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This excite anyone ?

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The hardest men in the Red troubles-

I wonder how many Spartakists he did away with.

The ultimate Freikorps piece!

That should be in the Federal Museum.

You don't collect shabby things do you?

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I find it a wee bit weird the photo is all cracked and looks multiple folded but the paper to which it's stuck is'nt.. was it stuck on the paper already in that condition all those years ago? Seems unlikley.

Maybe in the hand the paper is also folded but not apparent on the photo, don't know, just an observation that would make me ask questions, but do bear in mind I'm paranoid.


edit to ask if the ink stamps continue on to the photo? I'm sure it's one of the first things you would look at anyways.

Edited by Colin Davie
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Hi Colin,

I looked into that with a very critical eye indeed.

my conclusions...

The Pic has been on there for ever, when it falls off you can see the shape of the pic is embedded into the paper. The dirt and impression fits exactly.

As you can see, the pic is not even cut straight, pretty crooked... all visible on the traces on the pass.

Also interesting is the fact that the photo is bent, folded... but the pass not.

I think if someone had wanted to add a photo to replace a missing one, any visit to a German flea market will get you 5-10 better examples.

I think in the Turmoil in Berlin, units disbanded etc... He probably just took the one photo he still had with him.



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We have to bear in mind photos were expensive luxuries back then too, not throw-away items like to-day. I've had HJ passes with folded pics but no folds on the paper backing, just not that level of damage.

Nice item, your collection is always one I like to view the posts.


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Can you ID the ribbons on the uniform? It is also the first photo of a Weimar Aviation specialist too!


The Treaty of Versailles, signed during the summer of 1919 expressly forbid the post-war German armed forces from having -any- military aircraft.

The fellow on the right of the photo with the aviation looking arm patch is wearing what looks like a Baltic cross. Both fellows are wearing two cockades on their caps, suggesting the photo is from the Freikorp era prior to the summer of 1919 when the terms of the treaty kicked in. Afterwards for a few years Allied "Commission" officers started roamed Germany looking for weapons, poison gas production centers and stockpiles, and so on expressly forbidden by the treaty.

If the photo were from the post 1919 "Provisional Reichswehr" or "Weimar" era, the cap insignia would be limited to one cockade, then later a single cockade with a wreath. There would also be other uniform differences.

With regards to photos, Imperial era Soldbuchs and Wehrpass documents were limited to descriptions and no photos. Some other documents did have them.

The photo on the last document Chris posted is not typical. During the war, POW's sent to England were sometimes required to exchange their uniforms for clothing provided by the camps. Between the time men went off to war, and returned, some of them appeared to age considerably from what they went through (see G.A. Ebelshauers photos in "The Passage"of his before and afterwards photos). He retuned home from two years in a English POW camp, looking 30 years older than he was. He also came home wearing civilian clothing that he was given as part of his preparation for repatriation to Germany. After the war, there were more than a few families that had "surplus clothing" because of wartime casualty rates. Red cross and other donations would almost certainly provide new clothing (not necessarily a military uniform) to someone that wore out what he had on when captured, or was otherwise unwearable for other reasons.

A POW subjected to search and interrogation following his capture could have his original documents taken from him for intell purposes. Prior to repatriation, a German POW would be given some form of identity documents. Whereas Germans might rely on a written description, International Red Cross, and Allied officers might want more...such as a photo.


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Hi Les,

the guy in the Ausweiss itself was not a POW, he worked in a department that from what I can see in his papers had an Intel function, debriefing Russian prisonners that were being repatriated.... no easy task in 1919 Russia.

But it does go to show that standardised photos on these early passes did not exist... it was whatever the buy brought along to have stuck on.



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  • 10 months later...

It's a Russian Poplavko-Jeffery armoured car captured by the Germans. They had captured several of them, but only one seems to have been used bei the Freikorps in early 1919. - So, that's the one. It was active in the "Zeitungsviertel" in Berlin in January 1919, thereafter, its trail get's lost.

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wait until Bob Lempke sees this one. :jumping:

Just noticed this! I gather that Rackelmann is the guy on the right in the photo of post # 3. Note that the other guy, on the left, is wearing the "Gallipoli Star". (I must crow about a recent coup; I just found material on a Leutnant who both fought in my father's volunteer company at Gallipoli and later was in my father's flamethrower regiment, and there is a fair chance that my father helped train him in FW technology, based on unit assignments.)

I'm missing something here, have not easily read all of the Suetterlin on the original document. I gather that he went into a Freikorps aviation unit? Someone mentioned the fighting in the newspaper district in Berlin in January 1919, where my father fought. Anything that he was there, besides the evidence of the photo with the armored car?

Chris, have you ever found material on the Potsdam Regiment Freikorps?

Bob Lembke

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  • 2 weeks later...

That Ausweis is an exceptional Freikorps find. They are commonly known as "Noske" Ausweise, as they were issued to volunteer units (FK) in the early days of the Revolution by the new Weimar Defense Ministry, of which Noske was head. While Noske did what he could to stem the rising tide of violence from the left, he was dubbed the "bloodhound" by many of his Social Democratic colleagues because of his use of right-wing and often brutal Freikorps units to defeat the Revolution. I had one of those Ausweise in my collection at some point and paid dearly for it. It looks to me that at the time the Ausweis was issued Rackelmann was a member of Garde Inf. Reg. 64. Bob, have you checked von Salomon's book "das Buch von deutschen Freikorps" for info on the Potsdam Regiment? I looked in my copy and there is a section there that deals with the participation of the Potsdam Freikorps (Major Stephani) in fighting in Berlin in January of 1919. I believe there is also info there on the formation of that freikorps.


Edited by Bds Bill
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  • 3 weeks later...

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