Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Pilipala

German soldier, unknown regiment

Recommended Posts

Pilipala

I have a letter dated 3 August 1917 sent to my grandmother Ida by her brother Heinrich Führen who was a Sanitätsunteroffizier in the German army. At the time that he wrote the letter he was in Russia having previously been stationed in Lemberg. He was subsequently transferred to France where he was killed in the summer of 1918. I do not know which regiment he served with and wondered if anyone could work it out from the contents of the letter and a knowledge of the deployment of German troops. His grave states his rank but not his regiment. I could post copies of the original letter but the old fashioned German script is difficult to read so here's a transcript of the translation. Sorry about the length of this post

In the Field [i.e. on campaign], 3 Aug 1917
Dear Ida,
God's blessing in greeting!
As things are quiet at the moment, I'll write you a quick letter. I wanted to write to your Hans, but couldn't decipher the address, so I will send a few lines for him to you, for you to send to him.
I'm still fine so far. Until now we have been constantly chasing after the Russians, with hardly time to collect our wits, so I could hardly find the time to write. I won't say any more about the fighting. It's always the same; we run and run forwards, either until we have a skirmish, or until the Russians run away. The only really uncomfortable time was a week ago. Stuck in the forest at night, we ran into at least three Russian machine-guns and two companies in scattered formation. We ran up to 30 metres from them and then they opened fire. At first we all thought our own people had shot at us, but when we called out to them, they fired even more wildly. You can imagine how our men fell. Yes, the war; it's high time it came to an end. And yet there is still no prospect of that. -- This attack quickly drove all thoughts of leave out of my head. But today I fondly remember the happy hours of my last leave. Hans tells me that you two went to visit Lisa and Gottlieb, and that the two of them will probably come back to live with us after the war; and that they are now much more sensible than previously. As I have said before, I simply cannot understand how people can allow themselves to be seduced [in the sense of persuaded] in such a way.

Franz Birker is now on leave until his discharge; so at least he has now achieved that which he had desired for so long. Johann was also at home for a while recently. He always has the most tremendous luck. Is Wilhelm still at home? I only hope they don't take him away [i.e. call him up] too soon. Let's hope that peace comes before that.
Enough for today. I hope you are still well. Write back soon. Love and kisses from your brother Heinrich.

(P.S. as women are wont to do ) Your letter of 26 July has just reached me. You wrote so many kind things about all the silly stuff I annoyed you with during my leave that you have now heaped burning coals on my guilt-ridden head. You can see from my letter and from the newspapers that I'm not in Lemberg anymore. I'd be sincerely happy if Adela would take things seriously and follow the truth. But for now it is time to stand firm and hold out.
May God keep you!
Love to you again, Heinrich.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karsten

Hi,

 

not an answer to your question but just a remark: A Heinrich Führen killed in Summer 1918 does not appear in the Verlustlisten http://des.genealogy.net/eingabe-verlustlisten/search/index .

 

But there is a Sanitätsunteroffizier Heinrich Führen, born 8th June in Röhr near Aachen, mentioned as wounded in VL of 18th April 1918. Is this him?

 

Kind regards,

 

Karsten

 

 

Edited by Karsten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala

He is listed as wounded in April 1918 (from Röhe, Aachen). I believe that he was caught in a gas attack and was not killed straight away. Thanks for checking, though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreyC

Hi,

it always help to post the original documents. Do they have stamps on them? There ought to be a fieldpostoffice stamp, a formationstamp and ideally a return address. Maybe not all three but at least one of them.

Please try to post them, they might tell more than the transliteration.

The formation of the Sanitätswesen in the German army was a bit complicated (at least in my understanding). There were those Sanitäter that were called Sanitätsmannschaften der Truppen. They wore the uniforms of the unit they belonged to. During peace time one Sanitäter (Gefreiter or Uffz) per company. During war 1 Uffz and 16 other ranks per bataillon. Then there were those Sanitäter that originally belonged to the Train. from those most were employed to work in Feldlazaretten, Kriegslazaretten and in other functions behind the front. There were however, a sum of 314 Sanitäts-Kompanien, that were mainly used to rescue and transport the wounded.

From what I gathered from the letter, the Sanitätsunteroffizier in question will probably have belonged to the first group. So if you have a photo of him in uniform, we might get clues to what regiment he belonged. If he  belonged to the Sanitäts-Kompanien he´d wear a totally different uniform.

GreyC

Edited by GreyC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala

Thanks for this GreyC. All I have is the letter without any cover or envelope. The sender's address is "in the field" so no clue there. There are no photographs either and no surviving family members who could be asked for more information unfortunately. Perhaps this bit of detective work is too ambitious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karsten

Pilipala, how do you know he was tranferred to the West? Where is his grave?

 

And it is my mistake - it is „Röhe“, not „Röhr“.

 

Kind regards

 

Karsten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4

Have you tried the Standesamt? His unit (place of death, cause of death, ...) may very well be mentioned on his death certificate.

 

Jan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
charlie2

Pilipala

Have you been in contact with the VDK?

 

1 hour ago, Karsten said:

Pilipala, how do you know he was tranferred to the West? Where is his grave?

 

 

He is buried in Hannover

http://www.volksbund.de/graebersuche/detailansicht.html?tx_igverlustsuche_pi2[gid]=8d4d51cf106dc4142c373c0c4c3b24f1&cHash=da9482288eb1f3449878c3d634299d03

 

Charlie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreyC

Hi,

too bad there are so little clues, but Jan´s suggestion is really worth persuing. Won´t give you the unit, but place of death, maybe.

 

GreyC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala

I'll certainly try the Standesamt - thanks for the suggestion Jan - but he is buried in Hannover having died a couple of months after being wounded so I suspect that he was transferred from wherever he was wounded to a hospital back in Germany and his place of death will be a military hospital in Hannover.

Does anyone know which German forces were stationed in Lemberg in 1917 before transferring to the Russian front by July 1917?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreyC

Hi Pilipala,

in your first post you wrote that he died in France, now you say he died in Hannover. If you want relevant information from the forumites, it would help to provide correct and all available  information from the start. Otherwise the mood of those who try to help on false foundations might get a bit negative ^_^

An importantant source are the records of the Krankenbuchlager. It holds the records of the Lazarette. It is closed at present but is supposed to reopen in one/two years, once the WAST has worked its way thru it.

Best,

GreyC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala

So sorry, no intent to cause you irritation and no falsehood intended either.

I'm just trying to find out which unit of the army he might have been attached to based on him being in Russia in July 1917, Lemberg immediately prior to that and in France (allegedly) in around April 1918 where he was wounded. A bit of a long shot, I know.

Where he actually died and where he is buried didn't seem pertinent to where he was deployed as I already knew that information about his unit was not included in the Verlustlisten or on his gravestone. I also knew that the Krankenbuchlager records are closed.

Your info about the Sanitäter is useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4

Really, the unit may very well be in the death certificate or the burial register of the cemetery. Ask the Volksbund whether they have his unit.

 

Jan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karsten
20 hours ago, GreyC said:

Hi,

it always help to post the original documents. Do they have stamps on them? There ought to be a fieldpostoffice stamp, a formationstamp and ideally a return address. Maybe not all three but at least one of them.

Please try to post them, they might tell more than the transliteration.

The formation of the Sanitätswesen in the German army was a bit complicated (at least in my understanding). There were those Sanitäter that were called Sanitätsmannschaften der Truppen. They wore the uniforms of the unit they belonged to. During peace time one Sanitäter (Gefreiter or Uffz) per company. During war 1 Uffz and 16 other ranks per bataillon. Then there were those Sanitäter that originally belonged to the Train. from those most were employed to work in Feldlazaretten, Kriegslazaretten and in other functions behind the front. There were however, a sum of 314 Sanitäts-Kompanien, that were mainly used to rescue and transport the wounded.

From what I gathered from the letter, the Sanitätsunteroffizier in question will probably have belonged to the first group. So if you have a photo of him in uniform, we might get clues to what regiment he belonged. If he  belonged to the Sanitäts-Kompanien he´d wear a totally different uniform.

GreyC

This sounds absolutely reasonable. So perhaps he belonged to an Infanterie-Regiment.

 

Pilipala, what proof do you have that he came to the Western front?

 

Kind regards,

 

Karsten

Edited by Karsten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan

Yes, Pilipala, a gentle nudge, but if you post all that you know, including a copy of the letter (others can read, transcribe, and translate it!), then the GWF members can often work miracles!

Edited by trajan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala
On 21/03/2018 at 19:46, Karsten said:

This sounds absolutely reasonable. So perhaps he belonged to an Infanterie-Regiment.

 

Pilipala, what proof do you have that he came to the Western front?

 

Kind regards,

 

Karsten

No proof at all, other than family rumour that he was gassed fighting in France.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala

Thought I might update the Form and ask a further question.

Following a very fruitful visit to the Eschweiler Archiv I discovered that my great uncle was actually born Jakob Heinrich Führen. This enabled further searching and eventually the discovery of his death registration in Kassel (attached for your perusal) which I am not fully confident that I have read and translated correctly.

My questions are now:

If he died in Hannover why register the death in Kassel or was it because this is where his regiment was based?

Now that his regiment/battalion is known is it possible to identify where he would have been when reported wounded on 18 Apr 1918, so I can confirm or refute the family story of being gassed in France?

Thanks

Pilipala

 

00067.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4

Hello,

 

he was (in peacetime) living in Kassel, so his death was reported to the Standesamt of his official adress to be inscribed in the register.

And once more: his being wounded was reported in the VL of 18 April 1918, so he must have been wounded some weeks before that (probably around March?). He died in November of lung tuberculosis. Whether that can be related to being gassed, I don't know.

 

Jan

 

Edited by AOK4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4

IR 131 was on the Eastern Front until December 1917 and was then transferred to the West. With the rest of the 42. Infanterie-Division, IR 131 then was engaged near Armentières and in April 1918, participated in the Battle of the Lys.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreyC

Hi,

there are three regimental histories for this unit, two of which do not cover the time your relative died. The 3rd one might:

Bruno v. Oppen: "Ehemaliges 2. Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 131", Berlin 1938: Kyffhäuser, (Tradition des Deutschen Heeres: Heft 126

GreyC

Edited by GreyC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilipala

Thank you both.

Whether or not he was gassed, he was in France in 1918 which supports the family rumours. It would be interesting to find out more about his army unit.so I can look into this further.

Would members of the Forum be interested to see images of the original letter mentioned in my first post?

Pilipala

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4
44 minutes ago, Pilipala said:

Thank you both.

Whether or not he was gassed, he was in France in 1918 which supports the family rumours. It would be interesting to find out more about his army unit.so I can look into this further.

Would members of the Forum be interested to see images of the original letter mentioned in my first post?

Pilipala

 

 

I am definitely interested. Contact me via private message and I'll give you my e-mail adress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4

Unfortunately, such is the interest for its own (military) history in Germany, that they let the extremely interesting Krankenbuchlager (holding all information about German soldiers who were cared for in hospital during the war), that they first let this archive decay (it has apparently become a health hazard to access whatever is left) and then that they have started throwing away part of it when it was transferred from the city of Berlin to the Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv in Freiburg.

 

Since most of the military archives of WWI were lost in WW2, this archive was extremely important to reconstruct military service of individuals. Yet, nowadays it is impossible to get any information from this Krankenbuchlager and it's very difficult to receive any information about whether it will ever be accessible again and what is saved from it.

 

This Krankenbuchlager would have at least answered the question when he was wounded and what happened between the date of his being wounded and his death.

 

Jan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GreyC

Hi,

not quite true, I am afraid. Yes, there was negligence and therefore parts of the Krankenbuchlager are currently being restored.

BUT:

1) Large parts of he Krankenbuchlager were destroyed during WW2 anyway.

2) All files of soldiers born between 1900-1928 can be accesed thru the WAST, therefore also (small) parts of those who served young in WW1 l (like one of my grandfathers)

3) For those born between 1870 and 31st Dec. 1899 during the months of January to July documents pertaining to the wounded or sick soldiers can be found in the holdings of the National Military Archive at Freiburg.

4) All other remaining files have been taken over by the WAST and are currently being restored as far as possible.

See WAST (Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle) for source.

https://www.dd-wast.de/de/unterlagen/krankenbuchlager.html

 

GreyC

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AOK4
2 hours ago, GreyC said:

Hi,

not quite true, I am afraid. Yes, there was negligence and therefore parts of the Krankenbuchlager are currently being restored.

BUT:

1) Large parts of he Krankenbuchlager were destroyed during WW2 anyway.

2) All files of soldiers born between 1900-1928 can be accesed thru the WAST, therefore also (small) parts of those who served young in WW1 l (like one of my grandfathers)

3) For those born between 1870 and 31st Dec. 1899 during the months of January to July documents pertaining to the wounded or sick soldiers can be found in the holdings of the National Military Archive at Freiburg.

4) All other remaining files have been taken over by the WAST and are currently being restored as far as possible.

See WAST (Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle) for source.

https://www.dd-wast.de/de/unterlagen/krankenbuchlager.html

 

GreyC

 

 

That's new and interesting information! Things were told differently last time I looked for information about the Krankenbuchlager.

 

I was also always told that from the years 1891 to 1899, only the files of those born in January and July were saved, while the other months were destroyed (when the files were transferred from Berlin to Freiburg)...

Edited by AOK4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...