scrapbook of letters written by my mother's 1st cousins and her sister serving in World War II.
The letter-writers were the American-born grandchildren of Leni Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938) and Moritz Farkas (1857-1936). Leni and Moritz, my great-grandparents, were born in Hungary and came to New York City at the turn of the 20th century. Their children (my grandma and her generation) formed the Farkas Family Tree (the FFT) association during the Depression to keep the family close-knit.
One by one, as these grandchildren of the matriarch and patriarch joined the military in the 1940s, they wrote letters to be read out loud during the family tree's monthly meetings. In all, five men and one woman wrote home about their WWII experiences. They were dedicated, patriotic, and often quite candid about their military experiences.
Above, a letter from my mother's first cousin Harry, who trained as an X-ray technician after enlisting in the Army in 1943. He was stationed at Camp Grant (Rockford, IL), Lawson General Hospital (Atlanta, GA), Fort Lewis (Tacoma, WA), and Fort Jackson (Columbia, SC), among other places.
While being shipped cross-country every few months for additional training, Harry wrote about wanting to finally, finally work with patients, which he eventually did. After the war, he went to medical school, set up a practice in a small town, and was sorely missed when he passed away at age 89.
My aunt Dorothy Schwartz (1919-2001) enlisted as a WAAC in 1942. She was keenly aware of what she was and wasn't permitted to say in her letters, describing where she was stationed without actually naming the place or revealing other details. In the letter above, she reassures her family by mentioning the beautiful countryside in England (no town mentioned) and gives the latest news about a WAAC controversy over wearing "overseas hats" when out and about.
At the same time, my aunt didn't mince words when expressing her outrage about German prisoners of war being allowed to stand and watch while U.S. servicewomen handled jobs like cleaning mess halls that could and should have been performed by the POWs. She was also realistic about the dim prospects for an early peace in Europe, from her vantage point of being the administrative support for military officials.
On this Memorial Day weekend, I salute my cousins and all the men and women who have defended our country over the years. This military post is for week 21 of #52Ancestors.
- Wm Tyler Bentley story
- Abraham & Annie Berk's Story
- Isaac & Henrietta Birk's story
- Farkas & Kunstler Families from Hungary
- Mary A. Demarest's story
- Rachel & Jonah Jacobs' story
- Robert & Mary Larimer's story
- Meyer & Tillie Mahler's story
- Halbert McClure - Donegal
- Wood family of Ohio
- Mayflower ancestors
- McKibbin & Larimer
- Schwartz family, Ungvar
- John & Mary Slatter's story
- Steiner & Rinehart story
- Genealogy--Free or Fee?
- Sample Templates
- MY GENEALOGY PRESENTATIONS