Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Letter from Katherine Fite to Mr. and Mrs. Emerson Fite, November 11, 1945. K. Lincoln Papers, War Crimes File. (Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum & Library)

Nuremberg, Nov. 11

Please sent me the package, stockings, roll for hair, etc.

Dearest Mother and Daddy,

I neglected you last week, but I warned you that I would. We have been working night and day steadily - with yesterday a preliminary deadline so that we are a bit relaxed today. All on the theory that we got to trial the 20th which I still doubt. The bottleneck is mimeographing, photostating and translation. Certainly we work under physical handicaps. You should see five of us in one room, including 2 stenographers, trying to utilize the light of one desk lamp and a feeble bulb with no shade way in the middle of the room on a high ceiling. Yesterday with our brief on the Cabinet - such as it is - in the hands of the mimeographer, I cut out early and indulged in the luxury of having my hair washed. I don't think my hair has been really clean since I left home - they don't rinse it well - and I don't like my Selfridge permanent - it curls in the wrong places - and now my hair is growing long. Altogether hair is a problem.

The paragraph at the beginning is to make possible a Xmas package.

I understand just a request for "a package" will satisfy the postman at any time but I threw in "stockings and roll" just for precaution. By roll, I mean those "rats" you can buy at the dime store. Some have an elastic all around the head - I don't like the elastic - but if it is all you can get it is better than nothing. With my hair so long, I need something to tuck it around. Some nylons would be wonderful, and some cottons - the nubby, not the striped kind. I believe I can get service weight rayons here. This week, with a little leisure I am going to get out to the Quartermaster and see what I can get in the way of winter underwear.

It's pretty cold here today, cold and gray. I started out to tell you of the Justice's cocktail party for Senator Pepper yesterday - very pleasant - then on in a smaller party to dinner at the hotel, and our night club, which is the center of our local life. Sat next to the Senator who regaled the party with tales of his visit to King Ibn-Saud and his tent city. The biggest event of the King's life was his visit on Roosevelt's battleship. (They had to put all the women off the ship, including Anna) the senator looks like Adolf Berle. He does not like Mr. Hackworth. Lots of people don't. Tonight another VIP dinner party at the Justice's for the Senator. Long dresses. You see the panel of eligible women for such parties is small. So I always get there and usually get the seat of honor. It's fun, also an effort when you're tired - as I am today.

My German maid and I have been conversing. When there is no one else around I am uninhibited and thankful for my year's German with Miss M.P.W. (It has stood me in good stead in ability to use the books.) First I asked the maid for matches (sign language). Then she came in to borrow a darning needle (that one I was proud to understand). Then she told me (I think) that all the workmen in the hotel took all they could lay their hands on for their own houses. That was what happened to a light that was ripped out of my vestibule. And she has to keep a sharp eye on all her brooms, etc. The one German I really like - and I give her candy (rather stingily) and soap from time to time.

I am on the track - maybe - of buying a fur coat. Seems the fur trade has moved from Leipzig. I can pay partly on cigarettes! I am told it is all perfectly legal. We shall see.

The army runs a vast socialist organization. You go to the PX with a ration card and buy what they have, not what you want. Never the same brand of toothpaste, but that keeps you from getting into a rut. You should see the Russians go hog wild buying toothpaste and soap and candy and just everything. Also the French - who hold up the line being very careful and inquisitive about what they buy.

Medicine they give you, including vitamin tablets. I lost my glasses case and sure enough I got in touch with the eye clinic at the hospital and they gave me one.

I suppose actually the number of civilians over here is relatively so small that it's easier to give medicine etc. than to do bookkeeping. And it's certainly to everyone's interest for everyone to be healthy. It's socialized medicine, but of course you get any old doctor. Don't be alarmed - I have been to the dispensary only twice - once in London when my ear bubbled and the doctor said it was eczema. Here I had a sore throat which the doctor said was sinuses and gave me nose drops. Both eczema and sore throat cleared up.

There appear to be several hospitals here. The one I have visited people in - 116th General - is a German Army hospital, fine, big buildings - only one of which got hit. They say they have a large psychiatric ward. One of our stenographers is there. So far, I believe, she is our only casualty along the lines.

I am sorry this is a dull letter - but I have done nothing but work. I wish while the weather was pleasant, I had had a chance to take more trips.

I can't have any idea how long I'll be here - so much depends. I have January in mind for pulling out. Will send a check for Christmas. In fact I enclose it - for Marcia, you and Daddy, and Nanny. I am bothered thinking about furnace and hope you're not cold or burning too much oil and hope it was right to wait till next spring - if not - go ahead now.

Lots and lots of love,