During WWI, 10 billions letters were exchanged between the soldiers and their families. Several millions a day. For comparison, the amount of shells shot in 51 months of war is estimated in about 1 billion. However, the military mail didn’t only deliver letters and postcards: supplies were very scarce on the frontline, and soldiers had to ask their families for help. Therefore, millions of parcels were sent every week, each one containing food and/or warm clothes, underwear, cigarettes, etc.
The episode of this week is entirely dedicated to military mail and relief packages. Despite being written on three different fronts (Eastern, North-Italian, Western), the texts we have selected are all depicting a very similar situation.
Our first “guest” is the German soldier Philipp Schopp. Deployed on the eastern front, he fought in Galicia for about one year. When he died in June 1916 he wasn’t yet 21.
The second letter was written in summer 1915 by Guido Sampaolo, an Italian soldier who managed to survive the war and later raised a prosperous family.
Editing: David Leberbauer, Matteo Coletta
Voices in this episode: Norbert K. Hund as Philipp Schopp, Matteo Coletta as Guido Sampaolo, Hannes Hochwasser as Fritz Niebergall.
Music: Gregoire Lourme, “Fire arrows and shields”
Concept: Matteo Coletta
Voices: Hannes Hochwasser, Matteo Coletta, Roman Reischl, L.J. Ounsworth, Norbert K. Hund.