A postcard from Hitler
Toothache and poor spelling.
1916 – A postcard from Adolf Hitler
The Munich roadshow revealed what at first sight appears to be just one of many postcards sent by soldiers in the field. The postcard, ‘Greetings from Nuremberg’, describes the sender’s recent trip to the dentist and his desire to go back to the front line. That soldier was Adolf Hitler, writing to his comrade Karl Lanzhammer in December 1916.
Bin nun in München beim Ersatz Btl. Stehe zur Zeit in zahnärztlicher Behandlung. Melde mich übrigens soffort freiwillig ins Feld.
Hrzl. Grüße A. Hitler”
Date stamp: München 31, 19. Dez. 16, V 8-9 a
Postmark: K.B. 2. Inf. Rgt., Ers. Btl., 4. Ers. Komp.
Consignee: Karl Lanzhammer Radfahrer b. Rgt. Stab, VI Bayr. Res. I. Division, 16 Bayr. Res. I. Rgt., Rgt. Stab
Sender: Gefr. Adolf Hitler I. Ersatz Btl. II. I. Rgt., IV Ersatzkomp. München
My father’s bible saved his life
In the never-ending trench warfare in the north-east of France Kurt Geiler was sleeping as usual with his Bible beneath his head. A direct hit destroyed his dug-out almost completely, dead and wounded were everywhere. Geiler was not injured and could get out of the rubble. Later he found his Bible again and to his astonishment there was a large piece of shell shrapnel wedged inside. Without the Bible, this would have smashed his head. Since that time, this Bible has been an important memento of the family.
A prisoner of war finds the love of his life
The participation of Irishmen in WW1 was politically sensitive and as a result many of their stories have never been told. That was one reason why the Dublin roadshow was the best attended in Europe so far.
More than 600 people turned up, some queuing for hours, to share their memorabilia and stories. They include a marvellous wartime love story, told by Joseph Heapes’ daughter-in-law, Máire, of how Joseph found the love of his life, Mary, while a prisoner of war in Germany.
The crucifix in a bottle
The eye-witness account of a 100 year old man
Slovenian centenarian Slavko Zupan is one participant able to share his direct memories of the war. His enthusiasm for the project was such that he visited the roadshow in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, twice. To illustrate his childhood recollections Slavko brought along a bottle containing a richly decorated wooden crucifix. It was made by a Russian prisoner of war in Slovenia. Existing on meagre rations, prisoners crafted such objects to barter for food or cigarettes. The crucifix has been in Slavko’s family since 1916.
Saved after two days of agony
In Preston, UK, John Stafford’s first hand account of the Battle of the Somme was brought along by his daughter Joan Almond, 85.
The typed manuscript documents Stafford’s experiences and illustrates how he coped with post traumatic stress disorder, decades before the condition was recognised. Stafford lay horribly injured for two days until Allied troops found him and carried him across ‘Death Valley’ to medical help. Joan said: “I think the war must have haunted him a lot, especially when you read his account. My mother used to encourage him to write down his experiences and this seemed to have a calming influence.”