Place of death on death cards

Discussions on Axis documents, postcards, posters and other paper items as well as feldpost numbers.
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Wm. Harris
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Joined: 04 Mar 2003 22:10
Location: Festung Kanada

Place of death on death cards

Post by Wm. Harris » 26 Dec 2022 19:00

I have no experience with German death cards, but I am intrigued by them due to the research potential. I have been browsing them online and noticed that most are not really specific about place of death, generally just giving a country in general (France, Italy, Russia) or simply something like “in the east”. I have seen a few, though, that are very specific, either with regions (Normandy, Crimea) or even specific locations such as Sevastopol, Monte Cassino, Rimini, etc. How normal is this? Is a specific place name a red flag for forgeries, or was this a normal if somewhat unusual practice?


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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Re: Place of death on death cards

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 21 Jan 2023 10:32

Death cards were not official documents, but rather commemorative tokens printed by the family. You can find an excellent explanation in this thread. I am not intimately familiar with the tradition of death cards, but my personal internalisation is that they are fairly similar in concept to the online commemorative pages that some funerao parlors offer today. As such, there were no hard standards, though tradition, the typical assistance of the funeral parlor, and inspiration from others (obviously abundant at the time) of course created strong trends.

I would see the level of detail as a combination of the need for military secrecy and informativeness (i.e., how much were the family told in the first place) and preferences of the family. For example, a family that wish to display pride of their lost one's military service may show more detail, especially if related to a well-known battle. On the other hand, a family who wish to emohasize other aspects, or simple do not consider it relevant in the context, may use more general terms.

As an aside, there is no doubt a study waiting to be written in the evolution of the design and text of military death cards between 1939 amd 1945.

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