A letter from James F. Scott to Walter C. Scott dated April 14, 1944.
This is from a newspaper clipping saved by Walter C. Scott. The newspaper probably dates from early September 1944. The article mentions that "Double Indemnity" played last week at the Grand. The column is "Around the Square", possible an Elizabethtown newspaper, since there is an ad on the back for a business in Elizabethtown.
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STRIP FARMING AND ATROCITIES --
Jim Scott, brother of W. C. Scott, Hardin County Soil Conservationist, who was in the thick of the fighting in Germany until the final surrender of the Nazis, is not only a good soldier but a keen observer as well. Furthermore, he has the ability to translate his impressions via the written word. From inside Germany under the date of April 14, he wrote some observations on Nazi cruelties, also their methods of soil conservation, to his brother which we print below by permission:
Wish you could see Germany just to learn some lessons on farming and soil conservation especially the soil conservation. I've seen miles of hills and small mountains, a large part of it under cultivation, and not a trace of erosion. Of course they put more labor on the land and probably don't get nearly, as much yield man as in the U. S., but the farms really are pretty. Almost never is there a single farm house - just a cluster of houses in a compact village and miles of open fields. The hills are strip farmed, of course, and the drainage system must help prevent erosion. Shallow little trenches, almost grown over, drop gradually along the hills, keep the ground wet near the surface. The barns are warm - brick or cement walls - really made for keeps. They use quite a few oxen, even milk cows, for plowing in areas where there has been much fighting - artillery is rather tough on livestock. Often a team consisting of a horse and an ox is seen. In one case the ox was as tall as the horse, looked like a scrub elephant.
War of movement is far nicer than the static stage where we lived in dugouts in the woods and in a shell-ridden town. All that was left of our house there was the basement which seemed an ideal room when the 88's and mortars came around. The strain there was terrific - had just seen what happens when guys are caught unprepared in a counterattack. They tried to surrender. A Sergeant was shot, and the wounded shot in the feet and arms so they wouldn't leave.
We found them a day later after shooting up the place thinking Jerry was still there. Hope you don't favor a soft peace - stuff like that should be heard in the States.
Now' though, things are better - the latest setup is the best yet - in a 10- room house (the citizens were kicked out) slept on a feather bed, had a bath tub, the toilet flushes, the jam was plentiful, especially the strawberry preserves, even becoming a connoisseur of liquids, cognac chased with wine is good, hard cider a last resort. Back to the farm, in the barn are 10 or so horses, 30 cows, numerous hogs, chickens, etc., about 100 bushels of spuds in the basement. In order to make certain that the inhabitants will know they've been in a war, we use the kitchen for extra curricular cooking - chicken (skinned, saves time) and French fries. Apple and cherry pies are made by the talented of our group. Don't be misled, though, I'd like very much to be home.
Freed slave labor is everywhere, awaiting permission to start home. Russians, Poles, French, Belgins, and Italians - a very few women.
Would give a more complete report but the feather bed beckons, the liberated candle is getting low too - plenty of Kraut ink, though.