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World War, 1939-1945; Letter writing; United States. Army
Handwritten note on back of envelope "description of Sonner and Runte and boys in France." Davis writes about his friend Runte, giving an account of his life. Davis stresses that Runte never joined the Nazi party. For some time he was one of two radio broadcasters in Germany who were not in the Nazi "artists' league". Eventually he quit his job rather than join. Davis mentions that Runte and Sonner have the same realistic philosophy on present-day Germany. Davis describes Runte and Sonner's political standpoints, emphasizing their belief that the only thing for Germany to do is to rebuild then reintroduce government, but not the one it had before. Davis ends his description by saying that there are not a dozen Germans who agree with Runte and Sonner.
T/5 Robert Davis, 18107121
Mil Gov Det. G237
Co. F, 3rd MGR
APO 403, % Postmaster N.Y.
U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE A.P.O.
552 AUG 27 1945
Mrs. R. L. Davis
Description of Sonner + Runte + boys in France
24 August 1945
Thought I would write you a few details about my two German friends Runte ^(OberburgermeisteràOber – mayor) and Sonner ^(Town “Criminal Secretary” – highest police office but not attached to police force investigation for Mayor). The two are from separate poles, as far as origin, social classes, mentalities, talents, and education and approaches to life are concerned. Today they are inseparable, and Sonner, Runte’s man Friday, is always on hand to prompt his boss.
Runte, a slender, dark man, very good looking, came from a good family in the Rhineland. His hometown is Leverkusen, a suburb of Dusseldorf as it were. (On both of our Essen trips we drove thru’ Leverkusen, whereupon Runte pointed out the house where he was born, and the GYMNASIUM (HIGH SCHOOL + 2 yrs. College, like Eton where he studied.) His father had a printing or publishing business or something similar, which he inherited as a pretty young man. Born in 1909, he got a ^this good chunk of business at ^in 1929. Of course he lost everything in the Crash and the Depression, whereupon he took to free-lance journalism. In 1933 he landed a job as Foreign Correspondent in ^for some Munich paper, and still refers to himself as a “journalist.” His Balkan trip lasted thru’ the year, was from Budapest to Constantinople, and was followed up by a further trip to England. His rather considerable knowledge of English he acquired on this trip. (We converse only in German.)
Following his journalism work, he worked as Foreign receptionist for I.G. Farben-industrie (The World’s greatest Dye and Chemical Cartel.) In this position his job was to receive and entertain visiting officials and agents from Foreign lands. A typical assignment was his entertainment of 250 Doctors from South America. As piéce de resistance he arranged a tour of the Rhine and the Industrial area of Germany, featuring; a Rhine-steamer, and wholesale renting of hotels (one of the latter he pointed out to me in Limburg as we drove to Essen.) His other jobs were always of a similar nature, salesman or advertising work. His last job, at a large steel company, was Head of Sales Dept. His salaries were mammoth, and the whole thing reads like an ^incredible success story. His business experience, in the largest ^highest circles of European Industry, has shaped a very efficient end-product; smooth, quick-thinking, and with a large over-all selection knowledge of facts from which to form his judgments.
Politically he is sound. Incredibly enough, he has never joined the Nazi Party, nor even any of the affiliated organizations. As a radio commentator on Radio Cologne (which I forgot in mention, in 1935, 36 he had an hour program on Radio Cologne, a program of witty commentary on news and stuff, sort of a gossip column) he never joined up, until finally, he and the fellow who was on his program with him became the only 3 Broadcasters in Nazi Germany who were not with the Nazi “Artist’s League,” Kultur Kammer. He quit this job, rather than join.
His philosophy for present-day Germany is very realistic, and, as parroted by Sonner, the only realistic one I have encountered in Germany. He describes himself as “ANTI-POLITICAL,” and by political he implies the typical European activities along this line. For you see, German (and Continental politics) politics is not the game it is for us, in our safe framework of law and Constitutionality. European Politics is more sinister than the “back room” kind about the worst feature of which is smoke; European politics is one of coup d’Etats, of violence, of a division of spoils that doesn’t mean a few offices, but rather the lives of and fortunes of the people. His Philosophy he sums up in a few words: “Germany is a defeated country. It has lost two wars, and is now confronted with the basic problem of survival. This problem we must first solve by working: cleaning up the destruction of this war, and building our Country up once more. Once this is done, can politics be introduced, but not in the old form. Our only right now, is the right to work.”
If this idea sounds simple, it sounds so because it has the simplicity inherent in truth. There are not a dozen Germans in town who believe this! They don’t know about the war being lost, they don’t know the Americans come as conquerors, they want to play politics with a lousy population this is permeated with Nazi sentiment. 75% of them want to revive NATIONAL SOCIALISM under a dozen new names.
Well, that’s the picture and that’s the man.
Brady and Keller and I are going for the week-end “AUF’S LAND,” to the country.