Dutch man gets back lost WWII letters via Facebook

File: Adrien Mueller was handed back the letters -- written by his father who served in the German army during the war -- by a couple who discovered the case on a railway platform at central Utrecht station on Sunday, Dutch media said. Photo: Max Pixel

THE HAGUE - A Dutch man who lost his briefcase filled with passionate letters written by his father during World War II has been reunited with his precious cargo Tuesday after a massive Facebook search.

Adrien Mueller was handed back the letters -- written by his father who served in the German army during the war -- by a couple who discovered the case on a railway platform at central Utrecht station on Sunday, Dutch media said.

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Mueller was on his way home to the southern Dutch town of Brunssum near Maastricht, after having picked up the letters from his sister, when he had a cup of coffee as he changed trains.

"His train arrived and in the rush, he forgot the briefcase. It was later found on Platform 18 by another couple," the 1Limburg private broadcaster said on its website.

The couple posted the find on Facebook which had more than 27,700 shares and eventually -- with the help of the local broadcaster --  Mueller was tracked down and told his missing letters were safe.

The letters are highly personal and give a small glimpse into what his father experienced as a soldier fighting on the Eastern Front, where the German army was eventually beaten.

"My dearest darling. I'm writing to you to let you know all is well," most of the letters start off, with details about what the men had to eat and whether they were safe or not.

"Often the letters end with 'your loving husband'," the radio station added.

Mueller told the radio station he was happy to get back the letters, which he wanted to read to his daughter.

He did not know what happened to his father, who disappeared in the fog of war after 1944.

"Whether he was buried in a mass grave or died as a Russian prisoner of war we will never know," Mueller said.

Nearly four million German troops died on the Eastern Front after they were eventually beaten back, following Hitler's invasion of Russia in 1941.

Tens of thousands of others were taken prisoner and disappeared in Stalin's labour camps after the war. 

AFP

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