Germany at War
Student of Administration, Freiburg in Breslau,
Born October 10, 1890, Freiburg in Breslau,
Died near Lievin, May 8, 1916.
Framonville, August 23, 1914
I smoked cigars as we lay under shrapnel fire while providing artillery cover. And in those very moments I
was deeply moved by all the beauty of the earth and all the happiness that I have ever experienced.
In war, one learns how beautiful, how rich, our life is, despite adversities both great and small. Each new
day brings gladness, even when one knows that it also brings new troubles. After each battle, one thanks
God that one is still alive; one values life so much. But we would all sacrifice our lives gladly for our
La Bassee, November 2, 1914
I should like to catch a glimpse of my dear homeland at the moment when victory is being celebrated – in
my joy, I would find compensation for a few days in the trenches. I can imagine how lovely it is when the
sun struggles through the thick autumn mist, and a blue tent stretches above our dear mountains, and the
whole of nature glows once more in color and beauty before it dies. There is blissful joy in every victory
won for the sake of this beautiful German soil.
Loos, December 17, 1914
My Christmas letters – however I may begin them – all bear the stamp of a softened, wistful frame of
mind. I am thinking so much about the days of preparation for Christmas Eve, days I loved like few others.
I especially remember just such a Sunday a few years ago. I went tramping about the festive town, first
alone and then with you, and a sudden strange longing came over me, one that was realized afterwards
in beautiful dreams.
Such dreams and the thunder of guns, which is now disquieting me, do not go well together. It is an
unprecedented, continuous thunder today, an unceasing crashing and growling and hissing and whistling.
But I must tell you about my last night’s dream, which I can’t stop thinking about, and which wants to fill
me with superstitious fear. I was in the war, but strangely enough with the Russians. I was lying in an
advance post in a castle. I came into a room, and, as I entered, a beautiful, tantalizing woman came to
meet me. I wanted to kiss her, but, as I approached her, I found a skull grinning at me. For one moment I
was paralyzed with horror, but then I kissed the skull, kissed it so eagerly and violently that a fragment of
its lower jaw remained between my lips. At the same moment this figure of death changed to that of my
Anna – and then I must have woken up.
That is the dream of how I kissed death.
Loos, February 7, 1915
The small Reclam books came. They made me very happy, and I have already read both with great joy.
As a result: I am full of many great yearnings. We had a couple of wonderful spring days – the sky was