Rudi Woelke World War I correspondence, 1903-1970 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
This collection consists of more than 200 letters, postcards, and field postcards, the majority dating from 1917 and 1918 between Rudi Woelke and Hermine Kahlo. The primary correspondents in this collection are Hermine Kahlo-Woelcke (teacher), Ludwig Techer (Infantry cadet in March 1915, farmer after the war), and Rudi Woelke (Leutnant, 205 Stab 1 Abteilung). Letters are sent from Bray-St-Christophe, Foreste, and Herly in France, Gdanzk, Poland, and Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, Germany.The earliest letter dates from 1903; the collection ends about 1970.
The bulk of the letters are from Rudi Woelke to Hermine Kahlo; Ludwig Techer also regularly writes to Hermine after the First World War, when Hermine loses both her father and her brother. Most of Rudi's letters contain requests and receipts for cigarettes, pipes and cheese; Rudi was stationed in Beirut (27 January 1918), which fell to British and allied forces in October 1918. Rudi and Hermine were married in 1918; many letters refer to their wedding plans. Other letters describe Rudi’s daily routine of riding and tending to his horses, socializing with other soldiers, and drinking wine.
In a noteworthy letter of October 19,1918, Rudi gives his evaluation of the war: He claims that the Western front could be held for many more years by Germany, if needed. He hopes that Germany will not give into United States President Woodrow Wilson’s pressure, and that it will cease to be afraid of the Eastern Front.