This is one more document that the International Tracing Service located for me on Henry. ‘Haftling’ is prisoner, so this is the prisoner’s personal card.
On every document where date of birth is listed, it reads “12-7-1917.” We’d only met about three times, so when I came on December 7, I wanted to show Henry I’d remembered his birthday. When he opened the door and I pulled out a small birthday balloon-on-a-stick and a cupcake.
“Henry, it’s for you. Happy Birthday!”
I wasn’t expecting “What’s this all about?” After I came in and we sat down Henry figured it out right away. I’d read “12-7-1917′ as December 7. Henry’s birthday is really July 12. We had a good laugh over that and boy did I feel like a ‘stupid American.’ Henry kept that balloon for about six months, stuck into a planter. I smiled every time I walked past it for the next meeting.
It’s a reminder for anyone looking at European documents, to verify which date format the source is in.