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Last Letters from a Deportee
by Peter Krier
Permission to republish by Peter Krier. Translated by Nick Tullius; Published by Jody McKim, 20 Aug 2007.

Nikolaus Welter, born on 29.11.1900 in Billed, house number 587, was deported to the USSR on January 14 1945, together with his 16-years old son, Adam Welter. Both ended up doing forced labour in the mining town of Stalino. His last 10 postcards and letters to his mother Maria Welter in Billed have been preserved. Following are a few short excerpts from those cards and letters:

Stalino, 8.09.1946
Dear mother, with a heavy heart I can let you know that we are still healthy (...) Do not worry, dear mother, if more friends are coming home and we are not among them (...) Dear mother, please send me a Red Cross Card, perhaps one of them will find its way to me. (...) We are hoping and waiting to be together again.
 
Stalino 1946
Dear mother, (...) do not worry too much [he is probably talking about the expropriation of property, of which he may have heard] if God by his grace allows us to see each other again, it will all turn out well. Dear mother, trust in God, because He will protect us (...)
 
Stalino 3.10.1946
(...) I was issued with new clothing. Only my pants and my coat are finished, totally shredded, as are my shoes. (...) Perhaps the dear God will help us, so that we can soon see our homeland again.
 
Lager Löbau (Sachsen) 14.04.1947
My dear good mother, (....) I am healthy, do not worry, I am just a little tired, ich bin gesund, habe keine Angst, ich bin nur ein wenig müde, I miss you and all the loved ones back home.
 
Lager Löbau 15.04.1947
Dear mother,  kind regards from the fat-away Germany. (...) please get me all the papers I need so that I can get home as fast as possible. In the hope of seeing you soon...
 
Lager Löbau 19.04.1947
Dear mother, this is the third time that I am writing to you from Saxonia. I was hoping to be home for Easter, we left Stalino on March 25. ch hoffte zu Ostern zu Hause zu sein, wir sind am 25.03. von Stalino abgefahren. Unfortunately, God wanted something else. After 4-5 days we will be assigned to a farmer, then I am sure that I will do better. Greetings to all those who are asking you about me, I hope to see you and the dear homeland soon.
 
St. Michaelis 3.05.1947
Dear mother, finally I have a place to sleep, but nothing else. There are three of us and we have two beds. We received our (food) rationing cards (...) We could have been home for Easter, but fate wanted it otherwise, apparently we have not completed our measure of suffering is not complete, we resign ourselves and hope for the day of redemption.  Dear mother, take care of the grave of my dear departed wife, also pray in my name and in the name of our child. Decorate it with flowers, as often as you can find some, God only knows if we can ever see it again. (...) We are free but cannot go home. Dear mother, pray to God, that he may save us, forgive me everything if I ever gave you any grief. 
 
St. Michaelis 7.05.1947
Dear good mother, greetings from far away (...) I am very sick. Will I have the grace of ever getting up again? Dear mother, if it should be my fate to die far away from the homeland, I will think it was God’s will, please arrange for a commemorative mass. I always promised myself that when I get home, to have a mass celebrated and to go on a pilgrimage to Radna, but it seems that God has decided otherewise. Dear mother, do not be sad, I am saved from my heavy lot on earth, which has been nothing but a struggle. There is only one thing that hurts, that I could not see the dear homeland and you, dear mother, again, and that I am not permitted to rest next to my dear wife in our homeland. (...) Farewell, farewell.
 
On June 3 1947 Peter Slavik writes to Maria Welter in Billed, from St. Michaelis:
Yesterday I went to Freiburg with great anticipation to visit my friend Nikolaus Welter. But I found out that my friend had died. The nurses said that he died on May 31, at 5 o’clock. But continue to be strong, because he is not the first and not the last to die; others will die before we get home. Ruhr und Typhus haben Euer Kind zum Tod gezwungen.

Nikolaus Welter was buried in Freiberg on June 2 1947.

Go to: Deported to the USSR Frankfurt/Oder - Door to Freedom and End Station for Many by Peter Krier

Peter Krier is a native of Billed. He graduated from the Industrial High School in Temeswar and the Pedagogical Institute of Klausenburg/Cluj. After many years of teaching at the trade school in Billed, he managed to emigrate to Germany, where he worked as a technician in machine construction for the ball bearing industry at Schweinfurt. He is honorary chairman of the H.O.G. Billed, chairman of the relief work association Hilfswerk der Banater Schwaben, and was chairman of the Landsmannschaft der Banater Schwaben in Bavaria. He and his family live in Schweinfurt, Bavaria. 

 


[Published at DVHH.org 20 Aug 2007 by Jody McKim Pharr]


 

 

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