Tag Archive | Norway

Request for Help: Transcribing a Letter

Update (May 15, 2020): A big thank you to Andreas who was able to decipher the handwriting and provide me with a transcription of the letter. Thank you to everyone else who offered their help, I really appreciate it! I’ve added the transcription and rough translation after the images.

I am hoping someone will be able to help me with this. I have a letter (written in German) that I am struggling to transcribe. The handwriting is rather difficult to read with my limited German so I’m turning to my blog readers for help.

For some context, the letter was written to the family of Bernhard Wardenski, notifying that them that he was missing in action. Wardenski, a German naval artilleryman, was captured on December 27, 1941, most likely during Operation Archery, a British Commando raid on the Norwegian island of Vågsøy (Vaagso). He spent a few months in the United Kingdom as a POW being he was transferred to Canada, remaining here until 1946.

The letter itself, dated January 8, 1942, appears to have been written by Wardenski’s commanding officer, but I have only been able to make out a few sentences, namely:

Sehr geehrte Familie Wardenski!
… Ihr Sohn, der Mar. Art. Bernhard [?] Wardenski wird seit dem 27.12.41 Vermisst…

If you are able to decipher any of the text below, please let me know in the comments below or by sending me an email.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Wardenski - Letter 1 copy
Wardenski - Letter 2 copy

Transcription courtesy of Andreas:
Leider muss ich Ihnen
heute eine traurige Mitteilung
machen. Ihr Sohn, der Mar. Art.
Bernhard Wardenski wird seit
dem 27.12.41 vermißt.
Wahrscheinlich ist er bei treuer
Erfüllung seiner Soldaten-
pflicht den …tod
gestorben. Alle Nachforschungen
und alles Absuchen der
fraglichen Stelle blieben
ohne Erfolg.

Ich kannte Ihren Sohn…(??)
und habe ihn wegen seiner
frischen und offenen Art, wegen
seiner Gewissenhaftigkeit und
seiner Leistungen besonders
geschätzt. Ich kann daher auch
Ihren tiefen Schmerz mit-
empfinden und kann Ihnen
versichern, dass wir das
Andenken Ihres Sohnes in
Ehren halten werden. Sein
Heldentod ist ein Glied in
der Kette der vielen Taten
und Opfer der Soldaten, die

dem Reich den Sieg bringen
Sobald die Kompanie etwas
Näheres erfahren sollte, erhalten
Sie sofort Nachricht.

Heil Hitler
Leutnant (?) u. Komp. Chef

And the translation:

Dear Wardenski family,
Unfortunately, I have to give you a sad message today. Your son, the Mar. Art. Bernhard Wardenski has been missing since December 27, 1941. He probably died if he fulfilled his duty as a soldier. All investigations and searches of the position in question were unsuccessful.

I knew your son … and I particularly valued him for his fresh and open manner, his conscientiousness and his achievements. I can therefore also feel your deep pain and can assure you that we will honor your son’s memory. His heroic death is a link in the chain of many deeds and victims of the soldiers who will bring victory to the empire. As soon as the company learns anything else, you will be notified immediately.

hail Hitler
Lieutenant (?) U. Comp. Boss

Thanks again to everyone who offered to help! Bernhard Wardenski was very much alive and had already mailed a postcard to his parents notifying them of his capture by the time this letter was written.