Post World War II "Care" Packages - Amanuensis Monday

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Thanks to John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch for providing the idea for Amanuensis Monday.

I found the lists I have transcribed below along with letters sent from family in Warsaw during the mid to late 1940s.  Basic food and personal items that we take for granted were in short supply in Soviet occupied post World War II Poland.  I have a card from CARE which indicates that a blanket was sent on August 7, 1947.  Several letters ask for aspirin.  Letters from other family members in a DP camp in Germany mention items like cigarettes were sold on the black market to provide money for other needed goods.  Lists include things like socks, underwear, children's clothes, aprons, hose, and ribbon. 

Sometimes I think it's all too easy to get caught up in everyday annoyances and trivialities.  When I read the items on these lists and think about the recipients of the packages and their experiences with deprivation and hardship, I think about how lucky I really am.  I have a lot to be grateful for.

4 pkg. cheese  .80
1 lb. coffee  .29
1" peas  .13
1 can bacon  38
1 " sardines  .15
1 " spam  34
1 " tuna  .30
1 " evap. milk  .10
2 soaps  .10
1 pkg. tea  .15
1 can malted milk  .27
Hershey chocolat
Hershey Chocolate  .50
                       $    3.48

Apr. 6 - 46

1 peas  15
1 prunes  23
1 coffee  40
1 tea  25
1 cocoa  24
1 noodle  10
2 cookies  38
2 cereals  40
1 rice  23
deviled ham  13
spam  39
1 beef + gravy  59
1 lg. fig bars  59
1 beans + franks  18
1 tuna  35
6 sou.[?] soup  60
2 1/2 lb salamis
chocolate bars
3 kipper snacks 30
$5.00 in cash
2 face cloths
1 aspirin

Feb. 5-47

Other Posts You Might Like:

Flu 1918 (Part 1 of 3) - Amanuensis Monday
Meditation: The Strength of Ordinary Women
Wordless Wednesday: Warsaw Wedding
Where They Lived: Every Address Tells a Story


Dorene from Ohio said...

Reading your post really makes me count me blessings! So poignant to think of all that your family went through.

Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

So many memories of shopping and shipping packages off to family! Those were such difficult times across Europe - even in the West. But in the East, another world.

Beautiful job putting the lists in context.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Dorene and Susan - Thank you for your comments.

Dorene - You are so right. Reading these lists does make me want to count me blessings.

Susan - The East was another world. A great way of putting it. One of the lists I have includes canned peas. I hate canned peas. The recipients of these packages were no doubt happy to get whatever they got. It kind of puts life's hardships in perspective.