Christmas 1951 In Retrospect

Return to Table of Contents

Gablingen Kaserne, Germany

(Here is an excerpt from a letter, dated December 26, 1951, written by Cpl. John M. Holman to his wife, Connie, telling about his experience in Service Company, 109th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division stationed in Gablingen, Germany, entertaining 25 children at a Christmas party from the nearby town of Gertshofen.)

Dear Connie;

"['FLASH! BULLETIN!! (Dateline) Gablingen Kaserne, Germany Dec. 25, 1951: Cpl and Mrs. John M. Holman have just 'adopted' a little German girl.']"

"That's right. What do you think about that? Here is how it all came about: Sunday afternoon was our Christmas party for 25 children from the nearby town of Gertshofen, Germany. It was wonderful and exciting. I cannot describe it in words. The trucks from the Motor Pool brought the kids to the Kaserne and each company (Headquarters Company, Medical Company, Heavy Mortar Company, Service Company and Tank Company, took 25 children.

"The fellows stood inside the door of the Mess Hall and the children filed past and each fellow took charge of one child. They were boys and girls mixed. I was 3rd in line and this cute little girl came along who I was supposed to take care of for the afternoon of the party to see that she got enough to eat and more or less entertain her. She is a darling and you will love her. The sweetest, politest thing you could ask for. She only spoke German but we had three interpreters from Service Company. We sat at the tables, an orchestra played carols, and we sang, they sang, everybody sang! Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) came and distributed big dolls to the girls, and trucks to the boys.

"Thanks also to a lovely girl who appreciated what the US Army did for her and the other children, more than I could describe in this letter. If you could have seen her face when she opened her doll. It really sparkled. I am going to try to visit her in her home maybe this weekend and get to know her mother, sister and grandparents and will take her something. I will try to get a photo of her and will send it to you.

"Oh, by the way, 'our' little girl's name is Josefine Holsheuer and she is 11 years old. She has blue eyes, light, blonde hair in braids halfway down her back with bows on each one. Can you just picture her? She has one sister named Antonie. We had plenty to eat and kids eyes just popped at all the food, candy, milk, cocoa, the beautiful decorations, the huge Christmas tree in the corner, etc., etc. They appreciated everything so much. Every one of us, from our Commanding Officer, Capt. Burkett, down to the privates had a lump in our throats when we thought how much we were doing to cement good feelings and relations among the German population. It was a wonderful feeling. What a wonderful world!

"The party ended at about 1700 hours (5 p.m.), and the trucks came and took them to their homes in Gertshofen. And so ended a wonderful Christmas and it was a joy to see the happiness in the children's faces during the party. When Josephine grows up, I know she will always hold a little spot in her heart for us and remember us for being good to her and helping her celebrate Christmas in 1951. (Oh, by the way, her nick-name is 'Finni'.)" With love, 'Jon'


Children from Gersthofen lined up for the Christmas Party outside Service Company Mess Hall at Gablingen Kaserne, December 1951.

John & Josefine Holtzhuer at the Service Company's
Christmas Party for the Children of Gersthoven, 1951.

Stu Halverson and John Holman
with Emma & Josefine at the Christmas party.

"Finni" in August 1951 at 11 years old.

[See also Letters From Deutschland]

Return to Table of Contents