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Seeing Through Clouds The Story of an Airship Apprentice by Paul Lagasse

Letters from Erich

Shortly after Erich became an apprentice mechanic at the Zeppelin Company, he began corresponding with a pen pal in the United States, a boy his age named John Taylor. John lived in New Jersey, not far from the Navy's big airship base at Lakehurst.

Erich and John wrote to each other regularly until Germany invaded Poland, on September 1, 1939. From that point on, no more letters arrived from Erich. John tried to find out what had happened to Erich, but when Germany declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941 -- just days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -- any chance of finding Erich became impossible.

John Taylor saved all of Erich's letters; several years ago, he very kindly let me read them while I was doing research for Seeing Through Clouds. When I finished writing the book, he gave me the entire collection!

Many of Erich's letters are replies to questions that John had asked about Erich's life and experiences in Germany. John's questions are probably similar to the ones you might have after reading Seeing Through Clouds. If you have questions that you wish you could have asked Erich, e-mail them to me. I'll look through the collection and put Erich's replies up here for you to read.

Read the Letters!

Letter #1, August 12, 1937

"My name is Erich Lindemann. I am an apprentice mechanic . . ."