Thursday, 13 August 2015

Love Letters

The Wedding of Lili Marlene
    The song, The Wedding of Lili Marlene, is based on a poem written by a 22 year old German soldier, Hans Leip, in the First World War, telling of love and separation. The English translation of the lyrics, a collaboration between Jimmy Phillips and Tommy Connor were the words my uncle chose to send to his new bride when they became separated by illness.

    She was hospitalised with tuberculosis within the first year of their marriage and the young lovers eventually lived apart for over two years. The location of the sanatorium and a poor public transport network meant that it wasn't possible for him to visit her more than twice a week. Being the 1950's writing a letter was the popular way to keep in touch and even when he did see her, he still wrote a note to her when he returned home.

    Although somewhat a poet himself, his feelings for her were often difficult to express in his own words. By enclosing a transcribe of their favourite love songs with his letter, he felt he could communicate them to her more clearly.

    I've included photographs of two of his original inclusions which she kept for over 50 years, along with his letters until she died. However, these love letters not only were a declaration of his love for her, but they played a significant part in her recovery from this killer disease. They gave her the will and determination to be reunited with the man she loved and live the life together they had planned.

When You're in Love (Skinner/Rocco/Wallace)
      Their love never waned, their story is one that has to be told and which I am working on.  

Note: Melody to Leip's lyrics were by Norbert Schultze.

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