World War II Cadets: recommendations required!

World War II Cadets: recommendations required!
Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, West End and Keeler, Chicago. 97 of its boys were in the service.
To be accepted as a cadet in the World War II Army Air Corps, Frank needed several letters of recommendation. For one he turned to the pastor, Rev. Oscar Kaitschuk, of his neighborhood church, Bethel Evangelical Lutheran (Evangelical is a denomination of the Lutheran church and not to be confused with the Evangelical Christians.) Pastor Kaitschuk responds to Ebner's request, promising a recommendation and sending encouragement and updates from the  home front.
I don't have Rev. Kaitschuk's actual recommendation letter—only this cover letter, but I do have the recommendation from the father, Mr. Von Arx, of Frank's best friend. Mr. Von Arx was as an involved member of Bethel, and that's why his letter is also written on Bethel Church stationery. Included here, from seventy years ago, are the letters from Pastor Kaitschuk and Mr.Von Arx.

4211 West End Avenue
Bethel Ev. Lutheran Church

May 15, 1943

Dear Frank:

Received your welcome letter and will answer by return mail. Have thought of you so often and will continue to remember you in my prayers. We miss you but are proud of you and the service you are rendering to our country. I’m certainly glad to hear that you are friendly with the chaplain, who also happened to be a major. He will help you I am sure.

Enclosed you will find a letter or recommendation as requested. I’m happy to do this for you and will continue to help you at all times. Wish you every success and how proud we will be of you when you get your commission. But the main thing is to be a good and faithful soldier of the cross and to be loyal to God and country.

We have a new director of Music and I’m sure that he will do well. Our senior choir is with us again. Sang for the first time last Sunday. Had 17 [choir members] out last night. Bill & Fred & Lillian are in the group and we’re happy to have them. They will help us. Too bad you aren’t one of us, but you will be on your return.

Are you receiving our bulletins? Let me hear from you whenever it is possible and I shall be glad to keep in touch with you. 

Regards from the family and also the members of Bethel. As ever… 

Your Friend and pastor,

OC Kaitschuk

VA Elsie and Bert VonArx circa 1947

Herbert Von Arx, right, with wife, Elsie, parents of Frank Ebner's best friend, Frank Von Arx

May 15th, 1943

Commanding Officer
Truax Field
Madison, Wisconsin

Dear Sir:

I take pleasure in recommending Frank E. Gartz having personally known him as his Sunday School teacher, as a Boy Scout, and in later years as a student of Wright Jr. College of this city.

Frank comes from a fine Christian home with exemplary parents, and has displayed may creditable characteristics in deportment, education and geniality.

I feel confident Frank Gartz will diligently and creditably apply himself to any undertaking to which he commits himself, and remain

Very respectfully


Original letter from Rev. Kaitschuk below. Click once or twice to enlarge.

Ebner LTRs 1943-05-15 from Pastor Kaitschuk-1Original Letter from H. Von Arx (Herbert) below. (May not enlarge)

H Von Arx rec for cadet


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  • Meet The Blogger

    Linda Gartz

    I was born and raised on Chicago's West Side, where the Gartz family lived and worked for most of the 20th century. After my mom died in 1994, my brothers and I poked around the the attic of my parents' home and discovered a trove of letters, diaries, documents, and photos that had been saved for almost a century. Taken as a whole, they focus a lens on the history of our city and life in another era, as seen through the eyes of regular folks. Go to where you'll find my blog, Family Archaeologist (a clickable link is on the "About Letters of a World War II Airman" page). There you can explore this historical treasure trove that illuminates history and our shared humanity. I started my blog, "Letters of a World War II Airman," on the 70th anniversary of the date my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, was drafted into World War II military service. You can see that first post and the first three months of 1943 letters at my website, All future letters will be posted on this blog. I'm an author, archivist and television producer. Please visit my website,, to see my published articles and an overview of my television productions.

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