Tag Archives: Germany

1870s-80s Hannover Gentleman

Hannover CDV. Private Collection.

Hannover CDV. Private Collection.

A nice sepia three-quarter portrait of a handsome blonde man with the slicked back hair and pouty lips. His bowtie looks particularly elegant. It looks made of silk, and so do his coat and waistcoat.

The round edge card’s back is mint green with simple lettering, dating it to around the 1880s most likely. The wide lapels look 1870-ish to me.

F. Wunder Sohn. Hannover.

F. Wunder Sohn. Hannover.

Photographer: F. Wunder Sohn. Hannover, Schillerstrasse 24. Germany.

The German man with the scarred cheek

Scarred cheek German man. CDV. Private Collection.

Scarred cheek German man. CDV. Private Collection.

This German man may have been a veteran soldier in civilian suit. Something got him good on the side of the face, perhaps a knife. I’m thinking he was a soldier for the ribbon across the chest. He’s also wearing the black visor hat I mentioned before that was so popular in Germany at the time, and both worn by boys and men.

The bottom of the card was clipped to fit into an album. I can’t make out the message or handwritten name, only the year: 1910.


Photographer: Carl Thies. Hannover. Germany

Boudoir Tea Time

Tea time. Postcard. Private Collection.

Amag. Tea time in boudoir. Postcard. Private Collection.

I am missing picture 1 and 4 in this German set and I doubt it ends at 5.  I love it for many reasons, some more obvious than others.

Apart from the couple “playing tea time” in sleepwear and embracing (her being all shy to his advances in the second one), I love the setting. The backdrop of the cityscape window and semi-transparent curtains is very nicely painted. It makes me think how much I’d like to see them with my own eyes.

But look into the mirror of the vanity…

Oops! Yes, that’s the photographer’s arm, or his assistant’s! In picture 14/3 you see both hands holding a pole, the flash perhaps? 14/5 looks a bit blurry to the right, but the postcard doesn’t look water damaged. I did find another 14/5 postcard online, this time tinted green and with the crisp right side. I’m posting it here for reference.

Publisher: Amag – Albrecht & Meister, Berlin. Founded in 1865 they were still printing postcards in the 50’s.

1943 Heribert, the WWII German submariner

Heribert the WWII German sailor. RPPC. Private Collection.

Handsome WWII German sailor. Kriegsmarine Heribert. Bremen 1943. RPPC. Private Collection.

Smiling Heribert could have been an actor. He certainly had the striking good looks. But unfortunately he was a submariner serving under Hitler. Posting a picture of a German military guy from WWII is always an icky affair for some, but not for me.

The Kriegsmarine crews manned U-boats. Those submarines earned the nickname of “iron coffins”.

By war’s end, 28,000 out of 39,000 German sailors had died at sea. That’s 3 out of 4 wiped out, the highest casualty rate of all German forces. They did considerable damage to Allied forces too: 3,000 Allied ships (175 warships; 2,825 merchant ships) were sunk by U-boat torpedoes. The numbers are staggering on both sides.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once wrote “The only thing that really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.”

But let’s come back to Heribert.

Without a last name there is no way of knowing if he made it through to the end or not, but the statistics are against him. Most German mariner casualties happened in the second half of the war when Allied technology advanced enough to effectively counteract their offensive.

Heribert's note.

[…] Memory / from Your Friend. Heribert. The other half of the postcard is blank.

He had his picture taken in Kiel and he wrote this message from Bremen, Germany on November 25, 1943. From the little I understand of it, he addressed it to his friend and I see the word memory or souvenir (andenken). His Ns and Ms look like Us too, so this makes it doubly hard to try and translate. A German Tumblr person translated it to “To Eternal Remembrance”.

There is no address and the postcard wasn’t posted, This was a picture he gave or left behind for his friend to find.

Photographer: Kunstfoto A. Klein. Kiel, Holstenstr. 104. Germany.

A (long) note to the casual reader:

I do not support racism, intolerance or other extreme views.

I have American, Russian and British soldiers who fought the same war in this collection. And while I understand the knee-jerk reaction of demonizing anyone who wore the Nazi uniform I like to dig beyond the surface.

I don’t see the world strictly in black and white terms and believe your average drafted WWII German soldier, sailor and pilot began the war for family and country but ended it disillusioned and horrified. They did what every soldier does in wartime: go on missions and hope they and their friends survived it to see another day. The alternative for the Germans was execution.

By the second half of the war 100,000 of the German military took the risk and deserted, 25,000 of them got caught and executed, and tens of thousands more ended up in concentration camps or “punishment battalions” where they were made to do the most hazardous tasks. By comparison, only one American soldier got executed for desertion, Eddie Slovik.

With all this said the SS and gestapo’s horrifying war crimes were deliberate and absolutely inexcusable in any way; you won’t find any of them on this blog.

“I was a good soldier. I see today that because of that, I was merely a good tool for an unbelievably criminal regime.” Heinz Otto Fausten. WWII German infantry veteran.

This quote is from an insightful article worth a read: A Son’s Quest For The Truth: The Last Battle of a German WWII Veteran

The WWII German pilot with the model plane

WWII German pilot. Snapshot. Private Collection.

WWII German pilot. Snapshot. Private Collection.

Ah, the enemy…the one we loathe.

This picture spoke to me. This German pilot is leaning to the side so the model plane is in the shot. The picture gives me the feeling that flying was a dream of his from childhood, and it most likely was. Too bad this one grew up to become a pilot under Hitler’s rule. Sad, sad, sad. This pilot fought for the wrong side and paid the price whether he survived or not.

I collect these pictures because they remind me of the universal tragedy of war. The enemy had a face and family too and a life, and dreams, and not all of them were evil, they followed orders like every soldier has to do.

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