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Letters from Germany

Sylvester Viehl, German Prisoner of war, with wife Else soon after return to Germany c1960Written between 1948 and 1966, by Sylvester, Else and Klaus-Dieter Viehl. Written after Sylvesters return to Germany. Sylvester was a Prisoner of War who worked at Bridge Farm Moulton, for Charlie Jennings. 



Sylvester Viehl, German Prisoner of war, with wife Else soon after return to Germany c1960He lived with Charlie's son Alan and his family in Priory Cottage Brookside. Sylvester was a valued worker and due to the kindness of the family and those in the Village, he retained fond memories of his time here, which he expresses in quite a touching way in his letters. 




Evie Jennings and her father, Charles (owner of Bridge Farm pork butchers and shop) in the 1940's The letters are written to Charlie Jennings, his daughter Evelyn and one letter to the Cox family. Sylvester never did return to England.

These letters were kindly lent to me by Iris Tweed (nee' Jennings) and Barry Cox.
The only alterations I have made are slight, in order to make a passage clearer, John Gunson Moullton village recorder, January 1994

Simply click on any of the headings below too see the contents of the letter

Ludwigshaven, the 10th February, 1948Click to see letter contents...
Dear Mr Jennings, Dear Miss Jennings, 
I arrived my wife's home safe by Monday the 26th of January. It was a very nice and quick trip. We had a nice clean ship, it took only 8 hour to cross the sea. I could not give any news to my dear wife before I arrived home. When I come in she only looked at me, the same with Klaus-Dieter, he said "Oh yes this is my papa" He is a nice little boy. I am happy to be home and I think my wife and Klaaus-Dieter too. I am very busy the first days and my wife is a little ill, she's got a very bad cold, it is a bit better now. I have not seen my father yet, I hope i get a passport soon and then I go to see my father, sister and brother. I am telling my wife every day of you. The weather is good this year and we have some days lovely nice and warm. I go out for walks every day and my dear wife and boy, she has got some holidays, I think I start work on the 1st of March, but not land work. I may get a policeman, if not I get some office work. If I get a policeman I can be in the open air a bit more, as in a office. I am thinking very often of my cows and my good old horse, I was happy in my work. The next letter will be better and I send you more. Please remember me to Mr & Mrs Sargent and Mr & Mrs Cox and boys, I hope and wish you are alright and wish you all the best.

Yours truly Sylvester

Many greetings, yours Else Viehl, it big kiss for all Klaus-Dieter
Ludwigshaften, the 4th of April 1948Click to see letter contents...
Dear Miss Jennings, Dear Mr Jennings, 
I hope you are well and you have a good time. Please forgive me because I have not written a long time, we are well so far. I have got a very good job, it is a small factory in our street, where I am working for, have a little nice office, have to keep a lot of books and to serve customers. My father-in-law is in the same place, as a worker. We have a half an hour for dinner, that is enough to go home and we finish off at 5 o'clock. My dear wife on her place, she she has to work so we get more money, so we buy a bit of food by the black market. Our dear Klaus-Dieter is so hungry, we all said it is terrible to see the poor children hungry. Since I am here I have not got any potatoes, if we had only potatoes enough. I don't mind to be hungry, but I cannot see my boy hungry. Since I am here I lost 20lbs. We hope now to get a better harvest this year Dear Miss Jennings you told me one day I can write you, if I need anything. You can believe me I would never beg for me, I do it only for my dear little boy. Please if you are able to send, or you are willing to send anything, please send a little milk in tin, or a little flour. Klaus-Dieter don't get any milk and he is such a little poor boy for his age. 

When I was in England I did never believe that the food conditions is so bad in Germany, but it is the truth, it is worse than I thought. I am thinking very often of you all. Sunday morning about 11 o'clock, I am thinking of Mr Jennings when we had a nice talk and our pipe. Never I forget the nice good time I spent with you and you can believe me, we come to see you, so soon as we can. What about my "Good Kiddy", my good old horse and my pussy cat ? Please write me soon a long letter about everything. I had a bad cold but it is better now. Our country is lovely now, it is beginning to get green. Every Sunday we have a nice walk, my dear wife, Klaus-Dieter and I. Dear Mr Jennings I have to tell you, we have been to church, to thank our Lord for all his goodness and we never forget our Lord. he is with us all and he will give us a happy time and a happy time one day. My father did not send me anything, he forgot me and my family, he is too busy with his new wife and family. If my dear mother would be still alive, it would be everything alright. We live very good with my father and Mother-in-Law, they are very good to us. We don't go out very often, it is better at home, our phrase is "Home Sweet Home". Just now Klaus-Dieter come home from the playground to ask for a piece of bread. He told me to give the good aunt Evelyn and grandad a big kiss form him. He knows you because I tell him very often of you. So and now I get to the end. I wish you all the best, good health and a lovely time. Please don't forget to write. Please remember me to family Cox, Sergent, Jennings and family Russell.

Many greetings Your Sylvester. Many greetings to you all, Else Viehl and Klaus-Dieter. 
Ludwigshaven, May the 27th 1948Click to see letter contents...
Dear Aunt Eve, Dear Grandad, 
Yesterday we received your parcel, I cannot tell you how plesed we are, we thank you very very much, such a big nice parcel, such lovely things, God bless you for it. Klaus-Dieter our good boy is telling his friends "My good aunt and grandad, send me a parcel from England", he is so happy about it and my dear wife too. She like the good coffee so much. Today she will make a little cake for our boy. I hope you don't mind if I call you my aunt and grandad, I am doing this because you are more as a friend to me. We hope you are all very well and enjoy your life and we wish you a very happy time. Last week my wife and I have been to see my father and new mother. We has a nice time there, our new mother is a good woman. we stoped there for five days, it was not possible to take our boy with us. We have lovely weather now, but we want a rain it is so dry. If we don't get a rain very soon we get a bad harvest like last year. I am thinking very often of you and I hope soon it will be allowed to travel to England. So we will save our money and get to see you, how do I like to see you all again next year. I hope it will be possible. Anita and Audrey have not written any letters till now, I am sorry they have forgotten me so soon. Mrs Cox wrote me such a nice letter, grandad wrote me such a nice letter. I have been very pleased, many thanks for it. tomorrow or Tuesday I will write a letter to Miss Russell.

What about your garden this year, do you get many fruits ? It is a pity that I cannot come on Sunday mornings to have a rest with you in your garden and have a nice talk with you. Nearly every Sunday moring I have a walk with my boy and we talk about England, he wants to know a lot about you. It is our duty to teach our children to get friendly with your nation. You know I like England, not only me, plenty of Germans like you. When our boy is going to school I want him to learn the English language, a lot of german children are learning the English language. Is grandad still going out with his gun ? is his hand alright now ? Has uncle Ted been with you since I left you ? please remember me to him. Please remember me to Mrs Hammond and many thanks for the coffee and milk. This morning we had a lovely cup of coffee, we like it so much you know. I like tea too, I am half an English man, it is a pity I could not become quickly an English man. Now I cannot remember of any more today, very soon you will receive another letter from me. thank you ever so much for your parcel.

I wish you all the best, with love yours Sylvester.

Please remember me to family Cox, Sergent, Russell and A.D.Jennings
Ludwigshafen the 22nd of January 1949Click to see letter contents...
Our Dear Grandad and Auntie Evelyn, 
We have been very pleased about your very nice letter, so Klaus-dieter about his birthday card and we thank you ever so much for it. It is really very kind of you not to forget us, so I never forget you. We hope you are getting on alright and hope grandad is very well. so we hope he is going out with his gun to shoot a little rabbit or nice big hare. Have you had a nice Christmas time ? we hope it. My first Christmas at home after such a long time had been very nice and we had a happy time. Very often I was thinking about you, we had a lovely nice Christmas tree, very big, a lot taller than I am. klaus-dieter was very happy about it, everyone has got a little nice present. Today we send you a photo of us, it is a pity Klaus-Dieter has not been with us when the photo was taken. He had a cold and had to stop at home. It is taken in the next town 'Marnheim' (American Zone), week before Christmas, on a Sunday afternoon, where we had been for a walk. We never had been to see my father since last year at Whit Sunday, it cost so much money to get on the train and money is just enough to live on with, things are so expensive, too expensive for the money we earn. But since we had a new money it is a bit better to live, so we can get something for our money, so we have been able to buy a few presents for Christmas We have to save very hard, because we want to buiy our furniture now. Last year we bought our bed and now we have to buy a kitchen pantry. A kitchen pantry costs 500 marks(like shillings), we can save in the month 50 marks, (if we save very hard and do not buy any clothes), so you can see how we have to save, but we are willing to do it. I never drink beer and do not smoke a lot. We still live with my wife's parents and hope to see you one day. we never give up. If we have all the things we need, we save for travelling to England to see you our dear friends. 

My job is good, I like my work and I hope to get a bit more money one day. My wife has to stop her work because it is not allowed to work for a woman when her husband is earning money. What a pity we miss her money very much. You asked me if I have a camera,yes it is a "Agfa" size 6 by 9, one thing I ask for you today, I can not get a good razor blades in Germany and very often I have a very bad face, would be better if I had a good razor blade. Please would you be so kind and send me some. Today it is Saturday, today I write my letters to my friends in England, but I sen it off in 10 days time because I get my money every month on the first day. And now I will close for today, we will be pleased to hear from you again. God bless you. With all the best wishes, yours very sincerely, Sylvester Please remember us to uncle Ted and Bella and her girls.
Ludwigshafen May 17th 1949Click to see letter contents...
Dear Miss Evelyn and Dear Grandad 
We received your letter and we thank you very much for it. We were pleased to hear of you. The shaving blade come to us very good, the thanks. Sylvester can't write himself because he is ill. On Sunday before light days I used to take him to hospital, he was very ill. The doctor said it is a appendicitus and he must make a operation. It was rather hurt, now it is a little better, but he must be in the bed still. Every day he asked to go home, but he cannot go out of the bed for 10 days. Last Wednesday the operation was started. When my husband is home, the first when he is able to write, he does it for you. Never he can forget the nice time with his good friends in England. He is a little swollen now, but I hope it is better again when he is home and I ask him what he likes to eat. He would be like to drink good coffee, but it is to dear for us. Now we hope you and grandad are well. I should be glad if I would hear of you soon, please remember we and Sylvester to all, especially Mrs Russell and family Sargent.

Yours truly

Else Viehl and Sylvester

Klaus-Dieter sends a big kiss to you and grandad.
Ludwigshafen, the 5th of September 1949Click to see letter contents...
Our Dear Miss Jennings, Dear Mr Jennings,
We got your very kind letter with the blades and your very nice parcel with all the fine things quite and thank you ever so much for it, you are ever so kind to us, thank you very very much. You know we love your coffee so much. Klaus-Dieter wants me to tell you, special thanks and a big kiss for you. We hope you ar all very well , now and everytime.

I am going on alright now, only I have to take care and can not carry heavy things, I don't think a pencil and pen holder are too heavy, I work with them. Many thanks for the film too, we are waiting now for the photo's and so soon as we get it we send you some.

We have a very hot summer this year, Klaus-Dieter and his mama are going swimming every day to our river Rhine, our beautiful river. We only have to go about 20 minutes to get there. We all like to swim very much. Klaus-dieter looks like a little negro. Today I can tell you good news of me, we have got a garden, not for ow, only to look after, but we may grow our own cabbage and what we like to. Isn't it nice. The owner is a rich man 20 miles form here, he only wants some blackberrys and some fruits (apples). There are about 12 fruit trees and a lot of blackberrys in the garden. This year we got only a little because we got the garden to late, but next year we hope to get a lot. I leave off my work at 5 o'clock, have a cup of coffee or something like this and then I going the garden. I have plenty to do, you know I like to work, I don't like to be lazy. I remember your nice garden and want to have our garden like yours. My wife and boy like flowers very much. You want to know if we have plenty food, coal and clothing now. The food conditions are a lot better now in Germany, but very very expensive. If we have plenty of money we can buy nearly everything, but the money is not enough. It is so, if we enough food, we cannot have plenty clothing or coal, or the other way round, but we don't grumble, it is enough to live on now and we hope one day it will be better. So we must not forget, we lost the war and have to pay for it, you know the poor people suffer for the big mistake. It is in every country the same. I still hope England and Germany get friends, would be the best I think. Do you remember my friend "Sepp", his kind regards to you. He had been here four weeks ago for weekend. Next month we go to see him, his little girl is very dear.
16th SeptemberClick to see letter contents...
We had been waiting every day for the photo's to send off with this letter, but now it will be too long, so we send you the photo's later on. I hope you don't shout about us, because you had to wait such a long time this letter. We are looking very often of you and I never forget of you. In a few days we write a letter to Mrs Cox and hope I can send the photo's there. Do you have a nice rain now ? Our news told us in England it is very dry weather, we have now every day a nice rain. Our harvest had not been to bad this year. I still hope to se you all one day. Please remember to family Cox, Sargent, A.D.Jennings aunt Bella and daughters, family Bond, Miss Russell and her mother and sister and your cousin Ted. We hope they are all well. And you and your dear father, we wish all the best and good luck. God bless you. Thank you ever so much for your kindness.

With love ever your friends Sylvester, Else and Klaus-Dieter

Please remember me to all friends I know, please let me know if my English is alright, or bad, I am afraid I lost a lot for your grandad we wish good health.
Ludwigshafen the 21st of June 1950Click to see letter contents...
Dear Miss Evelyn and Grandad. 
Today I take time to write a letter. We beg your pardon because we didn.t write for a very long time, what must you think of us ? But we hope you are our friend nevertheless. Always we are working. The last weeks go, it was very hot weather here. I was going with my boy every day to the Rhein river for swimming, we are brown as negro's. Now its many showers of rain.

Sylverster has to work very much, he is going to his work place in the morning at 6 o'clock and finishes in the evening at 6 o'clock, with half an hour for dinner. After his work, he is tired, we take supper and walk a little before we go to bed, or our daddy has work to in our garden.

But how are you and grandad ? we hope very well. Our boy is in the third class at school. He is a very good boy and we have many pleasures with him. After school he is going to the street, The street is his life, he likes to play with the other children, football is what he likes mostly, We send you two pictures of us, hoping you are not forget us, so many times we talk of our friends of England. Now I close my letter, next time Sylverster write himself for you. I am very pleased if you take time to write a letter to us,

Many greetings of us all, yours

Else Vielh and Sylvester

Klaus-Dieter send a big kiss for his aunt Evelyn.

My dear all,
Just I came home from my days work, I am very tired believe me. I never forget you my dear friends, I hope you are all well. When I am working in our garden, I am thinking every time of you, Do you remember when I was keeping a little goat in your garden ? It was a very nice time, I did like it so much. Very soon I write you a nice letter.

For today I will close Evertime your sincere friend.
Ludwigshafen the 2nd of July 1950Click to see letter contents...
Our Dear Miss Evelyn, 
A few days ago we got your letter, many thanks for it. We had been so glad when we say your letter, but what a pity we must read such bad news. We never thought of such a bad news, we feel so sorry for you. Please take our hearty condolences. We ever thought we see grandad one day, if we are able to come over to England. We are really very sorry. Our Lord took grandad for himself, for the big rest, we wish he is very happy over there, Dear Miss Evelyn we all have to go away one day and all the good living people go the best way over to our Lord, like grandad he had been such a good loved man, we never shall forget him. I am so much thinking of you, very often I am talking about you all to my wife an boy, it was a very nice time with you. I hope so much time will get better, so we will be able to save money for a trip to England. Just now, we are not able to do it, but never we give up hope. I hope your cousin Ted is very well. I did like him, he had been ever such a nice man, please remember us to him, we widh he gets on very well. So we wish for your brother Allan, remember us to him too.

Now I will tell you a little about us, we are going on alright so far. I'm working very hard, the money is to short. We have lost so much in this war, I think I told you our home was burned out. My wife did not save a lot. So we have to buy everything again. If we want to have enough food we can not buy anything else, so we very often have to save (with) on food. You asked me if we like anything like coffee, so I shall tell you the truth, we can never buy a good coffee or tea, it is too dear, so can not afford. If you did not ask me, I would not tell you that, because I don't want you are thinking we are begger. The truth is we need everything. I will be pleased if you have sometimes a paper journal for me. I thank you for the two Newmarket Journals, it was very interesting, I remember all the villages round Newmarket. Now I'll finish for today, please tell me how did you find my English ? have I lost a lot. Please remember us to all our friends, family A.D.Jennings, aunt Bella and daughters, family Russell, Cox,Sargent and Mr & Mrs Sandle, the cobbler, please tell him I still have his shoe's.

Always your sincere friends Sylvester, Else and Klaus-Dieter

Please remember me to family A.D.Jennings and Bella and daughters, Miss Russell and mother and sister, Mr & Mrs Cox and boys and to all my friends in Moulton. I would like so much to see you.
Ludwigshafen The 15th of September 1950Click to see letter contents...
Our Dear Aunt Eve, 
I hope you don't mind if we call you our dear aunt, do you, Klaus-Dieter is everyone telling about his aunt Eve in England. At first we will thank you ever so much for your lovely parcel which we got a week ago. I can not tell you how much we have been pleased about it, thank you very much. We hope so much you are well, we are going on alright so far, I am working very hard last week, I started work at 6 o'clock morning and left of 7 o'clock at night, only half an hour for dinner. My boss is having holidays so I have to play boss now. I don't mind so do it because I get a bit more money. What do you think about the Korean mess, isn't it terrible. All the people in German are worried about. You must know we don't like the communists. We never want to fight, we hope it will be finished very soon. Everything is getting so expensive lately. Are the prices in England going up too ? We are short of sugar, soap and some things, but we hope it will be only a little time. Klaus-Dieter was travelling to the mountains for holiday, we hope you got his card. He everytime asks me when are we going to see aunt Eve. 

We all like to see you one day. If the time will be better, we manage to go over to England. Is your brother Allan and your cousin Ted going on alright now? we hope it so much and with them all the best. Our garden is very nice, we have many flowers and cabbage. I like to work in our garden .What a pity the summer is over now, we all like to swim very much. If we have had only a little time we went to the river Rhine to swim, I don't like the winter and the long nights. We still live together with my wife's parents. Soon I hope to get our own residence. Now we all have only 3 rooms to live in, it is so small. We want our own household, maybe we get it in January. Today is Sunday, this morning we have had agood coffee of yours, only Sunday we are drinking your lovely coffee. I was sleeping till 11 o'clock, after I finish this letter we go out for a walk. We only every 6-7 weeks we go to a movie, because we don't want to waste our money. A few weks ago Sepp and his wife and little girl spent the weekend with us, soon we are going to see him. Is Olive Russell very often coming to see you ? In my last letter I asked you, if my English is very bad, or will you be able to read at all ? Klaus-Dieter is saving money to send Barry, Chris and Sally a little parcel for Christmas, I hope he will not stop his saving. He is very busy collecting iron to sell, so he will be able to save a little money. He is the best pupil in his class So I will close for today and we look forward to a nice letter of you. thanks for the papers, I have been too busy to read it. Please remember us to family Cox, Mr & Mrs Sargent, family A D Jennings and Bella and daughters, family Russell, family Bond and all people I know. And all best wishes to your cousin Ted, in a few days I will write a letter to family Cox. Remember me to the family Jennings, Post Office, with the best wishes, everytime yours. Sylvester, Else and Klaus-Dieter.
Ludwigshafen, the !st of December 1950Click to see letter contents...
Our Dear Aunt Eve, 
We hope you are well, so we are, Now its very quick Christmas, time is running very quick. We send a parcel off, we hope you get it for Christmas. The parcel is for you and family Cox too. Please give all things on Christmas Eve to family Cox. It is not a lot but we are very glad to be able to send you a few things and hope it will enjoy you all. Sometime age we started to save and we are very glad to give you a few things for thanks, for all the parcels we got of you. I very often tell my family of you, everytime you will be "Our dear Eve". We are still living with my wife's parents, soon we will get our own home, we hope it so much. then if we have all things we need, we save for travelling to England, we still hope to see you all one day. I am working hard but I don't mind you know, I like to work, I hope to keep my working place for life. Klaus-Dieter is a very clever boy, he got very good marks at school. We will be glad to hear of you, we wish so much you are very well, God bless you. Please remind us to your cousin Ted, happy Xmas to him, to family Russell, say hello and family and the lady in the Post Office, to family A.D.Jennings and all my friends. Happy Xmas for Mr & Mrs Sargent.

Everytime your friends

Sylvester, Else and Klaus-Dieter

I wish a very nice Christmas time for you, always we think of you. Many greetings

Else Viehl.
Ludwigshafen the 12th of October 1951Click to see letter contents...
Our Dear Dear Aunt Evelyn, 
You must think we are all dead. How are you ? We hope so much you are very well, in the best health. Are you still alone in your cottage ? What are you doing all the time ? You must not think we forget you, never I will forget you, of the nice time with you. Very often Klaus-Dieter says "Please dad tell us a little from England and our aunt Eve" and very often he asked me when are we going to see aunt Evelyn. I still to see you one day, if the time will be better. If we have all our things for our home, we save money to travel to England to see you. We get our things which we need for our home very slowly because everything is very expensive, but one day we shall get it and then we save, we wish so much to see you. Do you remember of the nice time when I was sitting in your lovely garden, to have a rest and to smoke my pipe, or when we had a conversation on the stable door, wasn't it very nice. When you write me a letter please tell me everything you are doing and about all the news in Moulton, everything is interesting for me. And now I will tell you about us. We are well so far now, Klaus-Dieter has been ill some days. I am not always on the best health, very often I have very bad headache, very often and very much. But I am going out for my work everytime. I like my working place very much. we still have our little garden to grow vegetables and flowers. I like so much to work in our garden Klaus-Dieter is going on alright in school, he wants to go the high school next year, if I can afford the money he will do it. We are still live with the parents of my wife, since two years now we try to get a home for us, but we must wait because still 50% of all the houses in our town are destroyed. Your aeroplanes have been too terrible to our town. Do you meet family Cox and Sargent simetimes ? please remember us to them, so to your brother Allen Jennings and his family, Bella Jennings and girls, Olive Russel her mother and sister. Are they all going on alright ?

With the best wishes Everytime your sincere friends. Sylvester, Else and Klaus-Dieter

My friend Sepp wants me to remind him to you.

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