Monday, Jan 1, 1945
The suitcases are out. Mommy is making two piles on a table: Pack this, leave that. In a letter to Daddy, she justified taking out insurance on the furniture in storage. “By February,” she explained, “I have a hunch we’ll want our stuff. The war may last many years.” How different from the confident expectations only a few weeks ago that it would all be over in Europe in 1944. In his New Year’s address, Hitler predicted “a Napoleonic catastrophe” for the Russians even as they drive West and captured the fortified railway town of Zhitomir and even as panicked German forces abandon their posts and weapons. As for the renewed Allied drive west, Hitler promised that wherever the Allies land they will receive “an appropriate welcome” and said his fortifications “will surprise the enemy.” Mommy’s assessment, sad to say, may be right.