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

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

Post by Geoff Walden » 12 Oct 2018 18:26

Thanks for posting these photos, Volyn. It's so refreshing to see a MUNA that was not destroyed in 1945, but with bunkers still intact.
"Ordnung ist das halbe Leben" - I live in the other half.
http://www.thirdreichruins.com

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Helmut0815
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Helmut0815 » 12 Oct 2018 20:00

Geoff Walden wrote:
12 Oct 2018 18:26
Thanks for posting these photos, Volyn. It's so refreshing to see a MUNA that was not destroyed in 1945, but with bunkers still intact.
The Heeresmunitionsanstalt Hohenbrunn was used postwar by the Bundeswehr from 1958 until 2007, when it was finally dissolved.

https://www.geschichtsspuren.de/forum/m ... 14256.html

Forced labour in MUna Hohenbrunn: http://www.muenchner-leerstellen.de/archives/306


regards



Helmut

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

Post by wbfamily » 13 Oct 2018 06:04

Volyn wrote:
12 Oct 2018 01:41
wbfamily wrote:
11 Oct 2018 22:30
it was a munitions factory.
Here is a brief video about German women working in a munitions factory.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAAJGu8HhKA

The factory that your Grandparents met in was called Heeresmunitionsanstalt (MUNA) built by the Reich Ministry of Aviation. This was a large scale research facility & experimental plant for the Luftwaffe in Ottobrunn, it worked on projects for the Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt München e. V. Messerschmitt (LFM).

This factory was in fact 1 Km away in Hohenbrunn, and more precisely in the forest South of Ottobrunn in Riemerling. Around 80 bunkers and warehouses have survived to this day. It was under the control of Wehrkreis VII München (Military District VII). https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wehrkreis ... 3%BCnchen)

Heeresmunitionsanstalt Hohenbrunn -
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munitionsanstalt

Heeresmunitionsanstalt Hohenbrunn employed about 4,000 local residents (the vast majority of whom were women) and 700 forced laborers, mainly Russians and Ukrainians, but also Poles. On the day of American liberation, forced laborers killed the hated camp leader and his translator. You can actually visit the area with a guide today.

Here is the Wikipedia article in the section - World War II (1939-1945) - it's in German but you can auto-translate it using the Google browser.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geschichte_Ottobrunns
Muni1.jpegMuni2.jpegMuni3.jpg
This is fascinating info!
Given the factory, can we conclude a specific roll my grandfather had and specify a certain unit?

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

Post by Volyn » 13 Oct 2018 14:55

wbfamily wrote:
13 Oct 2018 06:04
Given the factory, can we conclude a specific roll my grandfather had and specify a certain unit?
I "think" based on the photos that you have provided, there is a strong possibility that he was served with the 54. Signals Battalion - 1939-1943, the unit's name changed to 54. Mountain Signals Battalion - 1943-1945 which was part of the 1st Mountain Division (1. Gebirgs-Division) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Mount ... Wehrmacht).

There is also the possibility that his "squad" or "platoon" would serve alongside the 54. Pioneer Battalion for specific missions.

I do not know why he would have been at Heeresmunitionsanstalt Hohenbrunn where he met your Grandmother - does your family have any information about why he was away from the front at that time? Had he been wounded or do you know what awards he received during his service?
1.alps.jpg
frankreich.40001.jpg
Taganrog Russia 1942.jpg
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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 14 Oct 2018 04:27

Volyn wrote:
13 Oct 2018 14:55
wbfamily wrote:
13 Oct 2018 06:04
Given the factory, can we conclude a specific roll my grandfather had and specify a certain unit?
I "think" based on the photos that you have provided, there is a strong possibility that he was served with the 54. Signals Battalion - 1939-1943, the unit's name changed to 54. Mountain Signals Battalion - 1943-1945 which was part of the 1st Mountain Division (1. Gebirgs-Division) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Mount ... Wehrmacht).

There is also the possibility that his "squad" or "platoon" would serve alongside the 54. Pioneer Battalion for specific missions.

I do not know why he would have been at Heeresmunitionsanstalt Hohenbrunn where he met your Grandmother - does your family have any information about why he was away from the front at that time? Had he been wounded or do you know what awards he received during his service?

1.alps.jpgfrankreich.40001.jpgTaganrog Russia 1942.jpg
I get such sporadic information from my family...I asked about why he'd have been at that facility and was told that he was there for some kind of inspection. That at some point he was an artillery sargent.
I asked about Greece as well. I was told that he was there, but not sure when.
It's all so confusing.

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

Post by Volyn » 14 Oct 2018 05:24

wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 04:27
was told that he was there for some kind of inspection. That at some point he was an artillery sergeant.
If you have any photos of him with anything related to artillery that would be very helpful; if they know of any awards that he might have had it could possibly lead to a paperwork trail.

Here is at least one award your Grandfather was given: The Eastern Front Medal (Medaille „Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42“) - you can see him wearing the ribbon on his uniform in the photo below. He earned this campaign medal for his time fighting in Russia from 1941-1942.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Front_Medal

Given the amount of combat he would have been exposed to I wonder if he would have also earned The General Assault Badge? (see image below). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Assault_Badge
General_Assault_Badge.jpg
If he went through all of the campaigns fought by the 1st Mountain Division from 1939-1945 without getting wounded at least once, it would have been a miracle; so it is also possible that he had The Wound Badge in Black (Verwundetenabzeichen) as well? (see image below). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wound_Badge
150px-VWA_Schwarz_WK1.jpg
Maybe your family might remember seeing something like these badges before?
Walter Beynun (4).jpg
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Last edited by Volyn on 15 Oct 2018 01:08, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by wbfamily » 14 Oct 2018 08:17

As far as awards go, he was forced to surrender them all when he moved to Canada around 1950/52. We never saw them. I know he did recieve some kind of marksman award/badge at some point and was wounded. I just don't know when/ where. Here are a few photos that might offer clues:

He has what i just found to be a pyrotechnician badge on his right arm in this photo.
young soldiers0005.jpg
Here he is with a friend of his- his friend has something on his left pocket that might give a clue.
young soldiers0008.jpg
My grandfather is the 3rd man in this photo. I'm not sure where they are but the back of the photo indicates it's his companie.
frankreich.90004.jpg
Notice the signals patch on this man's sleeve.
frankreich80004.jpg
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Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 14 Oct 2018 15:08

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Co ... _Waffen_SS
Great - with these new photos we can be sure that he was part of the 54. Signals Battalion / 54. Mountain Signals Battalion - 1st Mountain Division.
This is the Battalion Standard of the Nachrichtentruppe (Signal Corps).
800px-Bat_Standarte_Nachrichten_T.jpg
Two of the badges that you posted mean the following:

1. German Signals Operator with Mountain Troops (Green Flash)- I am not sure why your grandfather does not have this patch on his uniform.
frankreich80004.jpg
ww2-german-signals-operator-with-mountain-unit-trade-patch--104121.JPG
2. SA-Sportabzeichen (SA Sports Badge) the named changed to SA-Wehrabzeichen (SA-Defence Badge) in 1939.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA_Sports_Badge
young soldiers0008.jpg
800px-SA_Sportabzeichen_in_Bronze_1.JPG
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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 14 Oct 2018 16:48

Volyn wrote:
14 Oct 2018 15:08
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Co ... _Waffen_SS
Great - with these new photos we can be sure that he was part of the 54. Signals Battalion / 54. Mountain Signals Battalion - 1st Mountain Division.
This is the Battalion Standard of the Nachrichtentruppe (Signal Corps).
800px-Bat_Standarte_Nachrichten_T.jpg

Two of the badges that you posted mean the following:

1. German Signals Operator with Mountain Troops (Green Flash)- I am not sure why your grandfather does not have this patch on his uniform.
frankreich80004.jpgww2-german-signals-operator-with-mountain-unit-trade-patch--104121.JPG

2. SA-Sportabzeichen (SA Sports Badge) the named changed to SA-Wehrabzeichen (SA-Defence Badge) in 1939.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA_Sports_Badge
young soldiers0008.jpg800px-SA_Sportabzeichen_in_Bronze_1.JPG
You are so informative!
Do you know what this item hanging from his pocket might be?
opi id0001.jpg
Or what this says?
taganrog 25.8.42.jpg
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Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 15 Oct 2018 01:03

wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 08:17
He has what i just found to be a pyrotechnician badge on his right arm in this photo.
You were correct about the badge on his right sleeve, it stands for - Feuerwerker in Heer - this means that he was a trained explosive ordinance specialist (pyrotechnician) as well. In the modern military this would be known as Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), but the WW2 German version might be slightly different.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerwerker
Feuerwerker Patch.JPG
Uniform with Feuerwerker Patch.jpg
wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 16:48
Do you know what this item hanging from his pocket might be?
It does not seem to be anything that would be related to the authorized uniform of the Wehrmacht, it must be something that he added himself for some reason, but it has nothing to do with any German awards.
opi id0001.jpg
Based on what we have learned so far his rank is Sergeant (NCO) and he is a trained combat engineer, it appears that he specialized in dealing with explosive ordinance. He seems to "float" between the Signals and Pioneer battalions based on the number of photos that he has of both groups of soldiers.

His explosives training may be the reason he was on a tour of the Heeresmunitionsanstalt Hohenbrunn factory where he met your Grandmother. Perhaps he was on leave and he was given a tour of a local munitions factory as a sort of morale booster, however, it is also possible that he visited the site in some sort of official military capacity. He definitely had a "unique" World War II experience, obviously we have just scratched the surface but at least we can start providing some context to his service; more information will obviously clear up some of these issues.
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Last edited by Volyn on 15 Oct 2018 20:42, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by wbfamily » 15 Oct 2018 19:35

wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 16:48
Volyn wrote:
14 Oct 2018 15:08
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Co ... _Waffen_SS
Great - with these new photos we can be sure that he was part of the 54. Signals Battalion / 54. Mountain Signals Battalion - 1st Mountain Division.
This is the Battalion Standard of the Nachrichtentruppe (Signal Corps).
800px-Bat_Standarte_Nachrichten_T.jpg

Two of the badges that you posted mean the following:

1. German Signals Operator with Mountain Troops (Green Flash)- I am not sure why your grandfather does not have this patch on his uniform.
frankreich80004.jpgww2-german-signals-operator-with-mountain-unit-trade-patch--104121.JPG

2. SA-Sportabzeichen (SA Sports Badge) the named changed to SA-Wehrabzeichen (SA-Defence Badge) in 1939.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA_Sports_Badge
young soldiers0008.jpg800px-SA_Sportabzeichen_in_Bronze_1.JPG
You are so informative!
Do you know what this item hanging from his pocket might be?
opi id0001.jpg

Or what this says?
taganrog 25.8.42.jpg
Very interesting!
His military career was very diverse, especially given that he was in the kriegsmarine as well. I'd love to write a book one day about him, but putting all of these pieces together is quite a feat! I will be visiting my dad soon to look through more of his belongings. Apparently, he has a painting my grandfather did of the pow camp in Cyprus that he was in after his escape from egypt that should give more clues.
He told a story of being held in italy when the Italians quickly switched sides and opened fire on the pows in the camp. He lost some close friends when this happened and was astonished that he survived, given his close proximity to the other men who were shot. My dad, who wasn't born until 1944 told me this story of him, so he doesn't remember details. Maybe you know something of this event?
My father has just recently begun to speak of these days/ stories again without feeling the heartache of living in post war germany. Now he is ready to share his small bit of knowledge of my grandfather's service.
Last edited by wbfamily on 15 Oct 2018 20:05, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Volyn » 15 Oct 2018 20:03

wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 19:35
His military career was very diverse, especially given that he was in the Kriegsmarine as well.

This photo that you provided does not reveal enough for me to identify his ship, etc. What else do you know about his service with the Kriegsmarine? Do you know what city he lived in during this time?
Kriegsmarine.jpg
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 19:35
I'd love to write a book one day about him, but putting all of these pieces together is quite a feat!
Hopefully we will be able to supply you with enough accurate details for it!
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 19:35
He told a story of being held in Italy when the Italians quickly switched sides and opened fire on the pows in the camp. He lost some close friends when this happened and was astonished that he survived, given his close proximity to the other men who were shot. My dad, who wasn't born until 1944, told me this story of him, so he doesn't remember details. Maybe you know something of this event?
This is interesting, are you sure it was Italians shooting Germans? What else do you know about this incident?

The Italians changed sides on 3 SEP 1943 with the Armistice of Cassibile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_of_Cassibile

The Massacre of the Acqui Division (Germans shot Italians), on the Greek island of Cephalonia on 21-26 SEP 1943. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_ ... i_Division

Maybe the Italians learned of this event and exacted a measure of revenge against your Grandfather's companions?
Do you know anything else about his time in Italy, maybe how he got there?
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wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 15 Oct 2018 21:04

Volyn wrote:
15 Oct 2018 20:03
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 19:35
His military career was very diverse, especially given that he was in the Kriegsmarine as well.

This photo that you provided does not reveal enough for me to identify his ship, etc. What else do you know about his service with the Kriegsmarine? Do you know what city he lived in during this time?
Kriegsmarine.jpg
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 19:35
I'd love to write a book one day about him, but putting all of these pieces together is quite a feat!
Hopefully we will be able to supply you with enough accurate details for it!
wbfamily wrote:
15 Oct 2018 19:35
He told a story of being held in Italy when the Italians quickly switched sides and opened fire on the pows in the camp. He lost some close friends when this happened and was astonished that he survived, given his close proximity to the other men who were shot. My dad, who wasn't born until 1944, told me this story of him, so he doesn't remember details. Maybe you know something of this event?
This is interesting, are you sure it was Italians shooting Germans? What else do you know about this incident?

The Italians changed sides on 3 SEP 1943 with the Armistice of Cassibile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_of_Cassibile

The Massacre of the Acqui Division (Germans shot Italians), on the Greek island of Cephalonia on 21-26 SEP 1943. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_ ... i_Division

Maybe the Italians learned of this event and exacted a measure of revenge against your Grandfather's companions?
Do you know anything else about his time in Italy, maybe how he got there?
Just got off the phone with dad and oh, can his info be vague!

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.

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.
- He was definitely in Egypt in 1947 (by dates on postcards), so now I wonder where he was before being sent there. I'd thought it was italy but given this info from my dad and photo dates, it makes me question this.

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

Post by Volyn » 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.

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

Post by Sejanus » 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.

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