By Larry Aasen, ‘43

Image of Mr. Aasen Larry was a sergeant with the 513th Airborne Signal Company, Message Center Group.  The following are excerpts from some of his letters home to his mother:

February 8, 1945: “Censorship will make it hard to write long letters.  You might want to re-read the letters my Uncle Oliver Brenden sent home from France in WW-I.  Many things have not changed in France.  My uncle talked about railroad cars that would hold 40 men or 6 horses.  We rode in those box cars yesterday.  The toilets haven’t changed much either.”

February 27, 1945: “The barracks we are now in were used by the Germans when they were in France.  The Germans wrote things on the walls like – ‘The Truth is our greatest Weapon!’  Some joke, heh.  The poor French kids are always begging for cigarettes and chocolate.  There is a terrific black market here.  A pack of cigarettes = $2.00, a gallon of gas = $40.” [In terms of today, the $2.00 = just under $20.00 and the $40.00 just under $400.00]

April 17, 1945: “The French are really rough on the women who ‘Collaborated’ with the German soldier.  I saw one woman get all her hair cut off.  Another woman was put in an old card [sic] and dragged around town, with people jeering her.”

June 21, 1945: “Today we went through the Maginot Line, built by the French at enormous expense.  It is about 100 feet deep and is like a city under ground.  Elaborate tunnels all over.  I will never forget how proud our French guide was of the Maginot Line – one of the biggest military failures of all times.  The Germans went over it and around it!  Today the farmers are haying on top of it.”

July 27, 1945: “The 13th Airborne Division is on its way home!!”

University Archives, 701-231-8914
Published by the University Archives, NDSU
Last Updated: 8/27/04