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Korvettenkapit?n Werner Schoenfeld in Deutsch Ostafrika (German East Africa)

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I'm currently working on creating a biography of Werner Schoenfeld, who played an important role in WW1 in German East Africa. There, he most of the time was involved in artillery.

He joined the war as a retired naval officer and planter, in 1917 he surrendered with most of the Western Forces (with those he was the leader of the eastern column) at Rovuma river. He later was interred in Sidi Bishr POW camp in Egypt.

I'm interested in every information you might have on him, texts and pictures.

I already worked through Boell's "Operationen in Ost-Afrika".

Please include source (literature, Internet links etc.)



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Although promoted rapidly in the turn of the century tiny German navy, Werner Sch?nfeld seems otherwise to have had a singularly lackluster career judged by lack of decorations.

Born 13.2.73, Crew 1890. Final rank before pre-war retirement KorvKapt zS on 30.3.08. Upon return from captivity, promoted FregKapt zS aD 5.11.19 with seniority 28.5.18.

He was member # 3534 of the Marine-Offiziere-Verband, which is now the Marine-Offizier-Hilfe e.V.-- perhaps they can provide a death date and place. From the interwar directories, I lose him after 1939.

1928 living in Berlin W30 at Bayreutherstra?e 12-- no occupation listed

1931 "family at Livl?nderstra?e 4, Berlin-Wilmersdorf" but he was at the Goti Farm, Macequeta, Portugese East Africa

1935, 1937, and 1939 listed as owner of the "Bergfrieden" plantation in Moshi, Tanganyika. From the May 1939 Directory:

Which means he would have been interned as an enemy alien in 1939 and lost all his property in BOTH World Wars. :(

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Thanks. That was fast!

Anyway, you forgot to mention sources. Could you please add them? Would be great. :D I always try to double-check any addition to the biography. Not that I don't trust you!

I wondered about the lack of decorations as well. Just two before WW1 started and only 1 or 2 during it... Considering his influence on the war...

I've send a research request to MOH, let's see what happens.

Any closer info on his capitvity (date of release)? Haven't had time to call the Red Cross yet.

FYI: As far as I know, he sold "Bergfrieden", or least he tried to... He wanted to move back to Germany anyway because his wife was sick. And he later led the "Kolonialreferat" in German War-Navy Command.


Edited by Drago
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These VERY useful volumes can be found at Helmut Weitze in Hamburg and I'm sure will often turn up on German book dealers lists.

"Handbuch des Marine-Offiziere-Verbandes (Anschriftenliste)" editions 1928 and 1931 in those years printed by Selbstverlag des M.O.V., Berlin

"Marine-Offiziere-Verband Anschriftenliste" 1935 and 1937 Verlag von Hubert & Co, G?ttingen

name change to

"Marine-Offizier-Hilfe Anschriftenliste" 1939 same publisher:

I hadn't thought to look for him in Lohmann-Hildebrand. At 66 and in Tanzania, I figured he'd ended up at the Kilimanjaro detention camp. It seems ironic that he was recalled from retirement in BOTH World Wars!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just got Lohmann-Hildebrand from my local library (all three volumes).

I tripple-checked volume 3 where he should be mentioned. But I didn't find him anywhere!

I know for a fact that he was reactivated for WW2.

Perhaps my copy is incomplete. Could anyone check for me, please!

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Everyone isn't mentioned in L-H. As I understand it, only unit commanders and those mentioned in the first 2 volumes as on some staff or other were included. If he held down a desk someplace, no mention. It is the ONLY source we have foir a huge number of reactivated imperial officers, but not all inclusive.
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