...The following letter was found in a boarding house in Romania in 1924. Unfortunately, the first three people to read it inexplicably collapsed with heart failure.
...The fourth, who was Polish, survived long enough to transcribe the text, and after burning the original and scattering the ashes, he too expired.


Vlasch you swine!

Do not write to me again!
You should die, you worthless pig's ass!
I will not renounce my curse no matter how much you beg.
Little Palush and Helena cry everynight for you to return and I tell them you are burning in Hell.

May Jesus spit on you!




The following letter was found on the body of a German soldier.

Dear Sasha,

...Tomcha and Vlasch visited the front last month. There is a strong power within them, we all felt it. Vlasch took my hand and suddenly I felt a sense of well being despite this hellish war. Later, I realized my infestation of lice was completely gone! Now, many weeks later, I am still louse free, yet all my comrades are still tortured by the filthy vermin.
...Somehow, I will survive this nightmare and return to you.

All my love,




....Recently discovered documents have verified that Tomcha & Vlasch were largely responsible for the unofficial Christmas Truce of 1914 between Allied and German soldiers in the northern sector of the Western Front.

....The following letter found on the body of a British soldier describes the event.

My Dearest Maggie,

...Yesterday was Christmas and I missed you horribly. I trust all is well at home. Has the roof been repaired? I do wish I was there to take care of you and little Beatrice.
...The weather has been frightful for these last two months. Our trenches are everywhere thick with cold mud from the constant rain and wet snow, and the stench that wafts in from the battlefield cannot be described. Of course the Huns are having a rough go as well.
...Then, on Christmas Eve, in the midst of this half frozen hell, you won't believe what happened! Before our eyes, Vlasch--the gypsy musician we saw in Liverpool--hopped into our trench like old Saint Nick and started playing and singing to cheer the boys. What a chap!
... Meanwhile, in the German trenches, we could hear Tomcha doing the same! Then to our amazed ears, they began singing duets in harmony across No Man's Land till the sun went down.
... On Christmas morning, the most exquisite frost had fallen on the trees. As soon as Vlasch stirred he began singing carols and Tomcha joined him in the distance. Then one of our boys--a great tenorójoined in and then the Huns started singing and soon we were all singing and crawling out of our filthy holes and exchanging tobacco and chocolates and drinking toasts!
... We even played soccer! Imagine that!! I met a young chap from Hamburg that brought me to mind of your cousin Edric.
... All the while Tomcha and Vlasch sang and played like our lives depended on it. They made up a song johnny-on-the-spot about why we should throw down our weapons and mutiny and let the generals and the politicians crawl around in this bloody mud and fight their own damn war!!! We all cheered and carried them around like heroes!!!
...That was yesterday. As I write, we are shooting at each other again, but why I don't know. I must go.

All my love,




Sketch attributed to Otto Dix upon which Bering based his painting.


detail of the ubiquitous trench rat



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