About this Project

Sending Relief to Germany: Two Families Connected by CARE was created as part of Clio Wired II, a digital history class at George Mason University.

The inspiration for this project comes from the author's own family. Amy is the great-granddaughter of Chester and Marie Benjamin and the grand-niece of Lois Lobdell, the American family who sent CARE packages to the Wagners in Germany.

The letters that are digitized here represent a small number of those exchanged by the Benjamin and Wagner families. Amy's great-aunt, Lois Lobdell, returned to Barbara many of the letters the Benjamins recieved when the two met in 2010. Most of the original letters from Erna were typed and Lois maintained photocopies of some of these. The typed photocopies appear on the site in a translated version. Barbaba's letters were handwrittten and Lois had a couple of these that appear on the site as well. The author chose not to include images or PDFs of the photocopied letters becuase they are difficult to read and are not the original letters. Addtionally, all of the letters, including those composed by Chester, were written in German. Each letter was translated for this project.

A huge thank you goes out to Doris Swaim and Jamie Piittmann for translating the letters into English and Lois Lobdell for mailing a 15 lb binder across the country.

About the Author

Amy Benjamin is a graduate student at George Mason University pursuing her Master's in American history and digital history. She also works as an 8th grade Civics teacher and as a Museum Program Associate at President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C. Her previous digital projects can be viewed here. If you have questions or comments about the site, feel free to email Amy at abenjam4@masonlive.gmu.edu.

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