Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 16 Oct 2018 01:47

Volyn wrote:
16 Oct 2018 00:05
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 21:04
I was mistaken- he was not in the kreigsmarine. He was a merchant marine before the war, living in Berlin. He would sail from hamburg to the U.S. and back.
This probably gives a partial explanation as to how he became a trained pyrotechnic in the Heer. He probably acquired some measure of "engineering" aptitude and maturity from that experience, especially compared to his peers.

We know his work ethic would have been shaped during his teenage years spent serving in RAD. It makes sense that someone with his background could wind up as a trained military pyrotechnic - he probably had the mental and physical aptitude to be trained to do almost anything in the Wehrmacht. The military ordinance profession requires a level of skill sets that would not be common for that era and combined with his Mountaineering abilities he really was quite a soldier. It is no wonder he survived the ordeals that he went through from 1939-1948.

It is also interesting that he was not inducted directly into the Kreigsmarine since he was already a Merchant Marine! How ironic that he ended up in the Heer and fought as a member of the 1st Mountain Division; that is about as physically different and diverse as it can get - your book will be very interesting.
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 21:04
It is unknown where he was in Italy but my dad was very adamant that the event occurred in 1943 when the Italians switched sides. This was a British run camp.

his first date of capture was not in 1945 as I had originally thought.
I can look into this further.
I'm so saddened that he had to surrender all of his awards and really anything at all having to do with his service to germany when he emigrated to canada. That would tell us so much more! I'm surprised he was able to keep these photos. My guess is that they were smuggled in by my grandmother- she and my father arrived after he had been there for about a year.

Is it common to not be able to find records on an entire family during this time period? I can't even find birth or marriage records for him, my dad or my grandmother. He appears on American crew lists before the war and immigration records from Canada to the U.S. but nothing from Germany.

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 16 Oct 2018 01:49

Sejanus wrote:
16 Oct 2018 00:20
wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 16:48

Do you know what this item hanging from his pocket might be?
Image
Looks like a whistle lanyard.
I've been pulling my hair out for a whistle lanyard?! Hahaha, thank you!

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Waleed Y. Majeed
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Waleed Y. Majeed » 16 Oct 2018 05:48

If not identified yet, I think the first picture of what looks like a castle is Schloss Elmau.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Elmau

waleed

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 16 Oct 2018 21:42

Waleed Y. Majeed wrote:
16 Oct 2018 05:48
If not identified yet, I think the first picture of what looks like a castle is Schloss Elmau.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Elmau

waleed
Thank you! Maybe I will book a trip there soon- it seems appropriate!

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 16 Oct 2018 22:39

wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 21:04
It is unknown where he was in Italy but my dad was very adamant that the event occurred in 1943 when the Italians switched sides. This was a British run camp.

A few thoughts..
- Maybe he was guarding a pow camp and not being held prisoner. Maybe my dad is confused?
- Being that he was in this pow holding camp in Italy, his first date of capture was not in 1945 as I had originally thought.
- I know that he was not a prisoner sometime in 1944 because the photo of him with his award for service on the eastern front was taken in 1944. This I am certain by the date on the back, in his handwriting.
I did some digging and I even consulted an expert who would know about this, so I have written his comment below.
War crimes committed by the Allies on the soldiers of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS are well documented, enumerated and described. So the cases involving the killing of German prisoners of war, especially the killing of prisoners by Italians in British camps, would somehow be recorded, made public and discussed. Such cases are unfortunately not, and perhaps thank God, recorded.

The other thing is, that I cannot find even one British camp with German prisoners in Italy in 1943. In the West Bank and Egypt - yes, a lot. After all, it was a difficult matter since Italy declared war on Germany on October 13, 1943.
I never heard of Italians shooting German POWs either, but that does not mean it has not happened. So there may an explanation, but we will need more details because it seems that the story, as given, has some possible errors. In this case, if you can get more details that might help resolve the confusion.

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 16 Oct 2018 22:54

Volyn wrote:
16 Oct 2018 22:39
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 21:04
It is unknown where he was in Italy but my dad was very adamant that the event occurred in 1943 when the Italians switched sides. This was a British run camp.

A few thoughts..
- Maybe he was guarding a pow camp and not being held prisoner. Maybe my dad is confused?
- Being that he was in this pow holding camp in Italy, his first date of capture was not in 1945 as I had originally thought.
- I know that he was not a prisoner sometime in 1944 because the photo of him with his award for service on the eastern front was taken in 1944. This I am certain by the date on the back, in his handwriting.
I did some digging and I even consulted an expert who would know about this, so I have written his comment below.
War crimes committed by the Allies on the soldiers of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS are well documented, enumerated and described. So the cases involving the killing of German prisoners of war, especially the killing of prisoners by Italians in British camps, would somehow be recorded, made public and discussed. Such cases are unfortunately not, and perhaps thank God, recorded.

The other thing is, that I cannot find even one British camp with German prisoners in Italy in 1943. In the West Bank and Egypt - yes, a lot. After all, it was a difficult matter since Italy declared war on Germany on October 13, 1943.
I never heard of Italians shooting German POWs either, but that does not mean it has not happened. So there may an explanation, but we will need more details because it seems that the story, as given, has some possible errors. In this case, if you can get more details that might help resolve the confusion.
The whole "prisoner" story doesn't add up to me either. Maybe it wasn't in italy, but I will have to see if I can find out more.

Maybe it was just a camp and he wasn't a prisoner at all. I could see how a story can become "fuzzy" after so much time. I'm also curious how old my father was when he was told this story. Maybe the roles were flipped as a man might do in his position when telling his young son his war stories. He certainly wouldn't tell him if he was the man behind the gun.

On another note...I thought I had uploaded this photo but realized I didn't. Where could this have been taken?
soldiers.jpg
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Sejanus
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Sejanus » 17 Oct 2018 00:08

Waleed Y. Majeed wrote:
16 Oct 2018 05:48
If not identified yet, I think the first picture of what looks like a castle is Schloss Elmau.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Elmau

waleed
I think you are spot on. Thanks much for the identification! I checked photos of barracks and headquarters buildings on line (including in that part of Germany) and did not turn anything up and so have been wondering where this was. Great job.

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 17 Oct 2018 14:12

This photo shows a soldier from the French Troupes coloniales «Force noire». His epaulet shows the insignia for the 42e demi-brigade de mitrailleurs coloniaux (42e DBMC) which was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel De Pinsun. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/42e_demi- ... _coloniaux

He was captured after the Battle of Sedan (Bataille de Monthermé) on May 15, 1940 which your grandfather's division was fighting in; he must have been present when this brigade surrendered after the battle.

I opened a new topic so we can learn more about the POW and his unit separately. viewtopic.php?f=112&t=238056

I doubt that the Nazis treated these prisoners well!
French-Senegalese POW - 42e demi-brigade de mitrailleurs coloniaux - 1940.jpg
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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 17 Oct 2018 14:58

Here are more men that i'm assuming are from his unit. They were in the same photo grouping that my grandfather had.
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Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 17 Oct 2018 23:59

wbfamily wrote:
16 Oct 2018 22:54
On another note...I thought I had uploaded this photo but realized I didn't. Where could this have been taken?
Ożenna - Poland - 7 SEP 1939.jpg
This is the border of Ożenna (in Poland) and Nižná Polianka (in Slovakia) and they are connected by a road that goes through the Beskid nad Ożenna Pass - Your grandfather entered into Poland here, he seems to be assigned to Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 98 at the time (or he is "floating" between units).

This is another photo of the same location dated 7 September 1939, click the link to follow - https://fotopolska.eu/1206392,foto.html?o=b285014 The photo on the website and your grandfather's photo were taken on the exact same day.
Exactly the same photo signed " Grenzübertitt nach Polen " is included in the publication "Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 98 im polnischen Feldzug". In the text itself, the date of 07.09 was written:
"Unter klingendem Spiel der Rgt.-Musik überschritt das GJR 98 am 7.9. nachmittags beim Zollhaus Ozenna die polnische Grenze".

Which is more or less that in the afternoon of 7 September, accompanied by the regimental orchestra, GJR 98 crossed the Polish border near the "Ożenna customs post".

On the other hand, in the elaboration on the activities of II./GJR 100 (" Die Sturmfahrt unserer Gebirgsjäger durch Polen, Gefechts- und Erlebnisbericht des II. Geb.-Jäg.-Rgt- 100 ") a picture taken clearly in the same place (visible the same two boards and a pillar between them), signed " Der Spitzenzug des Bataillons überschreitet bei Niz Polanka die polnische Grenze ", meaning the leading platoon of the regiment crosses the Polish border near "Niz Polanki". - credit to my friends in Poland.
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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 18 Oct 2018 03:43

Volyn wrote:
17 Oct 2018 23:59
wbfamily wrote:
16 Oct 2018 22:54
On another note...I thought I had uploaded this photo but realized I didn't. Where could this have been taken?
Ożenna - Poland - 7 SEP 1939.jpg

This is the border of Ożenna (in Poland) and Nižná Polianka (in Slovakia) and they are connected by a road that goes through the Beskid nad Ożenna Pass - Your grandfather entered into Poland here, he seems to be assigned to Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 98 at the time (or he is "floating" between units).

This is another photo of the same location dated 7 September 1939, click the link to follow - https://fotopolska.eu/1206392,foto.html?o=b285014 The photo on the website and your grandfather's photo were taken on the exact same day.
Exactly the same photo signed " Grenzübertitt nach Polen " is included in the publication "Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 98 im polnischen Feldzug". In the text itself, the date of 07.09 was written:
"Unter klingendem Spiel der Rgt.-Musik überschritt das GJR 98 am 7.9. nachmittags beim Zollhaus Ozenna die polnische Grenze".

Which is more or less that in the afternoon of 7 September, accompanied by the regimental orchestra, GJR 98 crossed the Polish border near the "Ożenna customs post".

On the other hand, in the elaboration on the activities of II./GJR 100 (" Die Sturmfahrt unserer Gebirgsjäger durch Polen, Gefechts- und Erlebnisbericht des II. Geb.-Jäg.-Rgt- 100 ") a picture taken clearly in the same place (visible the same two boards and a pillar between them), signed " Der Spitzenzug des Bataillons überschreitet bei Niz Polanka die polnische Grenze ", meaning the leading platoon of the regiment crosses the Polish border near "Niz Polanki". - credit to my friends in Poland.
Bravo!!
So does this mean that he was not in the 54 mountain Signals/pioneer battalions, but in the 98 Gebirsjäger regiment? Or do you believe he floated to and from those?

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 18 Oct 2018 13:42

wbfamily wrote:
18 Oct 2018 03:43
So does this mean that he was not in the 54 mountain Signals/pioneer battalions, but in the 98 Gebirsjäger regiment? Or do you believe he floated to and from those?
After reviewing the photos and his badges (or the lack of badges), I "think" he may been parceled out to different battalions as needed. It appears that when he went into Poland in 1939 he was part of GJR 98, but during the Battle of France in 1940 he was attached to 54. Pioneer Bn and he was moved again during the Soviet campaigns from 1941-1942 to 54. Signals Bn.

We can also see from some other photos that he was training with Signals personnel in the mountains as well, but he does not wear the Signal Corps Patch so he is not a communications guy. However, he does have the Gebirgsjäger Edelweiss patch on his uniform in one of the photos (the same one that his friend is wearing the SA badge).

Since he was a Feuerwerker he was probably "on-call" at various times to move again if needed. I am sure someone on this Forum knows more about how personnel like him were allocated within a Division and what they did during the war. I created a new thread for that question, hopefully it will help.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=238076

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Hohlladung
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Hohlladung » 18 Oct 2018 20:37

Hi wbfamily
The photo in the snow is not from the Caucasus region.
The backside reads:
"Blick vom Marzellkamm."
It's a glacier in Tyrol.
Best Regards
Armin
"Ihr verfluchten Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?" Friedrich, II. in der Schlacht von Kolin am 18.Juni 1757 zu seinen zurückgehenden Grenadieren.

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 18 Oct 2018 21:06

Hohlladung wrote:
18 Oct 2018 20:37
Hi wbfamily
The photo in the snow is not from the Caucasus region.
The backside reads:
"Blick vom Marzellkamm."
It's a glacier in Tyrol.
Best Regards
Armin
Thank you for the translation! However, the photo in the snow does not have anything written on the back. This is the front of the picture that has the inscription on the back (yet I don't see a glacier so it's a bit confusing):
opi mountain.front and back0001.jpg
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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 18 Oct 2018 21:29

I am attaching more photos that were in the same grouping as the photo in the snow. Maybe they will help to clarify where this is for sure.
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