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EK Award to Hans Boehm, German Spy, WWI


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Hi all,

I am assisting someone who is researching the Great War German spy Hans Boehm; he writes:

Hans Boehm was a German spy who had a very interesting career. I came across him in researching Casement's Irish Brigade. Boehm was involved with the running of the Irish Brigade, but (probably) only so that the Germans could get an introduction to American Irish prepared to help Germany

The FBI have hundreds of pages on him. They intercepted a letter from his (American) wife living in Germany to her mother in Oregon, in which she says that on 1 Nov 1915 "Today he received the Iron Cross. We are so happy. Now all three brothers have this highly prized decoration"

His full name is Hans Walther Luigi Boehm: Born 25 January 1873 at Altkirch in Alsace.

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to check this award of Iron Cross, and if so to see what grade?

We have located a photo of him wearing the award, which we are confident is the Prussian EKI:

iron-cross.jpg

If anyone can confirm this is the EKI and where we might look to find out details of when and how he received this award, any ideas, suggestions, etc. would be most welcome. What sort of documentation/paper trail would accompany an award like this? I also want to confirm he would have been awarded the EKII before being awarded the EKI.

If you have further questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks!

-Daniel

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I think a lot more detail would be needed... accounting for his movements throughout the war.

I would assume he served in the regular army, got his EKs there, then moved on to funny stuff.

He would have had an EK2 as well.

To say anything we would need his full wartime details. It is possible he started the war in the army then moved on to spying.

Best

Chris

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Chris, all...

Sorry for the lag in replying....life got in the way. :)

Here is some information on the life of Hans and his military career...a good place to start I hope:

http://www.irishbrigade.eu/other-men/germans/boehm/boehm.html

If you need more info or need details, please let me know and I will ask my pal and see if he has the answers you seek.

Thanks again,

Daniel

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Chris, all...

Sorry for the lag in replying....life got in the way. :)

Here is some information on the life of Hans and his military career...a good place to start I hope:

http://www.irishbrigade.eu/other-men/germans/boehm/boehm.html

If you need more info or need details, please let me know and I will ask my pal and see if he has the answers you seek.

Thanks again,

Daniel

"If anyone can confirm this is the EKI and where we might look to find out details of when and how he received this award, any ideas, suggestions, etc. would be most welcome. What sort of documentation/paper trail would accompany an award like this? I also want to confirm he would have been awarded the EKII before being awarded the EKI. "

Hello Daniel;

Great link and story on an interesting player in the spy game during WWI. I enjoyed learning about his activities and what he was attempting to do.

To address your initial question again....Yes, this is the EK1. There is no doubt. From what I can understand from the synopsis/chronology of Hans Boehm, he earned his EK1 for his spy related efforts. His military service was long finished before WWI. No doubt the Imp. German government found his service valuable (and dangerous) and rewarded him with it (perhaps after the war). The EK2 is implied with the awarding of the EK1. In the formal, civilian photo that shows him wearing the EK1 and the Spanish award (Order of Military Merit? -Breast Star) he doesn't bother with the lesser EK2 award.

The best way to learn when he earned an award would be to have the award document for the said award. They are typically dated. As I mentioned earlier, it is my opinion, based on the chronology that I read, that he earned he EK1 (and EK2) after the war for his (spy) services on behalf of Germany. Likely the Spanish award was also awarded after the war for the same reasons.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Interesting thread. Daniel, I thought you might like to see this: a stone proof of the Dresden artist Leonhard Fanto's portrait of Sir Roger Casement. The photographic portrait on which it is based was shot in Dresden in August 1915, when Casement was working with Boehm, and later used to illustrate a 1917 book Casement in Deutschland. Fanto (1874-1958), who was from Austria, was known for his woodblock work but was also a theatre designer and head of the city's artistic commission. This was done in 1915 and later presented with a signed dedication by Fanto to Alfred - also known as Gustav - Rücker, General Manager of the famous Europa-Hof hotel in the 1920s who formed a noted collection of autographed pictures of notable people in the 1920s and 1930s. The signature on the bottom is interesting as it bears similarities to Casement's handwriting style. Did Casement sign this stone proof for Fanto using the Gaelic form of his name: Easmainn, in a mood of Irish nationalism as he and Boehm tried to form The Irish Brigade? Is that his signature in Irish? It certainly doesn't look Germanic.

Edited by PKeating
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Shortly after the photographic portrait was shot, possibly by Fanto in his Dresden studio, Casement went to Munich as the website to which you linked us states:

1915 Aug 10. Boehm recommends various NCO appointments to Casement. These appear to be first Official appointments

Keogh - Colour Sergeant

Quinlisk - QMS ("this while fielding his ambition, eliminates him as much as possible")

Dowling - Sergeant

O'Toole - Sergeant

Bailey - Sergeant

The collection had been accumulated in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s by Rücker, a Sudeten German from Czechoslovakia who was Director of Dresden’s prestigious Europa-Hof hotel at the height of the Weimar era, when Dresden was a swinging place. Casement had apparently stayed there a couple of times during his visits to the city in 1915 and 1916 and Professor Fanto clearly thought his friend Rücker would appreciate the stone proof. A 1965 inventory of the Rücker collection by Rücker's daughter gets the date of the above image wrong, referring instead to a photo taken of Casement in Dresden at some point, which he sent to Max Zehndler, a young boy living in Landsberg, whom he had befriended. This photo, with a signed dedication dated 7.1.1916, is also reproduced in the book on Page 81. However, this is the portrait for the book as the scan shows. Casement very obviously signed the portrait, which may be the signed photo to which the inventory refers, described as being in Fanto's possession. Note the handwriting style and the little break in the surname, so similar to the style of the word in ink on the portrait.

Edited by PKeating
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Here is the 1965 provenance. I hope you did not mind my intrusion into your thread about Hans Boehm but given that this is a unique memento of the Irish patriot with whom Boehm tried to form The Irish Brigade, which was not much ore successful than the British Freekorps experiment almost thirty years later, I thought you might appreciate it.

PK

Edited by PKeating
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Interesting thread. Daniel, I thought you might like to see this: a portrait of Sir Roger Casement done in Germany on 4.8.1915. It looks like pen and ink but is actually a stone print of the photograph used to illustrate a 1917 book Casement in Deutschland and came from a notable collection formed by a prewar Dresden hotel director.

Looks like the Boer General De Wet.

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