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Hi all, 

I have been doing some research and came across a small mystery. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts?

This is from the website of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge:

Georg Ruhstrat ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Kleinmachnow-Waldfriedhof. Endgrablage: Grab 158
• Nachname: Ruhstrat
• Vorname: Georg
• Dienstgrad: Volkssturmmann
• Geburtsdatum: 25.03.1888
• Geburtsort: Oldenburg
• Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 24.05.1945
• Todes-/Vermisstenort: nicht verzeichnet

Here's the mystery. Georg Ernst Conrad Ruhstrat, born 25.3.1888 in Oldenburg, wasn't just some 57 year old guy called up to serve in the Volkssturm.  Ruhstrat served as an officer in Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 58 in World War I and left the Reichswehr in 1926/27 as a Hauptmann.  He was a recipient of the Prussian House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords and the Oldenburg House and Merit Order with Swords, among other decorations.  He was still listed as a Hptm.a.D. in the 1943 Berlin Adreßbuch.  

Any thoughts as to why a well-decorated retired regular officer would end up as a mere Volkssturmmann?  Maybe he ran afoul of the Nazis and lost his privileges as an officer?

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Hello Dave.

You mention a possible reason why he did not receive a higher rank.

I can think of other. He may not have adequate I.D. on him when he died. Noting the date of death, he may have been stripped of any rank insignia. Having been artillery in WW I was considered ineligible to serve with Volkssturm as officer grade. He may have been in transit/awaiting assignment when overtaken by events.

Like so many others a sad ending but he appears to have found a decent final resting place.

Bernhard H. Holst

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