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ph0ebus

Lieutenant d. Reserve Heinrich Steiner - A Grave Mystery

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ph0ebus

Hi all,

I have come across a mystery in regards to the final whereabouts of a relation of mine, Lieutenant d. Reserve Heinrich Steiner. Heinrich was born 14 Apr 1895 in Laupheim and served with 8 Batterie, Feldartillerie Regiment Nr. 238. He was killed in action on 25 Apr 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux, Somme, Picardy, France. Here is his photograph:

post-32240-0-85030700-1434673096_thumb.j

I checked Volksbund to see if they had any record of him, and I found no trace of him. I then checked the Jewish Cemetery in laupheim, and found this photo:

lau0899_Frag.=19_1991.jpg

Along with this photo was the following information:

Der schlichte, im Giebel mit einem Davidstern geschmückte Muschelkalkstein steht heute in einer der Nischen der Friedhofsmauer. Es handelt sich bei diesem Stein wahrscheinlich um den ursprünglichen Grabstein oder besser Gedenkstein für Heinrich Steiner, der weggeräumt wurde, nachdem die große Familiengrabstätte der Steiners in Reihe 21 (Nr. lau-0721) angelegt wurde.
Zl 2: W.F.A.R. = Württembergisches Feld... Artillerie Regiment.
Zl 3: gef. = gefallen.

Also, on this same page, was the following statement:

Heinrich Steiner, von Beruf Kaufmann, war der Sohn von Louis Steiner und Hedwig, geb. Reinemann (beide N 21/9, Grabstein Nr. lau-0721). Der Leutnant der Reserve fiel im Ersten Weltkrieg und wurde am 29. April 1918 in Bray sur Somme auf dem Ehrenfriedhof beigesetzt. Er war "der fünfte von den bisher von der Gem. Lpheim Gefallenen" (und der letzte, der im Sterberegister genannt ist), und erscheint auch auf dem Ehrendenkmal für die Gefallenen des Ersten Weltkriegs.

On the one hand, the presence of the individual gravestone suggests he may have been buried there, but the notation clearly says he was buried in the German Cemetery at Bray sur Somme. However, if he were buried there, wouldn't Volksbund have a record of that?

My opening question is this: is there an exhaustive list of German burials at Bray sur Somme? Also, do we know if any German graves were lost due to shelling and such after April 1918 in this cemetery?

I have more questions, but I will hold onto those for now. :)

Thoughts?

-Daniel

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AOK4

Hello,

It was the French who took care of the German graves in France after WWI, which has led to a lot of misidentifications and lost graves for all kinds of reasons (and of course some graves and identifications were lost during the war as well - for an example you should check the topic about Gustav Gehrt on this forum).

You should contact the Württembergische Hauptstaatsarchiv in Stuttgart and ask for a copy of the Kriegsrangliste of Heinrich Steiner. There may be more details about his place of burial there.

Jan

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ph0ebus

Jan,

Exactly the guidance I was hoping for...thank you! I will reach out to them and post the results here.

Thanks,

-Dan

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roel22

On the one hand, the presence of the individual gravestone suggests he may have been buried there, but the notation clearly says he was buried in the German Cemetery at Bray sur Somme.

The presence of a gravestone doesn't have to mean he was buried there.

It wasn't unusual to put up a gravestone (more a "stone of remembrance") for a fallen soldier in a civil cemetery in his hometown.

Roel

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ph0ebus

The presence of a gravestone doesn't have to mean he was buried there.

It wasn't unusual to put up a gravestone (more a "stone of remembrance") for a fallen soldier in a civil cemetery in his hometown.

Roel

Hi Roel,

I agree; I have seen this phenomenon before, but what is perhaps casting some doubt is that the cemetery website seems to suggest he may have been buried there (or not), and that the stone in my opening post bears a striking resemblance to the stones presently in use for Jewish soldiers at Bray sur Somme, like this one:

Bray-Sur_Somme_German_Cem_2011_10.jpg

Certainly the phrasing on the 'replacement' family stone suggests to me that he is not buried in the cemetery in Laupheim:

lau0721_N=21-09_1991.jpg

I submitted an inquiry to Württembergische Hauptstaatsarchiv in Stuttgart this morning and await a response from them.

-Daniel

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AOK4

The Jewish gravestones on German cemeteries in France were only put there in the 1970's IIRC (just as the normal crosses). Before that date, all graves were marked by black wooden crosses.

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ph0ebus

The Jewish gravestones on German cemeteries in France were only put there in the 1970's IIRC (just as the normal crosses). Before that date, all graves were marked by black wooden crosses.

Ah, seems to be just a coincidence then. :)

-Daniel

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Martin Feledziak

Good Point.

Here is a random stone photograph from Consenvoye.

post-103138-0-08890800-1434734391_thumb.

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ph0ebus

And this!

http://access.cjh.org/home.php?type=extid&term=480487#1

In the collection of photos is a photograph of Heinrich's grave! I cannot post the photo or direct link from work, but if you are interested and follow the links in the site above you will see the photo I mean. I will endeavor to add the photo here tonight.

Given in the photo you can see some partial names of other soldiers on the adjoining graves (i.e., Gefr. Friedrich ??? RIR 6/231 (?) Gest. 27.4.18), I think we may be able to establish where he was buried. The photo, to me, pretty conclusively rules out Laupheim as his final resting place.

-Daniel

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AOK4

Hello,

This man is buried in the row behind Leutnant Steiner:

Hermann Pieper ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Bray-sur-Somme.

Endgrablage: Block 3 Grab 29

Nachname: Pieper
Vorname: Hermann
Dienstgrad: Gefreiter
Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 28.04.1918
Jan

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Loader

Just to add something to your man, the photo of him shows him wearing the ribbon in his button hole of the IRON CROSS 2nd Class.

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JWK

The cross on the right looks like it's for :

Friedrich Homuth (On Volksbund.de as Fritz Homuth )

Block 3 Grab 27

died 27.04.1918

http://www.weltkriegsopfer.de/Kriegsopfer-Friedrich-Fritz-Homuth_Soldaten_0_46760.html

http://www.volksbund.de/index.php?id=1775&tx_igverlustsuche_pi2[gid]=93fc3e3eca3906007bffb4fc11adfced

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ph0ebus

Hello,

This man is buried in the row behind Leutnant Steiner:

Hermann Pieper ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Bray-sur-Somme.

Endgrablage: Block 3 Grab 29

Nachname: Pieper
Vorname: Hermann
Dienstgrad: Gefreiter
Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 28.04.1918
Jan

Jan,

This result is extremely encouraging. Can you make out the first initial of the last name of the grave immediately to the right of Heinrich? Is that an H?

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ph0ebus

Jan,

Looks like our posts crossed...well done!

Now I need to locate a map of this cemetery so that I can figure out what grave number Heinrich was buried in. Scouring the web now.

-Daniel

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JWK

And the cross behind Friedrich would then be for :

Nachname Müller

Vorname Oskar

geb. am 16.02.1884

Geburtsort Hannover / Niedersachsen

Dienstgrad / Beruf Unteroffizier

Erkennungsmarke

Truppenteil 2. Kp. / Reserve-IR 229

Todes-/Vermisstendatum 27.04.1918

Todesland Frankreich

Todes- / Vermisstenort Morlancourt (südlich Albert)

Block 3 Grab 31

http://www.weltkriegsopfer.de/Kriegsopfer-Oskar-M%C3%BCller_Soldaten_0_174015.html

He's the only "Oskar M..." I can find on that list of Bray-sur-Somme

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ph0ebus

Would you agree that we should concentrate our efforts on Block 3? All these men are there.

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JWK

I don't know if Bray-sur-Somme was the original burialplace of all these guys,

Weltkriegsopfer states that 5 surrounding cemeteries were concentrated into this pre-existing one in 1924,

but they all seem to lie in block 3.

Block 3 Grave nr 30 is for Georg Gröner, died 28.04.1918

http://www.weltkriegsopfer.de/Kriegsopfer-Georg-Gr%C3%B6ner_Soldaten_0_589857.html

Could Georg's cross be the one in the background?

To the left of him would then be Hermann Pieper in grave nr 29 , and to the right Oskar Müller in grave nr 31.

Without knowing anything whatsover about Bray-sur-Somme I think Block 3 would be a good place to start

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JWK

Have a look at the memorial block in the center of the cemetery:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bigadore/11001552883/

I do not see Heinrich's name on it. I see Heinrich Steinhausen and Heinrich Steinmeier, but not Steiner...

-Daniel

Hermann Pieper (post nr 11) is on there though.

And here's the picture of the graves (So that people reading this thread have an idea what we're talking about)

post-107702-0-15821000-1434750862_thumb.

and actually the stone on the grave in France looks a lot like the one back in Laupheim.

Maybe his body was brought back to the Fatherland, and he is buried in Laupheim after all ?

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ph0ebus

I have a theory:

I drew out a map of who we have identified so far, based on the photo:

PIEPER GRONER MULLER

#29 #30 #31

STEINER HOMUTH ???????

??? #27 #??

If we assume that the grave to the right is #28, then Steiner should be in grave #26.

Does this make sense?

-Daniel

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ph0ebus

The two stones, while quite similar, are different enough for me to say that the stones are not one and the same. The Laupheim stone is missing the Hebrew characters on either side of the Star of David, and the names are written differently from one stone to the other (Leutnant H. Steiner vs. Leut. d.R. Steiner).

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JWK

^I see it now too! Definitely not the same headstone.

And I did a little scan of the grave-numbers :

Block 3 Grab 15 24.04.1918 Richard Strutz

Block 3 Grab 18 25.04.1918 Georg Busack

Block 3 Grab 19 26.04.1918 Friedrich Beuscher

Block 3 Grab 20 26.04.1918 Ludwig Wentz

Block 3 Grab 21 26.04.1918 Johann Werner

Block 3 Grab 22 27.04.1918 Johann Kiefer

Block 3 Grab 23 26.04.1918 Karl Koring

Block 3 Grab 24 26.04.1918 Bernard Vehoff

Block 3 Grab 25 27.04.1918 Heinrich Huge

Block 3 Grab 26 (?? 25.04.1918 Heinrich Steiner ?? )

Block 3 Grab 27 27.04.1918 Friedrich/Fritz Homuth

Block 3 Grab 28 ?

Block 3 Grab 29 28.04.1918 Hermann Pieper

Block 3 Grab 30 28.04.1918 Georg Gröner

Block 3 Grab 31 27.04.1918 Oskar Müller

Shows grave 26 is out of step with the others, if this is the grave of Heinrich. Casualties of the 25th are buried in the teens, not in the twenties.

Maybe because he was an officer he was buried later? Or it could well be his body was only found later? Who knows....

.

*edit* added Friedrich in grave nr 19 (see post nr 26)

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