1930's Postcard Decoded

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published October 20, 2011 and can be found here.

Rich Rolwing, a RochesterSubway.com reader, translated the German message on the back of this postcard.

   I've had     this postcard    in my collection for a few years now and it's one of my favorites for a couple reasons. It's late 1920's (or early 30's) and depicts the brand new (at the time) Broad Street and Rochester subway tunnel. The Rundel Library is not shown where it normally would be (to the right of Broad Street) because it hasn't been built yet. But I also love this card because of the handwritten message on the back. It's always been very mysterious to me -- because it's in German!

Rich Rolwing, a RochesterSubway.com reader, recently emailed me and very excitedly offered to translate the message. And so the mystery has finally been solved! Here it is, as written in 1938 from Karl (presumably visiting Rochester from Chicago)...

Dear Frank:
   Thank you for your letter and also that letter from Foley. Noch immer nichts gehoert f.P. Vielleicht heute oder morgen. Lass dir dann gleich wissen. Waren gestern beim einen Park picnicen. Paul hat jetzt Vacation diese und naechste Woche. hat immer noch Halsweh. sonst alles schoen auch Beer.

Gruss. Karl.

And the English translation...

Dear Frank:
   Thank you for your letter and also that letter from Foley. Still haven't heard anything ("f.P." could mean "FROM PAUL"). Maybe today or tomorrow. I'll let you know anything immediately. We picnicked in a park yesterday. Paul currently has vacation this week and next. He still has a sore throat. Otherwise everything's great - Even the beer.

Regards. Karl.

Now I dig this postcard even more! Especially after my recent post,     Prohibition in Rochester    . Prohibition ended 5 years before this postcard was mailed! I wonder what brought Karl to Rochester? Perhaps he and Paul decided to travel around sampling the various brews of the world now that it was legal again? Sounds completely logical to me.

I should mention that Rich nearly had a     conniption

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when I asked him if he used an online translation tool. He replied, NEIN! "No, The translation sprang, for good or ill, from my own brain honed by a Masters degree and undergraduate major in German; in addition to just years of enjoying speaking and reading the language. I'm not a native speaker although my father's side is German all the way."

Well I'd say that Masters degree has paid off. Thanks Rich!

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA