Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Renate’s album


I picked up a small photo album at a militaria show or an auction several years ago that was created in the late 1930s by a young German woman named Renate Schmidt.

The album contains 40 black-and-white 3½” x 2¼” snapshots.

My best guess is that Renate is the young woman on the right in this photo. The inscription on the back indicates it was taken at some kind of family celebration in Duisburg, Germany, in 1938. The photos on the table are probably of brothers or husbands serving in the Wehrmacht. Everyone looks happy and prosperous because the war is still a year or so in the future and British and American bombs haven’t begun raining down on their homes.

(Duisburg is in the Lowland Rhine area at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers and near the outskirts of the Bergisches Land. The city spreads along both sides of these rivers.)

westwallThe only other photo among the 40 snapshots with a military connection is this shot of the Westwall, or Siegfried Line as the Allies called it, which stretched more than 390 miles along the western border of Germany from near the North Sea to Switzerland. It ran about 25 miles west of Duisburg and this photo shows an array of “dragon’s teeth” – concrete tank barriers.pig of renate

This photo has an illegible (to me) German cursive notation on the back. I appealed to a friend whose mother was Eva Braun’s seamstress for a translation. She found some of it puzzling too, but we think it involved a visit to the Krausener farm near Koblenz in July, 1936.

renateguyThis guy may be Renate’s boyfriend or husband. The round pin on his left lapel is the right size and shape to be a Nazi Party membership pin.

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