Ernst Altien

The letter that never was sent.

This is the first letter from Ernst´s mother. It was originally written in German but is translated here into English.

Ernst found the letter in 1989 after his mother´s death in a hospital in Hamborg. Late in life he understood, why she  never gave it to him. But he never quite forgave her for not sending it to him, after he had grown up.

The letter was written after the devasting bombardment of Lübeck of the 28. of march 1942, when his mother stayed in Berlin with his grandmother.  Ernst Altien had never really understood the problems his mother had faced, untill he found the letter, and the only thing he could do reading it, was weeping bitterly. 


My dear son, she wrote, It is still early morning, but many anxious thoughts mingled with the heart-breaking goodbye, keep me awake. I love you so much as only a mother can love her only child. You are so dearly to me, and you will always be in my thoughts, and although we have to part, neither the time, the destiny or the death can tear us apart. You were given to me as a precious gift, and I have never lost the gratefullness toward whoever made it possible for me to bear a child like you. The English bombs that has brought devastation and suffering over Lübeck and Rostock, seems to me like dark warnings in this very changed world.

Although our ways must part now (later on you will understand!) , and although you are so small, you will always be in my heart. 

your mother


Some time later she must have written the following part on the backside of the paper. It was probably written after WW2. 


Now everything is lost. All the great dreams were illusions and dead now - or  smeared with blood and guilt. I hope for you, you can stay peacefully in Denmark and forgive your mother for not being the one, you needed. But believe me, I did the best, I could. Only my sorrow and regrets can mirror your pain. 

your mother.


First letter from his mother.

 First letter from his mother. Backside.