Another old picture in need of interpretation... - Axis History Forum

Another old picture in need of interpretation...

Discussions on other First and Second World War militaria and collecting in general. Hosted by John G & William Kramer.
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Joined: 31 Jan 2013 22:39

Postby ConfusedGermanPole » 31 Jan 2013 22:48


First post here. I recently came across a photograph of my great-grandfather. I had always been told he served in the Austro-Hungarian military in WW1. However, this picture looks like a German uniform to me. I also looked at an old map and determined that he lived in the German Empire, if only barely (he was from Bielszowice, so it appears he lived just inside the German border).

If anyone can tell me anything about this uniform, I would greatly appreciate it. In particular, I am interested in the significance, if any, of the type of hat, his collar, the shoulders, and whatever he's got belted to his side. Bonus points if you can identify the kind of cigar he's smoking (joking, of course).

It seems like an officer's uniform to me, but he was an ethnic Pole, so I'm not sure how likely it would be for him to be an officer. Note that the spot over his left breast pocket is an imperfection in the photographic print.

Thank you very much!
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John G.
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Postby John G. » 01 Feb 2013 13:11

Confused..... :welcome:
Not my No. 1 speciality, but a few things I can help with, I think.....The uniform/etc. is German, he's probably an Enlistedman...maybe a Cadet or a NCO (can't see the shoulder straps well enough to be sure).....but the entire setup is from Post-WW 1 (IMO).....notice the 4 pockets, 8 exposed button front, & the Litzen-type collar tabs which were somewhat unusual durning WW1....he does have a WW 1 belt buckle & Bayonet w/early-style yarn knot. My guess is this is 1920-1925 vintage (1918-1929)....

There is a slight chance this could be an early POLICE uniform from the same 1918 -29 period....but I believe it is Army Post-WW1/early Weimar Army...

I could be "all wrong".....if I am, someone will surely let "us" know....
John G.
PS....Don't know the brand of the cigar.....sorry! :lol:

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Joined: 31 Jan 2013 22:39

Postby ConfusedGermanPole » 02 Feb 2013 02:56

Thanks, John G. At first, I thought you must be incorrect about the time-frame, but after looking around some more, I think you may be right. I always thought that the part of Poland my great-grandfather lived in became part of Poland in 1918 (upon the Treaty of Versailles), but it appears that the transfer of his part of Silesia to Poland actually did not occur until late 1921 or so. Thus, it seems very possible that he could have been wearing a German uniform of some type even after the war. It does seem odd for a Pole in that region to associate himself with the Germans, but I don't really know anything about the subtleties of life in inter-war Silesia, so who knows? I'll be interested to hear what others have to say. Thanks again!

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