Dear Cass, I Love You

Cast of Characters
Introduction -- The Four Star German American Family
Chapter 1 -- Short History of Germany & the Hildenbrand Family Early Years
Chapter 2 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- Pre-Draft & Marraige
Chapter 3 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- June 1943 -- Basic Training
Chapter 4 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- July 1943
Chapter 5 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- August 1943
Chapter 6 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- September 1943
Chapter 7 -- Letter To Cass & Dutch -- October 1943
Chapter 8 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- November 1943 -- From U.S. to North Africa
Chapter 9 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- December 1943
Chapter 10 -- Letters to Cass & Dutch -- January 1944
Chapter 11 -- Letters to Cass & Dutch -- February & March 1944
Chapter 12 -- Prisoner of War Letters & Postcards -- April 1944 to January 1945
Battle of Casino
Going Home
Prisoner of War Book -- Part I
Prisoner of War Book -- Part II
Letters to Dutch & Cass From Friends/Family
Rudy's Room -- Rudy Hildenbrand -- U.S. Army Air Corps
Eric's Room -- Eric Hildenbrand -- Marines
Herbie's Room -- Herbert Hildenbrand -- Navy
Family Photos
Family Plot
Other Links of Interest

Herbie's room was added, although we do not have much in it at this time.  We also added photos and documents in Chapter 2.

I  started this site two years ago [with help]. Terry's secretary typed all the letters on her lunch break that saved me at least five years of work. Thanks again Dolores.  I also put in many links so make sure you go through all of them because that's a very important part of  story and world war II .  When you think you're having problems just think of cass --  her brother-in-law killed, husband missing in action,  the other brother-in-law flying missions on a B-17 and her other brother in the army. Cass had two children at that time, Kathy, a year & half, and Carol, only five months old, and was back living with her parents. Dutch left a wife with two children  he loved dearly and wasn't even able to bring the baby [Carol ] home from the hospital.   Dutch went over to north Africa in November 1943 after only six months of training.  He got more training in North Africa preparing to fight in the Italian campaign.   Dutch went to Italy in early Jan.and was captured Jan 21 1944.  I believe he only spent a week fighting the Germans.  At that time, he had only eight months of service  I heard when the commander said who wants to go to the cassino,  Dutch was first with his hands up jumping up and down saying me- me -   All kidding aside,  go to the links on Battle at Cassino.  Dutch was one of the first hundred of the troops of the 36th to get over the the river and the rest of the 36st failed -- they couldn't make it because the Germans blew up the bridges and the small boats leaving only about a hundred to fight 1,000 Germans.  Also,  go to Rudy's room and check out his service record and Eric's epic on the USS McKean --  the day the Hildenbrands lost a limb from family tree.  I know some things are confusing because i also get confused.  But basically, Dutch was in basic training from June to November 1943;  from Nov.1943 to Dec 1943 he was in North Africa; from Jan.1 1944 to Jan. 21 Italy, and then was captured on January 21, 1944.  During Feb. 1944,  all Cass knew  was that he was missing in action.  Cass found out he was captured in March 1944.  Dutch was liberated in April 1945, and discharged in Oct 1945.   
P.S.  I personally thank him for SURVIVING THE WAR so his tree can florish.  

New Additions
A new "Cast of Characters" page, which is still in progress, has been added, as have Janaury and February 1944 letters.

New Additions
Documents for Eric have been added.  To enlarge documents, click on the thumbnail.

New Additions
New photos have been added for Rudy and Pre-war Hildenbrand

New Additions
The entire Prisoner of War book has been added.

New Additions
We have added several more months, as well as letters from Rudy,

We have added memorials.  Go to Family Plot page.  If your family member is not included, it is because we were unable to locate a memorial card.  If you have a memorial card or news clipping/obituary for your loved one, please send me one in the mail or scan it in and email it to me and I will add it. 


To All Hildenbrand Family Members:
This is the beginning of our Project -- Dear Cass, I Love You.
This will take you through history of World War II as seen by Cass and Dutch and the Hildenbrand family through the letters Dutch wrote to Cass during the war including some of her responses, beginning with her first letter to Dutch written the day he left for basic training thru the end of war � there are over 300 letters.  The letters take you from basic training through the Battle of Casino in Italy, where he was taken prisoner of war, including a number from the period during which he was a prisoner of war.  Also, it will include documentation about all of Dutch�s brothers -- Eric (Marine Corps), Rudy (Air Corps), and Herby (Navy). There will be documented events thru this period of time, Dutch�s capture, Eric�s final battle, Rudy as gunner on a B-17, the Flying Fortress, and Herb in the Navy. This book will include the whole prisoner of war book he wrote during his capture at Stalag 11b [see the movie starring William Holden -- its called Stalag 17].
Each week I will try to add more letters and photos.

2011.03.01 | 2011.02.01 | 2010.02.01 | 2009.12.01

Link to web log's RSS file

What's New?

All letters from June and July 1943 have been added.

Letters from August 1943 have been added. 

Here I will add an entry whenever I make an update to my web site. Where appropriate, I'll include a link to the change.

This site  The Web 


Copyright James A. Hildenbrand 2009, 2010, 2011