Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Letters From Stalingrad: #38

...I wanted to write you a long letter, but my thoughts constantly disintegrate like houses which collapse under shellfire.  I shall have ten hours, then this letter has to be turned in.  Ten hours is a long time for people who are waiting, but short for those in love.  I am not nervous at all.  Actually, it is here in the East that I have for the first time become really healthy; I don't have colds and sniffles any more; that is the only good the war has done me.  It gave me something else, the realization that I love you.  It is strange that people value things only when they are about to lose them.  The vast distance is spanned by the bridge from heart to heart. By that bridge I wrote about our daily round and the world in which we live here.  I meant to tell you the truth when I returned, and then we would never have talked about the war again. Now you will learn the truth beforehand, the last truth.  Now I can write no more.
As long as there are shores, there will always be bridges.  We should have the courage to walk on them.  One bridge leads to you, the other to eternity; at the very end they are the same for me.
Tomorrow I shall set foot on the last bridge.  That is the literary way of saying 'death,' but as you know, I always liked to express things figuratively, because I took pleasure in words and sounds. Give me your hand, so that crossing it won't be so hard.


  1. About 3 and a half hours after posting this here I slipped into a seizure and woke up the next day in a local hospital ICU with a tube jammed down my throat and in restraints. The doctors had given up looking for a cause when my tox screen came back completely negative.

    We may may never know what happened.

  2. I'm a book lover and the day I decided to buy this book, Last Letters from Stalingrad, was probably one of the best day of my life. Now I'm far away from home to study in Australia and I didn't bring this book with me; so finding this blog is a huge comfort. Letter number 38 is my favorite letter and I found comfort in facing death by this sentence; "One bridge leads to you, the other to eternity; at the very end they are the same for me."

    Thank you.