re-enactors

Discussions on all aspects of WW1, WW2 and Inter-War Era reenactment.
Alex F.
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Post by Alex F. » 22 Aug 2002 00:10

That's certainly your right.

There are Russian reenactors, too. Not much fun without an enemy to fight.

;)

Trust me, none of the people I know do it out of some latent love for Nationalist Socialism, they do it out of an interest in history.

Alex

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Romulus
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Post by Romulus » 22 Aug 2002 03:02

Good exercise too!

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 22 Aug 2002 14:48

Smert-fashistam,
Not all reenactments are military--they are just the most popular. I have been to many which have nothing to do with military subjects. American Wild West (very popular in Germany), !8th Century Court--with powdered wigs and dancing. In the US frontier stuff is very popular both east and west. I've even been to 'Roaring Twenties' gangster type things complete with the old cars etc.. Another American favorite is wagon trains in the west. There are sea types who have replica old ships and sail them around. Pirates etc. The 'swing' era has lots of very good period activities--there is a whole 'retro' living bunch who replicate the early twentieth century. Medievil is popular. I've even heard of stone age reenactors (saw one of their newsletters--strange!).
So there are lots and lots of reenacting that is done that has nothing to do with 'playing soldier'. Almost any period you can think of has its adherants.
I have always heard that reenacting first started in Sweden back in the 1930's with Viking period stuff.
It's just that here on a Third Reich forum we would naturally be talking about Third Reich reenactment...actually a rather small segment of the whole hobby.

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 22 Aug 2002 15:25

I've been to re-enactment events where people recreated the U.S Civil War, the French and Indian (Seven Years) War, and American Revolutionary War Battles. This sort of "living history" is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. It offers an opportunity for people who truly love history and who are dedicated to authenticity to use their knowledge and research skills to wear a proper uniform, carry a period-style weapon and join with others to experience even just a taste of what the original soldiers endured.

I have a lot of respect for reenactors of that sort, who are faithful to facts and details in the interest of learning and helping to teach others about events of the past. Although many people in the world might wish there were no German soldiers fighting during the late 1930s and into the 1940s, the fact remains that there were. They are a part of history, and if some people want to portray them - again, in my opinion - I think it is a good thing. It reminds us all of a pivotal time in history that others should learn about, in the same way as U.S Civil War reenactors teach modern people about the conditions in the Union or Confederate armies, and the greater conflict that divided them.

Smert-Fashistam
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Post by Smert-Fashistam » 22 Aug 2002 16:44

Siegfried Wilhelm,
I myself had participated in "Ye Olde" village workshop/ re-enactment - I was playing an english minute man with a musket and a white powdered wig armed with a sabre and wearing white tights; all I am saying is that dressing up like a German, especially SS soldier, even for the history's sake, might provoke negative reaction from people or veterans who dont get the "message" - that's all

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kobold
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Post by kobold » 22 Aug 2002 19:19

I used to belong to a small group who re-enacted wild west gunfights (and we had the p*ss taken out of us a lot for that, hehe), and I would have liked to have tried ww2 re-enactment, but no groups near me and I can't travel.
Besides these days I could only play the injured, bandaged wounded guy with a walking stick... :)


Dave

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 22 Aug 2002 20:42

S-F,
I certainly agree, however an awful lot of vets on both sides really like reenactors--on both sides. They also don't mind seeing some of the stuff too. I used to wear an original Bergmutz all over Germany--with the insignia intact. I can't believe all the people I met and stories I got to hear through that damned hat. Some even asked me if I would let them wear it for a minute. More than once, after seeing my cap, an old vet has pulled out a tattered Edelweise patch from his wallet and told me it was his from the war. Only once did I get a dissapproving word--and that was from an Ami! (go figure)
But yes, you're right, there are some who wouldn't accept it usually thinking that that is the only thing or period we do. When they find out that there is a multitude of periods involved it usually defuses the situation.

I got this excerpt from an American reenactment site as a good way to answer the question from the public as to why one is doing German (in this unit's case SS):

>"Why?"

"The SS was a formidable part of the armed forces of Germany, our enemy. I'm here to show you who our troops were fighting against."

>"You know what the Waffen SS did during the war don't you?"

"Of course. The SS were the bad guys and that's why we're here: so you can see the uniforms, equipment, and weapons of one of the forces opposing Truth, Justice, and the American Way. They were very tough in battle and an elite combat force that opposed the US Army in battle and that is what we are here demonstrating for you today."

Notice they don't even try to get into any justifying historical exactitude or any of that...just tell something that will answer the question how they would prefer it heard. Even adding the little 'Superman movie' phrase. I would imagine that would defuse a lot of negetive reaction from the non-appreciative public.
I don't get into this because I rarely like to go to public events whatever the time period.

Smert-Fashistam
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Post by Smert-Fashistam » 22 Aug 2002 21:04

Siegfried Wilhelm,
you certainly got a point, we cant just forfeit this part of WW2 history, just because of some negative content affiliated to it. and as an american you have a right to honor these people, as long as it does not involve the hate/ racist side of SS history. I myself wouldnt mind participating in one of these "battles", but on the allied side. So as long it is purely historical, I personally have no objections to it, although 2 of my relatives were killed by advancing Waffen SS in WW2, but I wouldnt personally dress as an SS soldier.

Regards
AK

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 23 Aug 2002 16:12

S-F,
I don't actually do SS either, although I have worn the uniform once or twice.
But if you have the desire to try one of these, you should. Besides giving you the insight and all that blather, they're just plain fun. Besides that, while I have been to many different kinds of parties in my day, from corporate cocktail to biker beach parties, I have to say no one parties like reanactors!
But in seriousness, you are in a good location to get involved. There is a pretty good contingant of Canadian forces in your neck of the woods. Also the big annual 'national' WWII event is only in Pennsylvania. That one is attended by many veterans. It has a huge market where you can get practically anything you would need for whatever army you choose, and is a good one for seeing much in the way of vehicles and heavy equipment from flammenwerfer to 'goulash cannons' (field kitchens).
The thing to do is contact a unit that interests you (you can find them on the web) and ask. Many better groups will usually loan stuff for you to start out with if you are serious.
And there's your chance to 'shoot' an SS soldier.

Alex F.
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Post by Alex F. » 23 Aug 2002 18:12

You can come "shoot" me and my friends. We don't mind it when "russian" reenactors "shoot" us, as long as we share some beer afterwards.

:)
Living history doesn't mean you have to live the hatred too.

Alex

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 23 Aug 2002 18:19

Quote of Siegfried Wilhelm:

And there's your chance to 'shoot' an SS soldier.


lol :lol: That just might change a few people's minds about SS reenactments.

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 23 Aug 2002 21:19

Alex F.,
It is amazing, as awful as the war was --and it was awful none of us can ever deny--but it's amazing how in some quarters anyway, there can be such a camraderie among the people who remember and/or study that time. I have seen German reenactors surrounded by American and British veterans of that war laughing and having a good time, posing for pictures with the reenactors and the whole thing. I've seen the vets from both sides getting along and laughing together--these are the men who faught, some wounded...the men who watched their buddies get killed by those wearing the uniforms now standing in front of them now. I once spent a memorible afternoon in a German officer's uniform at a living history event talking, and mostly listening, to a woman camp survivor--facinating! Another time an entertaining evening with a Frenchwoman Maquis veteran. If these people can laugh and be that way and for the most part get along seeing each other and the younger people wearing those uniforms, then who are we to say....
There is a fabulous quote written by a Confederate soldier (1860's) wherein he actually predicts and welcomes reenactments and all they entail.
Yes, I am sure there are some bitter folks who would never go near any of this, but it seems to me from reading memiors of other men from other wars, that mostly the old men just don't want to be forgotten. And they don't want what they did (win or lose, right or wrong) forgotten either.

We won't forget!

Smert-Fashistam
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Post by Smert-Fashistam » 23 Aug 2002 22:34

you are right, reenactments are rather historical, not to mention a lot of fun, social/physical activity, so if you ever need some opponents I will be there with model Degterev machine gun and a case of Heinekens for after-battle

Alex F.
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Post by Alex F. » 23 Aug 2002 23:11

Excellent point, Siegfried. I have met many vets who say "that's just how I remember you!" and they're taken back to their youth. They know it's really young Americans dressing as the enemy for the public's education, but they relive a little of their glory days and that can't be a bad thing, can it?

As long as it's done respectfully and without distasteful politics clouding it, all it is is A: playing soldier and/or B: educating the public on how it was "back in the day". Since the actual vets are too old to do it, scholars must take up the mantle.



Smert, I'll glady charge your (blank adapted please) Degterev and then share your Heineken afterwards.

:)
Alex

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Steve Das Reich
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Post by Steve Das Reich » 20 Nov 2003 22:37

Hi All,

As you might gather from my handle, I portray a W SS soldat.

I am an ex service man, infantry, of the British Army.

I am not racist, neo nazi, white supremacist, or any other strange condition of the mind.

So saying all the members of my group have the same apolitical sentiments.

We attend some of the biggest military shows in the world and educate the public on what it was like to be an SS Mann at war, without glorification of the SS or the Third Reich in general.

When we have public battles the Allies, always win.

I find it satisfying when a WWII veteran comes to our static display stand and comments favourablly, with a comment like "you look like the buggers I fought in Normandy or some thing like that.

All of the veterans I have spoken to are happy to see that they are not forgotten and someone has taken the time money and energy to portray their war.

Regards

Steve

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