Skip to main content

Bernard E. Sobiechowski

 Collection
Identifier: A-4102

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 58 letters written by Bernard E. Sobiechowski, to his wife, Delores Hozeski, between 1952 and 1953, while he was in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Korea.

According to their letters, Bernard and Delores had a daughter, Sue or Suzie, sometime during 1952, before he was drafted in the Korean War. In July of 1952, he arrived to where he would be stationed, in Teague, or Deague, South Korea. Bernard’s letters to Delores were mainly love letters, in detail, expressing his feelings for her and his daughter and how he wished he could be home. Bernard also discusses his daily routine, which included working the overnight shifts, and sleeping on average to about 2:00pm, where he then showered and ate. He did not mind working at night because it gave him more time to do the activities he enjoyed during the day, such as photography and working on his boat. He also wrote about the leisure time him and the other men had and how they would spend it. The men were be granted R&R (rest and recuperation), after a certain amount of time and were able to go wherever they would like. Bernard wrote how he planned his trip with a few of his friends and went to Tokyo, Japan, where they shopped, visited burlesque shows, and were able to make phone calls home to their families. He also included how they were able to enjoy themselves while in Teague by going to the club for drinks, the shows, and the free cocktail hour that occurred every Sunday from 6-7:30pm.

Bernard wrote Delores a letter at least two times a day. He always made sure to write so that his wife could have at least one letter to open every day. Bernard took many pictures and would send them home so that his family could see what it was like in Korea, and they would send photos of themselves back as well. His letters also expose the hardships the war put on relationships between the soldiers and their wives. He wrote about the importance of trust and faithfulness to one another, as well as how much letters from home meant to him and why Delores needed to be sure to write every day. The 58 letters began on July 16, 1952 and ended in March of 1953. Bernard was originally scheduled to stay until June or July of 1953. However, since he went home in March it is very likely he was granted an early release. These letters also give insight into how families lived and operated in the 1950’s, specifically during the war. Bernard wrote his letters so often and with such detail to provide an accurate and informative account of how the army operated, and the daily routine and feelings of an American soldier away at war.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1952-1953

Biographical / Historical

Bernard E. Sobiechowski was born around 1928 in Grand Rapids, Michigan by his father, Erich Sobiechowski, and his mother, Charlotte Lohe. Both of his parents were born in Germany, and came to the United States between 1923 and 1925. Bernard lived with both of his parents and attended Union High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan while growing up. Bernard’s wife, Delores Hozeski, was born on September 28, 1926, by her father, Anthony Hozeski, and her mother Martha Furmankiewicz Hozeski. Anthony was born in Poland and Martha in Michigan. Delores’s family also went by the last name of Horzewski and Bernard’s family sometimes went by Sobie. This possibly could have been a way of shortening the last names to seem easier, or more Americanized. Bernard and Delores were married on February 15, 1946, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Extent

0.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

English

Physical Description

This collection amounts to 0.25 cubic feet and contained 58 hand written letters and the original envelopes they came in between 1952-1953. Most of the letters are written on standard, plain writing paper, with one or two being written on a thicker paper. They were written in ink and on average were 10 ½” long and 7” wide. About 10 of the letters came in smaller, plain envelopes and the rest began to come in longer envelopes with red and blue stripes around the edges. The envelopes were also air mail and were postage marked free. The average length of the letters are two to three pages, with a few being only one page.

Few letters have slight tearing on the edges and some stains and blotches from liquids coming into contact with them, leaving a majority of the letters in good condition.

Notes

Purchased with the Starring Endowment.

Title
Bernard E. Sobiechowski Finding Aid
Status
Completed
Author
Nicole Aquino
Date
1952-1953
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Contact:
Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490