Letter from Katherine Fite to Mr. and Mrs. Emerson Fite, August 5, 1945. K. Lincoln Papers, War Crimes File. (Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum & Library)
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Sunday, August 5th.Dearest Mother and Daddy,
I am afraid I am building to letters of anti-climax, because every time I write, I have a trip to Germany to write about and for the time being I suppose they're just about over. Tonight I am just back from a weekend in Frankfurt. General Betts, the Theater Judge Advocate invited the Justice (inc. me) to spend the weekend at what amounts to almost his country estate. So off we flew yesterday noon, the Justice, his executive officer in Paris, Colonel Gill, a naval officer from here, his secretary, Mrs. Douglas, and myself. Really a purely social weekend, at least for me. This weekend was a bank holiday, and the weather has been perfect, warm and sunny, the first warm days since I arrived. The flight to Frankfurt took about 2 3/4 hours - lovely over the Ardennes, with a faint mist outlining the hills.
After landing in Frankfurt we drove out to Hochst, where the U.S. Group, Control Council, has had its offices in what looks like big factory buildings. Now however the main offices are moving to Berlin. Thence back through part of Frankfurt which they say is very badly destroyed, but really, I'm sick to death of ruins. We saw some very bad areas -some scarcely touched. The general's villa is out 33 minutes out of the city at Bad-Homburg, a watering place, where they used also to make Homburg hats and zwiebach. General Eisenhower's house is in the same "compound" (bordered by barbed wire and patrolled by M.P.'s).
General Betts lives with his aide in a large and very comfortable, Teutonic sort of house, well staffed with German servants. The garden is lovely with apple trees, pear trees, plum trees. So we sat on the terrace, had cocktails - later dinner and then took a lovely walk in the twilight looking out over the afterglow behind a ridge of hills, beautiful as hills the world over. The German countryside is lovely, and they should have stuck to it. It all seemed very idyllic and peaceful except for M.P. sentries challenging us in the dark. One even made the general "advance and be identified".
In the morning we had blackberries and fresh eggs and bacon for breakfast (dried or rather powdered eggs make an awful scrambled mess). Then after breakfast a walk through the woods - then back to the terrace and sunshine. And this is the piece de resistance - General Eisenhower was to have come to lunch - but it was good flying weather, and he had to make a trip somewhere. After lunch we lingered over coffee - then to our plane at 4 (3 London time) and back here by 6, London time. The channel was so calm; you could see the Dover cliffs reflected in the water. I timed our crossing - just 10 minutes. (Mr. Fahy, the ex-solicitor-General, now legal adviser to Clay, came for dinner. He was with us in Berlin and is a lovely soft-spoken person.)
So you see, tho being the only woman on the staff has many drawbacks, from the social point of view it pays. A masculine society is eager for women and we have the added advantage of being in civilian clothes. Tho when we go into Germany for the trial we army have to get into uniform to be more easily identified. Unless the army pays for it, it will be expensive. My army colleagues are, I am sure, jealous of my trips, for I do go places and travel in high circles, but they are very gallant about it. At least I am seeing how topside fares in military occupation. But of course this weekend wasn't a fair picture. These men have all been through the grimness of war. Gen. Betts said it was the first such day he had spent in 2 1/2 years. We are all distressed by a story AP got out that they were preparing for 8,000 spectators. The justice says they'll be lucky to get 50 spectators into the court room. Nor will we go to Germany on the 15th of August as the AP said.
Seems after we left Nuremberg they picked up 2 SS men who were servants at the hotel and threw them into the prison camp. One was a cook - and a darned good one. Also seems my good friend Col. Cutter got shot in the leg by a U.S. army major shortly after we left Berlin. The major was a block away and was cleaning his gun or something and it went off and caught Cutter in the flesh of the leg. One version is that is just missed McCloy - another that at the last minute Mr. McCloy and Col. Cutter changed cars so that Cutter caught the bullet. Anyway Col. Cutter is languishing still in a hospital in Berlin. And the persons who tell the tale gleefully point out that it was a regular army major who committed such a blunder as to shoot the executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of War.
I've forgotten whether I wrote you after our visit to Cambridge. The Justice took the Lauterpachts to lunch at a lovely old country inn - then we went and had coffee and later tea at their house and sat in their garden. I think I wrote you remarking how Daddy would have envied the English lawn, smooth as a tennis court and closely cropped. Aside from that, it looked like our garden on Raymond Ave. - and a neighbor's child came wandering in and seemed like a U.S. college town. Before we left, they took us through the Trinity College gardens which to me were beautiful for their trees. I thought the "backs" with all the little bridges over the Cam the most beautiful think I remember in England. And a beautiful Christopher Wren building.
Had dinner with Wattie last week. He is hoping to go to Germany shortly. Then up to the very charming flat he shares temporarily with another man. Apparently the "billet" he had was unattractive enough. I am lucky at the Cumberland. I can send out my laundry, dry cleaning and pressing not exactly cheap - but a great relief not to have to struggle with it. I am lucky too to be by myself. The army docks its officers $4.00 a day for a room here. The rooms actually cost 14s or $2.80. The Embassy, since I get it free from the army, docks me 1/5 of my $7.00 per diem, or $1.40. It's just one of those things where I benefit from its being impractical to go into detailed bookkeeping.
One or your letters came through in 5 days. I hope for one or more tomorrow, Prof. Lauterpacht inquired for B. McCown. He considers her very able.
All my love,
P.S. by the way, did you see the N.Y. Herald - Tribune the 2nd Sunday after I left, i.e. the 22nd Of July? They were to have had on the Woman's page an interview with me by a gal her in London - a horrible experience.