Minnesota Historical Society

Dear Poppa: The World War II Berman Family Letters

$ 15.95

David, Betsy, and Sammy Berman were nine, six, and four years old in May 1943 when the U.S. Army sent their father, Dr. Reuben Berman, to Europe. Over the next two and a half years, the children regularly gathered around their mother, Isabel, in their Minneapolis home while she typed exactly what they wanted to say to their father. This collection of more than 340 letters, selected from more than a thousand exchanged by the Berman family via V-mail, captures the anxiety and loss that children experienced when their fathers left for war.


  • Compiled by Ruth Berman, Edited by Judy Barrett Litoff.
  • Format: Paper, 317 pages, 22 photographs and 23 drawings
  • Publisher: MHS Press
  • Product ##: 9780873513586

    RUTH BERMAN, too young to write to Poppa during wartime, collected and transcribed her siblings’ and parents’ letters for publication.

    JUDY BARRETT LITOFF selected for this volume those letters that speak most clearly about the children’s experiences; her Introduction ties this family’s story to the history of wartime America. She is a professor of American history at Bryant College and the editor of Since You Went Away: World War II Letters from American Women of the Home Front (1991).



    Praise for Dear Poppa:


    "Letters were a key to winning the Second World War. This extraordinary book views the war from the perspective of three children who composed hundreds of letters to their father stationed in Europe. Dear Poppa tells not only of the children’s wartime toys, movies, and radio shows, but also their participation in paper drives, victory gardens, and war bond campaigns, their dreams and nightmares, and their deep longing for Poppa’s safe return. His letters home are in this volume, too, making more poignant the role of letters as morale-builders in wartime."--William M. Tuttle, Jr., author of Daddy’s Gone to War


    Related Links Read personal stories from World War II online at Minnesota's Greatest Generation.


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