Dr. Peter Moloney

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Munich 1935

Girl with Early InsulinPeter Moloney wrote home several times during his stays in Europe. He spent the summer of 1935 in Munich, and although writing any political details would have been very dangerous, this selection of his letters give the most excellent details of Peter's character: observant, conscientious husband and father. 


May 16-35

Expect to leave for Germany Sunday May 19th


     AKTIESELSKAB (Ship's letterhead)

1-I will go on with my letter which I started last night using the ship's paper. The name of the boat is the Jylland. It is a Danish boat with a Danish crew- a good many don't speak English. We landed in Denmark at Eshjerg-I spelt it wrongly last night. It is pronounced Esbiare-you'd never guess. I will only stay a couple of days in Denmark. If I can see people I want to see tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday I will leave for Germany on Sunday morning, provided there is time to get to Mass. The first day I will go from Copenhagen to Berlin where I will stay overnight and the next day go on to Munich. 

May 18 Copenhagen (Saturday)

I arrived here as per schedule Thursday night about 12. I have a very good hotel at a reasonable price. Yesterday was a holiday but I met one of the men whom I wanted to meet at his home. There is an institute here very much like the Connaught. I spent the whole day at his home. Had lunch and dinner. Lunch was light for me on account of Friday but they are very fine people and in the evening they had eggs. In the afternoon the man and his wife and I took a long walk. We walked to the sea shore and in the distance we could plainly see Sweden which was not far away. I saw two large sailing vessels under full sail from Finland I guess and I think square riggers. It was a fine sight. If I can remember I will tell you later about the food here. They are great eaters. I am finishing this letter at Cooks. I have just received the letter from you and Mary. Love to all, Peter.


 May 22/35 Munich

Dear Angelina,

I left Copenhagen Sunday morning at 10:30. I was able to attend a seven o'clock Mass at the Jesuit Church. There are not many Catholics in Denmark. They are only one per cent of the population. Before I forget it: there was a dairy in Copenhagen called Trifolium- the boys and Mary should know what it means. The women in Copenhagen smoke cigars- it looked a little strange at first. While there I visited two laboratories. I arrived in Berlin Sunday night and stopped at a hotel called the Baltic and next day I left at noontime for Munich where I arrived at 10 o'clock at night. I did not see much of Berlin but before I left in the morning I took a walk around the city and visited with Father Phelan at St. Michael's College. I also met a young Spanish priest who is studying at the university. He is a very fine man and took me around and introduced me to some people here. I expect to start at the labortatory tomorrow.


Munich May 28/35 Pension Gorresheim Turkenstrasse 15

Dear Angelina and children,

I was very glad to get the cable. I have received several letters - London and Copenhagen and I have called twice for letters here (Cooks) but on both occasions the place was closed.

Before I forget I must tell you that Copenhagen is a great place for fish. The sea fish there is very fresh and the fish which I had here yesterday was not good. I forget whether I mentioned in a previous letter anything regarding the food in Copenhagen. The people are great eaters. They go in for a great many different kinds of meat at the one meal. I came to this pension last night; there was no room free before that. I have a fine large room and I am not far from the University. I take all my meals in. I had the choice of breakfast in the room but preferred to have it in the dining room. There were 5 of us at breakfast this morning. 2 elderly sisters (not religious) and myself and for the evening meal I am alone. The meals are very good. Breakfast is the continental one. Coffee and hot milk and rolls and butter and jam. The two ladies to whom I have already referred were once rich. As young women they travelled a great deal in England and France, Italy, Greece, Algiers. They speak several languages but German to me. And now they are very poor. It is rather pathetic. They speak about the beautiful world as it was before the war.

I have already started work at the university. I think it will be o.k. but things are very different from Toronto. I have to buy every single thing I use-so you can well imagine that I think twice before I begin an experiment.

There is one thing that is certain - the advertising folders overstate the case for these old cities in Europe. Munich is not much different from Toronto except for a number of crumbly old buildings that you wouldn't give a plug nickel for. In my travels so far I haven't seen anything of the cities I have visited but I suppose I had better try to see something of Munich and its surroundings. As for countryside I haven't yet seen anything to beat Scarboro township. Let me know how the money is holding out so that we can decide about the coming over. I don't think it will be very expensive for me now since I am here at the pension, it's about $1.25 a day for everything. Let me know when you hear from Ile d'You. The old laddie there may be frightened of the children - I told him there were five and gave the ages in order to calm him down. Love to all, Peter.


Munich June 1/35

Dear Angelina,

I am not sure exactly where I left off in my last letter and so I may repeat myself. I got two letters from you and the children-Mary and Henry for which I was very thankful. I will certainly be glad to see you all again. The time cannot go quickly enough. The other night they gave me a treat- calves brains. You would need to drink about five glasses of beer to take it with relish- however I battled through most of it. I called yesterday to see the stained glass window people (Mr. and Mrs. Franz Mayer, whose famous company supplied stained glass to many Irish churches, and North American churches including St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto) to whom Bishop McNally had given me a letter of introduction. They are very fine people and I will see them again. They are going to take me to the most famous beer garden in the world. Love to all, Peter.


Munich June 2-35

Today is Sunday and I have had an interesting outing. I was introduced to an American who had a small Ford roadster. We drove south from Munich into the Bavarian Alps. The scenery is very fine. Among other places we visited Oberammergau where the Passion Play is held every ten years. It is in a glorious location in a valley which is high up among the mountains. Mountains with snow capped peaks. It is the best scenery that I have seen in Germany.

I have also received Mary's letter just now with the others and John's and Peter's drawing of a bird- I wasn't sure what kind of bird it was. By the way the birds are altogether different here. There is a dark colored bird which otherwise reminds me of a robin.


Munich June 13/35

Dear Angelina,

I have just arrived back in Munich after my trip to Italy. It was a beautiful day and the trip took from 8:30 in the morning till 4:30 in the afternoon- just about like the trip to the lake (Lake Nipissing). I hope you got my letter and the children the cards from Merano, the name of the town. As I told you before the place couldn't be more beautiful, but I didn't particularly enjoy being there alone. Italy is full of soldiers and apparently they are going to war but I suppose it is still uncertain. I called at the city hall to ask about immunization in Italy. The doctor whom I said was Italian who could speak neither French nor English nor German, I tried him out in French and he spoke in Italian and we got along fine. Of course I was bluffing that I was an expert at French. The old man who ran the inn where I stayed was the best example of an innkeeper that I ever hope to see - just as if he had stepped right out of a book, a dignified hospitality to everyone- and at night people would come to drink wine. The innkeeper also had a large vineyard surrounding his inn and drank plenty himself. He just about looked like a wine cask. He was wonderful company and extraordinarily well informed. Love to all, Peter.


Munich June 14/35

Dear Angelina and children,

I wrote yesterday but I have just received today your letter and Mary's card and Henry's and Oliver's and Peter's drawing of the horse crossing the ploughed field. And also a copy of China from Fr. Chofe with some of the best jokes I have ever read.


Munich June 15/35

Dear Angelina and children,

The prices at Ile d'You are awfully high. Maybe I'm too pessimistic just now. I will write again soon. I enjoyed Oliver's and Henry's letter. Love Peter. We'd save quite a bit if you sailed on the Alaunia August 16.


Munich June 22-35

Dear Angelina and children,

I got word back from Ile d'You and in my opinion the price they gave is a proper swindle- 230 francs per day for all of us.

Personally I am fed up with Europe and will be glad to get back to Canada. If you weren't coming over I could return a little sooner for some holidays in Canada. Don't let this interfere with plans as I am writing everything that comes into my head. Just to show you how perverse human nature is: now that I am over here a holiday in Scarboro wouldn't seem too bad, or in Quebec. For 500 dollars we could bring Grandma and Uncle Ed and Aunty Ebby down to the island of Orleans in Quebec.

I must tell you now about the Corpus Christi procession. Cardinal Faulhaber carried the Blessed Sacrament through the streets accompanied by a great crowd of men, women and children- nuns and monks also marched. There were bands and among these, young girls who played violins and guitars. The route along which the procession went was lined with soldiers and also a bodyguard of soldiers accompanied the Cardinal. It was all very impressive. I wrote to Father Chafe and told him about the procession and also thanked him for the copy of China and for the article on Morgin the Brave. (Cardinal Michael Von Faulhaber was an outspoken opponent of Hitler and the Nazi regime, his Advent sermons in 1933 at St. Michael's, the largest church in Munich, were packed with Protestants and Jews as well as Catholics (wikipedia "Michael Von Faulhaber"). He is described as the "one of the most fearless German churchmen" for denouncing mistreatment of the Jews, among other grave concerns. In 1935 the Nazis issued a call for Faulhaber to be killed.  He was a major contributor to the only papal encyclical written in German, Mit Brennender Sorge of Pope Pius XI, 14/03/1937. Though the crowd gave the Sieg Heil salute to the soldiers, Peter would not do it.)

The laboratory closes on the 15th of July in 3 weeks time. It has been interesting at the lab but the facilities for work are not as good as in Toronto- that is fine for me since there are practically no facilities for work with animals. I will stay on in Munich after the 15 of July for 2 or 3 weeks at least and read German scientific articles. The German is coming much easier and I feel obligated to make as good a job of it as possible- it was fairly heavy slogging at first. It is a pretty dull life but I haven't much time to think of that since there are so many things to do. I have to think about work- the lab first as in Toronto and then there is German. I take 3 German lessons a week. After the 15th of July I will take more. Your letters are always very interesting and welcome. Love to all, Peter.


Munich June 27 - 35

Last night I had a pleasant surprise. The Bishop of Hamilton got in touch with me and I was out to supper with him in a beer garden. Mr. and Mrs. Day were also there along with some German friends of the Bishop's. It was all very pleasant. I expect to see the Bishop and the Days again before they go. Here is hoping the time won't seem too long. Before I see you all again. Love to all, Peter.

Munich July 7 1935

Dear Angelina:

I received the cake yesterday on our Anniversary - 19 years married. It doesn't seem that long and also it was a long way to be from home. I can't sail before the first of September very well. I must get what I can out of the trip while I am here. Next week I will have finished in the laboratory here. I was not able to get much done-the time was short and the working conditions naturally not nearly as convenient for me as in Toronto. I am hoping to spend some time in the city health department here so as to get a general idea of health measures in a German city. I will also spend considerable time in the university library which is open during the holidays. I also wish to visit a man in Heidelberg and one in Dresden. This may not be possible on account of the holidays but I didn't feel that up to now I could take time off front the lab. There is a large government institute- something like the Connaught Lab in Milan in Italy. I may visit there after I have finished with Germany and start homeward. I hope you are keeping well. I am always so glad to get your letters. This is Sunday morning. The weather is quite cool- almost uncomfortable. In general the weather here is most changeable. It can be very hot. I think on the whole the climate in Munich is very similar to that in Toronto. I will write again in a few days. Love to all, Peter.


Munich July 13 35

Dear Angelina and children,

Next week I am going to Heidelberg and to Dortmund which is near the Dutch border. There are men in these two places whom I wish to see. I expect to be away for 4 or 5 days. When I come back to Munich I expect to visit the city health department. In the rest of my stay here I expect to do some reading in the University Library and in another library to which I have access. According to my present plans I will stay here till the 18th of August. I may then go to Milan in Italy to visit the Italian government _____ institute. From Milan I will go to Paris and sail somewhere around the 1st of September. I have written to Dr. Fitzgerald and told him my tentative plans. He may want me to stay longer. If he does I will let you know. I am hopin to be back early in September. Love to all, Peter.


Munich July 22 1935

Dear Angelina and   children:

I just returned to Munich last night from a trip which I made to Institutes in Heidelberg and Dortmund and I had waiting for me your 3 letters and the letter from Mary and Henry and Oliver and Peter's drawings. I liked the drawing of the farm and the sunshine and the bird houses. I am not sure when I will leave- I rather hope on the 31st of August on the Alaunia I think- I told you before that i had written to Dr. Fitzgerald to tell him of the change of plans but I have not yet had a reply. The trip which I made to Heidelberg and Dortmund was interesting and I think profitable. Last Tuesday morning I left here and arrived in Heidelberg in the afternoon. I was there for 3 days and visited the chemical department of the university and also another Institute in which chemical work is done. I left Heidelberg on Friday for Dortmund. Dortmund I think I told you before is not very far from Holland and is in one of the greatest industrial sections of the world- the part of Germany called the Ruhr. This is a coal district in which are a number of large cities with great steel plants and other industrial undertakings. In Dortmund there is an institute for the study of industrial problems and the chemist there was a man whom I wished to see. Everything turned out very well and I got what information I was seeking. In Dortmund there is also the first good hotel which I struck in Germany, the Stadt Hotel. Every room with hot and cold water, a shower bath and a closet and a telephone in each room. The charge is reasonable- you pay for bed and breakfast and the breakfast consists of marmalade-bread, butter, coffee, and cold meat or an egg. As I said in a previous letter I can't give you definitely my plans from now on until I find out whether I am supposed to stay in Europe until or in September- I hope not! I expect to be in Munich till at least the 18th of August. If there is any need to tell you of a marked change in plans I can call. Love to all, Peter.


Munich July 26 35

Dear Angelina and children:

I have been making arrangements this morning regarding the return trip. I expect to sail from Le Havre on the 31st of August on the Alaunia. It will be some days before this is confirmed. I am looking forward to going back and seeing you all again and also to having a bit of a holiday. I will be glad also to get back to regular food. For instance the bread over here is flavored with licorice. I would like to have a slice of ordinary white bread. Love to all, Peter.


Munich July 30 35

Dear Angelina and children:

I expect to sail on August 29, your birthday- from Cherbourg on the Empress of Australia. The time cannot go by quickly enough. The difficulty at the present time is that I haven't a regular job and I have to put in my time reading German. A little is alright but just now I am getting too much. next week I am going to Salzburg, Austria. (He would be there during the midst of the famous Salzburg festival). It is not so far from here. And besides there is some sort of Catholic convention being held in Salzburg I am not sure of the real name of the convention but it has to do with Catholic Universities. then toward the end of thefollowing week I am going to Italy- if I get a reply to the letter which I wrote. I expect to go to Milan which is in northern Italy. I did think of going to Rome but the time will be too short. From Milan I expect to go to Paris by way of Marseille. I will only be in Paris for a few days. I will see the Ramons and try to see the Gilsons. If all goes will I should get home around the 4th of September which would be plenty of time for a holiday. Last night I spent a pleasant evening with Dr. Muller- one of the people to whom the Bishop introduced me. His family are out at a summer place. On Wednesday evening he is taking me out to the place. It is not far from Munich and we will get back the same night.

When you land off a train with the large suitcase in some of these cities, there is a horde of carriers who pounce on you like a lot of wolves and it is sometimes difficult to explain in the different languages that you don't need any help rien de plus merci -etc- poste or station d'urgence. By the way I had to write a letter in French to a man in Milan. I have not yet received a reply. It may be that my French was not so good. I am reading now a book in German on the Canadian martyrs. It is interesting to see Lake Nipissing-French River in German. Love to all, Peter.


Munich Aug 4 35

Dear Angelina and children,

Well I have made the first move toward going home. There is a piece of apparatus which I am hoping to bring home but may not be able to get it through. You can't imagine the regulations over here. On Monday- tomorrow- I am going to Salzburg in Austria to attend a convention. I expect to be away for 2 or 3 days. And the following week I am going to Milan and then on to Paris as I told you in a previous letter. I hope the canoe came alright and I am looking forward to seeing it. Love, Peter.


Oxford August 12 35

Dear Angelina,

I came to Oxford yesterday. It is a very interesting old town and I only wish I were staying longer. At the meeting yesterday which I attended here I met 4 people from Toronto which was a pleasure. I had tea this afternoon with a friend of Mr. Somerville, Prof de Levelan. I ony wish I could see more of him. Donald (McDougall, the blinded WWI veteran who was awarded a Rhodes scholarship and was studying at Oxford) introduced me to a man here Dr. Roy Vollmer. He has been extremely kind. I am going out to dinner with him this evening at Lincoln College. This morning he took me for a long drive about Oxford. I saw Blenheim Park at Woodstock which was given to the duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne and the remainder of ---edstown nunnery which was among those suppressed at the Reformation. It is rather pathetic to see the remains of a chapel turned into a stable. At tea this afternoon there were two young men, one relative to the wife of Prof Zeulzer (uncertain spelling) and the other I am not sure whether a relative or not. But both came of old Catholic families. In the case of one boy the family never lost the faith. At one time they were very wealthy with a large property in Norfold but due partly to religion the estate has diminished. The house is described by Benson in one of his novels.

August 13

Well the dinner came off. It was very formal- I had on borrowed clothes. At the dining hall in Lincoln College there were 8 of us at the high table and there were the students. the Hall was about 500 years old. First there was grace said in Latin will all standing and then grace ended - per Christum Dominum... Grace was also said at the end. This is rare with Protestants. At the high table was a man who had recently been converted along with his wife. His wife's mother is also a convert.

After dinner we took our table napkins and went into A (a room nearby) and gathered around the fire and drank port and ate fruit and then coffee and then to B (adjoining room) where we sat round the fire and smoked and drank whiskey. (The method of sharing the whiskey amused Peter: a long rope was attached to the serving tray on the fireplace mantlepiece-when one wanted a refill, he pulled on the rope to slide the tray closer, it was pulled back and forth all night.) I got back to my room (digs they call it here) at 12 midnight. I am writing this on the Oxford-London train. Love to all, Peter.


Paris August 24 1935

Dear Angelina and children,

Here I am in Paris at the Hotel de Bretagne et du Canada eating bonne nouriture and all the rest of it. I arrived here very late on Thursday night from Milan. The train left Milan at 9:00 in the morning and arrived here at 11:30 at night. Just where the train leaves Italy is the D------ tunnel- one side is Italy, the other side Switzerland. It took us 20 minutes to go through the tunnel. It is 12 miles long. Some of the scenery in Switzerland was very fine. In the compartment with me from Milan was a Greek from Egypt. He looked like a cutthroat but he wasn't bad company. It was a chance to get some practise in French. When I arrived in Paris I telephoned the hotel to be sure about a room and then took a taxi. Yesterday I went to Cooks and got 5 letters including the pictures. I was very glad to get them all. I tried to telephone Gilson. I will probably call at the house today. I have not got in touch with Ramon yet- tomorrow is Sunday and I did not want the possibility of making myself a nuisance to them on the holiday. The canoe looks fine. I hope I can have a ride in it when I get back. Yesterday morning it was a big pitcher of milk and a little pitcher of coffee. I gagged a little on the milk- so this morning I asked to have it the other way around which wasn't any better. I will be glad to get back to civilization. Love to all, Peter.

















Copyright: Family Trust of Dr. Peter Moloney 2013. All rights reserved.

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