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Postcard - German Soldiers Relaxing Near Dugout, 7 Aug 1917 Image Reg. No: MM 117059

Summary:
Postcard depicting a group of eight German soldiers relaxing at the entrance of a dugout, on the edge of what appears to be a battlefield.

The postcard is inscribed with the date 7 August 1917. Its provenance is unknown. The writer, a German soldier on the battlefield, addresses his brother-in-law, who is also a German soldier, and asks him about to meet each other. He writes in an old-fashioned and simple style.

The card reads: 'Dear brother-in-law! I am sending you a picture of mine as a memory. Already wrote you a card, did you receive it? You can also send me a picture of yours, if you've got one. Would like to visit you once, so write where about you are lying. Where is your Bn. [battalion]? Is your Bn. connected with ours or are you in the middle or at the far right? Write therefore soon reply. [i.e. Write back soon.] Yours sincerely ... [name is missing]'
Description:
Black and white photographic print - now sepia appearance. Printed smaller than photographic paper, leaving a white border that is longer at one end, which has been inscribed (now illegible). Printed with lines indicative of postcard, and with two postal stamps.
Statement Of Significance:
One of a group of photographs and postcards that document the experience of German soldiers during World War I. Although the group has no provenance, the images show a human side to soldiers of the Central Powers. Pictures by or of World War I German soldiers are relatively rare in Australian museums. These are particularly significant as they were apparently taken by German soldiers, showing them engaged in everyday activities.

The images chronicle German soldiers? wartime experience, from serving with Armeegruppe Schaffer in Romania up until the Romanian surrender in 1917. The group includes an image of a war-damaged French church/cathedral, probably taken after the Germans were moved from the Eastern to the Western front. Of particular interest is the image of celebrating German troops in Romania - documenting a victory that was to be short-lived for the Germans.

Further research - including translation of the German hand-written texts - will shed more light on the significance of these photographs and postcards.
Description Of Content:
Goup of eight German soldiers standing at entrance to dugout beneath grassy slope - its roof reinforced with logs. Some of the soldiers are smoking and there is a X or a cross inscribed under the moustachioed soldier in the middle of the photo. Very faint handwriting on the side of the photo.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr David Crotty - Museum Victoria Collections, Research & Exhibitions, 2011
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 89 mm (Height), 138 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: 139 x 89

More information

Tagged with: world war i 1914-1918, soldiers
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Service
Tertiary Classification: recreation & tourism
Inscriptions: On back: [stamped in the top right corner 'P. Üb. H. St N 974 / Geprüft']
'Feldpost / An Musk. / Heinrich Steinhauer / Res. Inf. Rgt. - 1. / 11. Komp.'
[stamped in the bottom right half 'Briefstempel [translation: stamp] / 1. Masch. Gew. Komp. Res. Inf. Regt. 3 [translation: 1st Machine Gun Company 3rd Infantry Regiment (Reserve)]'

'Im Feld 7.8.17 /
Lieber Schwager! /
Sende dir hier ein Bild von mir zum /
Andenken. Habe dir schon eine Karte ge- /
schrieben, hast du sie erhalten? Kannst /
mir auch ein Bild von dir schicken /
wenn du eins hast. Möchte dich mal /
besuchen, schreibe mir daher wo du unge- /
fähr liegst. Wo liegt dein Batl. [Bataillion]? Hat dein Batl. /
Anschluß an uns oder bist du in der Mitte /
oder ganz rechts? Schreibe also bald Bescheid.'

Rest of the letter continues on the front side of the photo with a very faint handwriting 'Mit herzl. [herzlichem] Gruß dein' - rest is illegible.

This roughly translates as:

Dear Brother-in-law,
I'm sending you a picture of myself in memory. I have sent you a card already. Have you received it? Can you send me a picture of yourself if you've got one? I would like to visit you. Write to me where you are. Where is your battalion? Do you have contact with us or are you in the middle or far right? [meaning unknown] Write soon with details.' The letter concludes 'With heartfelt greetings your...'
Format: Postcard: Black & White; 5½ in. x 3½ in.
Place & Date Depicted: Europe, 7 Aug 1917
Other Association (See Comments): Germany

Origin of soldiers depicted.

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