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Mystery "Soviet" Box from Berlin


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Here is an unusual cigarette box that I picked up at a flea market in Berlin in the late 80s. It is dated late 1945 with an inscription in Russian (something about him being a mechanical engineer in Berlin if I recall), but the insignia on the top is for a US Army signal unit (I think it was put there to cover the hole left when the orignal insignia was taken off). It is brass, lined with black painted wood. Below are a few photos. Since I don't smoke, I use it to hold some of the old challenge coins I was given when I was on active duty with the Army. Would be interested in hearing what you all think about it, who it was given to, and why it was given. Kevin

IPB Image

IPB Image

IPB Image

Edited by ehrentitle
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  • 2 years later...

Was doing some Spring cleaning and ran across this box, so I am reviving this thread that I posted two years ago in hopes that someone might have a clue as to its significance. It's an odd items, Russian inscription to what appears to be a German citizen with 1945 date but with a US 86th Signal Battalion unit crest on the lid. The 86th Sig Bn crest was not authorized until 1966 so I suspect it was put on there later to replace something else that had been on the lid. Kevin

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To give an idea of size the lid is 4" x 3" (10.2 x 7.6 cm) and its about 2" (5.1 cm) tall. And some history of the 86th Sig Bn:

The 86th Signal Battalion was constituted 23 March 1966 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 86th Signal Battalion, and activated 1 June 1966 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Two months later, it deployed to Vietnam, on 16 August 1966. The battalion was originally located within the Cu Chi base camp, home of the 25th Infantry Division. It supported the Army Area Communications System in the western portion of the III Corps Tactical Zone. The battalion was inactivated in Vietnam 30 April 1971.

Edited by ehrentitle
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The Russian inscription reads

Captain of Engineering

I.V. Gerashchenko

City of Berlin, 25 Aug 1945

Ferdinand - Thanks. So I had it backwards the box was given to Gerashchenko as indicated by the v. (von = from) Albert Schuppan. Perhaps he was a representative of the city of Berlin. I found this box in an antique store that was part of a flea market set up in an old train station in the US Sector of Berlin in the late 80s. Kevin

Edited by ehrentitle
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