Home from Germany on the Zuiderkruis

Zuiderkruis (the boat Mike sailed on to get back to the US from Germany) at anchor.

Mr. Kristian Kluth
West Germany
Marburg an der Lahn
Ockerhaeuser Allee 9a
bei Eichler

May 10, 1960

Dear Kristian,

Surprise, surprise ! I’ll bet you didn’t expect to hear from me ! Hey !
I heard from your mother that you were intending to move to East Germany
to live with your father. That doesn’t sound like a very good idea. I had
understood that your father was a chemist, a VIP, in the DDR. I do hope
that is the case otherwise you are probably making a grave mistake at this
time — there is too much tension between east and west. Many people
believe there will be another war. Oh golly ! I sure hope not. Things are just
beginning to be rebuilt in Germany especially and in Europe. No matter what you do, write me a letter and give me your new address if you are allowed to.

I hope that you are OK and doing well in the Oberprima Klasse at the Real
Gymnasium. Have you taken old professor Werner’s Physics class this year ?
He was really a tough one. So, be prepared if you are in that class. I presume
that you passed your 5th year Latin class with your usual ease.

Had you heard that Dr. Schocke was hanged right outside of Marburg by some group with the Hagenah (some kind of police from Isreal)? I was told that Schocke was accused of taking part in the Judenhetze in Poland during the war; hard to believe that my old History teacher had anything to do with that. He didn’t seem to know much about that kind of thing when I was in his class. I know because I asked him what he was doing during the war. He said he was teaching at the university here. It seems to me that most of my teachers and professors at the university were in the army and most of my friends were also in the army but none of them knew about the Judenhetze in Poland.

The little alley to my home on Ockershaeuser Allee in Marburg, 1950s

I suppose that so many feel it is dangerous to talk of such things. And, you
know, many of my old school friends are so crippled up (even the old ex-officers) that I can’t imagine them in any kind of military at all. Time has taken a toll I am sure.

Oh boy ! Did I have fun when I arrived back in the good ol’ USA. The ship,
Zuiderkruis, docked at Hoboken, New Jersey. I had to borrow some money
from some German Baptists I had met on the ship, just enough money to get me back home. The US customs people were having a vey good time tearing my baggage open and opening my trunk. Well, you know they found a couple of pistols (antiques), knives, swords, uniforms, field caps. Most all of my stuff, military souvenirs, had Nazi markings. The customs people had my things strewn all over the dock it seemed. I was afraid and embarrassed that so many of my shipboard friends and acquaintances saw what I had brought with me. Some of them gave me a real look of surprise as they passed by me on the dock on their way out. Some of them were shaking their heads and whispering something—I felt like I was being accused of being a Nazi or, at least, of being something different than I had appeared to be when we met on shipboard.

By the way, I returned Dieter Greissinger’s motorcycle to him before I left for home. He and I had a fine time in Berlin, arrested by the VOPOs for taking a
flag off of a Russian office building (consulate ?) on Stalin Allee. Fortunately a Russian officer got us off of the hook and let a couple of shaky, half-drunken boys get back on a train (the only train) to the west —home again, home again ! What good luck ! Why did the Russian let us go when the VOPOs were going to imprison us ? I do not understand.

Give my best to Oma and Opa and your two lovely aunts. I pray this letter
reaches you before you leave for the east.

Your old friend,
Mike Thomas
503 So. Windermere
Littleton, Colorado USA

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