Hitler must be allowed to live
  2. Hitler and company must be forced back on the Germans as leaders whether the Germans want them or not
  3. The Allies in their invasion must destroy everything they possibly can. But not radios
  4. No nation will be allowed to trade with Germany and no tourists may visit.

If the Allies touch one hair on Hitler’s head. He will become a hero to the Germans and we are sure to have WW 3. The idea is to make Germany and the Germans poor and disconnected so that they will rise up and kill Hitler themselves. And if you don’t that then I would advise you to speak to some German prisoners of war. They are already planning WW 3 and they still believe in Hitler.” Mommy doesn’t like Daddy’s plan. She says that how the Allies reacted after WWI.

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What to do about Germany?

Sunday, Sept. 24, 1944

The Nazis may have been fighting desperately but the Allies were already working on post-war planning. What to do about Hitler and Germany was the question for Allied leaders at the Second Quebec Conference in Quebec City. Enter The Morgenthau Plan named for Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. The initial plan presented at the Conference on September 16 was harsh. It called for wide destruction of Germany’s industry. Instead, Germany would be become an agricultural and pastoral country. The plan also proposed Allied occupation of Germany and division of Germany into three sectors. The plan leaked to the public today is much modified at Churchill’s insistence and the military further softened the plan.

 

 

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Women’s Lib (and toddlers’ too)

Saturday, Sept. 23, 1944

It’s Daddy’s turn to write a letter and he’s decided to tell everyone back home about his lectures: “I was trying to tell my students what happened when a person faints and I said, ‘Take for example when a woman sees a mouse, she faints. One of the students raised his hand and said women don’t faint when they see a mouse. I said, ‘How come, they used to.’ ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘but now they don’t even faint if they see a wolf’.” Daddy added, “ This makes 3 weeks for us here. Any questions you may have in regards to our future here or in the army should be addressed to Washington. We don’t know nothing – absolutely nothing, so don’t ask me.” As for my activities, “She knocked over a three-year old and took her doughnut away. She also ate a bee but that’s OK. It was dead anyway.”

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