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Remembered Today:

What is this POW uniform?


knittinganddeath

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These photos were taken in the winter of 1917/18 in Løken, Norway, where some German POWs were sent to convalesce. Could anyone help to identify the fancy uniform and/or explain its significance? (Officers, perhaps?) Other photos show men wearing civilian-esque clothing as well as more regular uniforms.

Thanks for any help!

629915770_Screenshot2022-06-01at16_26_33.png.c0eef8afdb2712b8a81a60949e8b68e3.png

Source: https://digitaltmuseum.no/011015227773/fire-tyske-soldater-pa-veranda-pa-loken-hotell

 

273225442_Screenshot2022-06-01at16_28_53.png.915e05a1bb6c4e56cc1d1a304ecf9d41.png

Source: https://digitaltmuseum.no/021018596143/tyske-soldatar-i-fangeleir-under-1-verdenskrig-loken-hotell-i-vestre-slidr

Edited by knittinganddeath
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17 hours ago, knittinganddeath said:

These photos were taken in the winter of 1917/18 in Løken, Norway, where some German POWs were sent to convalesce. Could anyone help to identify the fancy uniform and/or explain its significance? (Officers, perhaps?) Other photos show men wearing civilian-esque clothing as well as more regular uniforms.

Thanks for any help!

Source: https://digitaltmuseum.no/011015227773/fire-tyske-soldater-pa-veranda-pa-loken-hotell

Source: https://digitaltmuseum.no/021018596143/tyske-soldatar-i-fangeleir-under-1-verdenskrig-loken-hotell-i-vestre-slidr

 

They are a type of frogged (lace fronted) jacket called an “Attila”** for those regiments following the dress tradition of Hussars (‘Husaren’), a type of light cavalry that originated in Hungary and goes back to the 30-years war and before.  An earlier style of frogged Hussar jacket reached only waist length (i.e. no skirt) and that style was called a “Dolman”. 

Hussars became especially popular across Europe during the course of the Napoleonic wars and by the time of Napoleon’s final defeat (Waterloo) most nation’s armies had adopted them for select light cavalry regiments, where they vied for prestige with Lancers.  Germanic states had been divided with some fighting for Napoleon and some against (most notably Prussia) and their Hussar traditions were carried with them into the opening months of WW1.  The Attila (also Atila) can be found in a variety of colours according to nationalistic tradition and preference.

NB.  Someone like @JWK or @GreyCwill probably be able to identify the units in your photos.  The lowermost photos that I have posted show the very famous Deaths-head (Totenkopf) Hussars, and so famous did that cavalry emblem become that it was adopted for all the specifically tank units of the Third Reich’s Wehrmacht (Heer), along with distinctive black uniforms (not to be confused with SS).

**named after “Attila the h-u-n” whose light cavalry were once preeminent and swept across the European continent.

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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Beautiful uniforms!

Alamy has the (sort of) same uniform as a green & gold Attila for a Gefreiter of either Husaren-Regiment „Graf Goetzen“ (2. Schlesisches) Nr. 6, or Magdeburgisches Husaren-Regiment Nr. 10

but, as Hussar's parade uniforms all looked alike in black and white (to me at least), it could véry well be another Regiment and another colour!

Magdeburgische1.jpg.440b1ac86ae5ea26827b19ef44891f58.jpg

 

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Thank you @FROGSMILE and @JWK!

The museum's description says that the uniforms were "a fine shade of blue with shiny buttons and a bit of red on the shoulders." 

I was under the impression that the soldiers in these camps came from all different units and that they wore some kind of standard POW uniform, so it is interesting to see them in these fancy Hussar outfits that seem to match.

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36 minutes ago, JWK said:

Beautiful uniforms!

Alamy has the (sort of) same uniform as a green & gold Attila for a Gefreiter of either Husaren-Regiment „Graf Goetzen“ (2. Schlesisches) Nr. 6, or Magdeburgisches Husaren-Regiment Nr. 10

but, as Hussar's parade uniforms all looked alike in black and white (to me at least), it could véry well be another Regiment and another colour!

Magdeburgische1.jpg.440b1ac86ae5ea26827b19ef44891f58.jpg

 

Yes it doesn’t help that, as well as the Life Hussar regiments designated personal bodyguard for the Kaiser, just about every princely state, or old Kingdom had its own husaren regiments too.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, knittinganddeath said:

Thank you @FROGSMILE and @JWK!

The museum's description says that the uniforms were "a fine shade of blue with shiny buttons and a bit of red on the shoulders." 

I was under the impression that the soldiers in these camps came from all different units and that they wore some kind of standard POW uniform, so it is interesting to see them in these fancy Hussar outfits that seem to match.

They would only be wearing them if they came from the same regiment (i.e. entitled to that dress), so it seems likely that a number were captured at the same time.  I recall reading of some such captures during the BEF’s retreat from Mons, but of course it doesn’t definitely indicate a connection.  Their uniforms look pristine and it’s occurred to me that they might have been sent to the POWs from Germany as a matter of national prestige.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I wouldn't dare to draw any conclusion: these POWs may have just been given any (peacetime) hussar uniform. And remember there were also wartime cavalry units coming from a hussar background...

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36 minutes ago, JWK said:

Nr 13 had a bit of red on their Schulterklappen/Shouldertitles:

husaren1.jpg.6c20a609e19d25b882f1154b2e57fbd3.jpg

huzaren.jpg.79fb030602bdd1d5bbb13df9735c68f4.jpg

Go to the website http://www.zietenhusar.wg.am/husaren-regimenter/ for a bigger/more readable version

 

That looks good to me given the precise description that was quoted.  

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56 minutes ago, AOK4 said:

these POWs may have just been given any (peacetime) hussar uniform

Thanks for this insight, Jan. I agree that it's not possible to draw any firm conclusions.

Also I find it statistically improbable that so many individuals selected specifically for health reasons from around Russia would all come from the same regiment, but of course never say never.

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1 hour ago, knittinganddeath said:

Thanks for this insight, Jan. I agree that it's not possible to draw any firm conclusions.

Also I find it statistically improbable that so many individuals selected specifically for health reasons from around Russia would all come from the same regiment, but of course never say never.

I must say that in the spirit of debate I disagree.  I don’t really see what constitutes “so many”.  The regular German Army was highly disciplined and inculcated with a Prussian attitude to “alles in ordnung” and I do not believe that uniforms would have been worn that were not an genuine entitlement.  I would also say that it was the duty of an officer to do the best that he could for his men, and it’s not impossible that he convinced the authorities  that a group of his men needed healthy care in Norway.  This was 1914-18, and we shouldn’t apply the morals and attitudes of today to those that applied then. I personally believe that they are genuine Husaren and quite possibly belong to the unit identified by JWK.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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There is also a further photo which shows a large number wearing an Attila https://digitaltmuseum.no/0210111662338/tyske-krigsfangar which to my mind is too many, considering the number held Norway, for them all to have all been from the same regiment. Although nothing is impossible I lean to believing they are wearing surplus Attilas which had been sent to Norway as replacements for worn out uniform for any regiment. Note the Attila of soldier standing (as we see it) to the left of the young lady, at best it looks to be the wrong size. One must also bear in mind the „Buntenrock“ was to all intents and purposes obsolete by then.

I disagree with JWK‘s suggestion that they are HR 13 uniforms, they are wearing the Attila and not the Mantel. The shoulder cords for the Attila were white ( not red) with a metal U surmounted by a crown - source Pietsch and Knötel „ Das Deutsche Heer, Friedensuniformen bei Ausbruch des Weltkrieges“

Charlie

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I will be very surprised if there is not a more detailed record of precisely who the men were, and what were their units.  Presumably there must be German records in addition to the Norwegian ones.  I vaguely recall a military records centre at Koblenz.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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@knittinganddeath I‘m not sure how far you want to pursue the theme of PoWs in Norway but it may be of interest that there was a newspaper published for internees in Denmark and Norway http://kvk.bibliothek.kit.edu/view-title/index.php?katalog=SWB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fswb.bsz-bw.de%2FDB%3D2.1%2FCHARSET%3DUTF-8%2FIMPLAND%3DY%2FLNG%3DDU%2FSRT%3DYOP%2FTTL%3D1%2FCOOKIE%3DU998%2CPbszgast%2CI17%2CB0728%2B%2CSY%2CNRecherche-DB%2CD2.1%2CEa81b8eb8-0%2CA%2CH%2CR193.197.31.15%2CFY%2FSET%3D1%2FSHW%3FFRST%3D10&signature=82ehW4DJJLMavqwuOB1-RuJTF_B52a3PFy2GuA8EpkY&showCoverImg=1 unfortunately it is not available on line but is available for sale 

https://www.zvab.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&cm_sp=SearchF-_-home-_-Results&tn=Interniert in norwegen

There is also a book „Interniert in Norwegen während des ErstenWeltkrieges „ mentioned in this article.

https://nordische-staaten.de/journal/pdfpublic/no/no969-972_ocr.pdf

10 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Presumably there must be German records in addition to the Norwegian ones.

I have searched the Bundes Archiv site with no luck, but that could be down to my lack of searching skills.

Charlie

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4 minutes ago, charlie2 said:

@knittinganddeath I‘m not sure how far you want to pursue the theme of PoWs in Norway but it may be of interest that there was a newspaper published for internees in Denmark and Norway http://kvk.bibliothek.kit.edu/view-title/index.php?katalog=SWB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fswb.bsz-bw.de%2FDB%3D2.1%2FCHARSET%3DUTF-8%2FIMPLAND%3DY%2FLNG%3DDU%2FSRT%3DYOP%2FTTL%3D1%2FCOOKIE%3DU998%2CPbszgast%2CI17%2CB0728%2B%2CSY%2CNRecherche-DB%2CD2.1%2CEa81b8eb8-0%2CA%2CH%2CR193.197.31.15%2CFY%2FSET%3D1%2FSHW%3FFRST%3D10&signature=82ehW4DJJLMavqwuOB1-RuJTF_B52a3PFy2GuA8EpkY&showCoverImg=1 unfortunately it is not available on line but is available for sale 

https://www.zvab.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&cm_sp=SearchF-_-home-_-Results&tn=Interniert in norwegen

There is also a book „Interniert in Norwegen während des ErstenWeltkrieges „ mentioned in this article.

https://nordische-staaten.de/journal/pdfpublic/no/no969-972_ocr.pdf

I have searched the Bundes Archiv site with no luck, but that could be down to my lack of searching skills.

Charlie

Thank you charlie2 , we shall have to see what knittinganddeath comes up with.  If anyone can read old documents in several different languages it is she!

Edited by FROGSMILE
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@charlie2 Thank you for those links! I'm trying to write an article about the POWs here, and found the Lagerbote already -- it's available online at the Royal Library in Copenhagen (https://soeg.kb.dk/discovery/fulldisplay?docid=alma99122908294005763&context=L&vid=45KBDK_KGL:KGL&lang=da&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&adaptor=Local Search Engine&tab=Everything&query=any,contains,lagerbote). I did not know about the book, which sounds like exactly what I need; luckily, the Oslo Philatelist Club has a copy!

The photo that you found yesterday is also much appreciated, and very neatly illustrates the problem of having two written forms of Norwegian: my searches for "krigsfangEr" did not turn up anything tagged "krigsfangAr," which was how that photo was catalogued.

@FROGSMILE Thanks for your further thoughts, I've been looking for a list of prisoners who came here but so far this information seems to be beyond the reach of an armchair researcher...sigh. Further complicated by the fact that, in the Norwegian popular consciousness (and to some degree historiography), there was only one war in the twentieth century, and it wasn't 1914-18.

@JWK A belated thank you for the links to the Hussar uniforms!

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I was wondering if the Norwegian National Archive (assuming there is one) would respond to an inquiring e-mail, but imagine that you perhaps have a publication deadline to worry about.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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19 minutes ago, knittinganddeath said:

it's available online at the Royal Library in Copenhagen

Many thanks for the link

Charlie

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6 hours ago, knittinganddeath said:

I've been looking for a list of prisoners

To give a start

Karl Schäfer aus Dörnbach

Ltn Dierssen

Uffz Pelikan, Rikeit & Witt

Inf. Dickhaus

Musk. Kamm

Wehrmann Paetsch

Füs. Rietgraf

Landsturmmann Sporleder, Korn & Friedrich

Ersatzreservist Rühle

Reservist Oldenburg

Feldwebel Hinz

Grenadier Lorenz, Sahner, Coors & Bollmann

Gefreiter von Gruchalla

Stabsarzt Dr. Henneberg

Lt.d.R. Viktor Schlossarek

Oberleutnant Hensel

Charlie

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by charlie2
Wrong rank for Hensel
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Thank you @charlie2 -- since in total only 184 Germans ever came to Norway, your list comprises nearly a sixth of them! (Also, I need to read the Lagerbote more carefully.)

@FROGSMILE The article is just for my blog, so it has no deadline ;-) I will probably end up writing to the archives and asking for help, but first want to muster as much information as possible so that I know which gaps need to be filled. Am also hoping that the book by Burkhard Koop, which Charlie mentioned above, and John Thiesen's study of mail from internees and POWs, will be useful.

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Just now, knittinganddeath said:

Thank you @charlie2 -- since in total only 184 Germans ever came to Norway, your list comprises nearly a sixth of them! (Also, I need to read the Lagerbote more carefully.)

@FROGSMILE The article is just for my blog, so it has no deadline ;-) I will probably end up writing to the archives and asking for help, but first want to muster as much information as possible so that I know which gaps need to be filled. Am also hoping that the book by Burkhard Koop, which Charlie mentioned above, and John Thiesen's study of mail from internees and POWs, will be useful.

Good luck, it will be interesting to learn of the outcome when you finish.

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I'm making a list, based on the Verlustlisten  Preußen 869  and Preußen 1113 , and I've got some 149 Prussian names. There were also soldiers from Sachsen, and probably other states, but I don't have those right now.

The oldest was Gustav Wirk, an Oberstleutnant ausser Dienst, born in 1847, so some 70 years old!

 

Also, all the officers seem to be in a camp in "Hoevelsaasen"?  http://www.geonames.org/ does give some Norwegian placenames in a fuzzy search, but no idea which one it is.

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2 hours ago, JWK said:

all the officers seem to be in a camp in "Hoevelsaasen"?

The modern spelling is Hovelsåsen, but it appears in historical sources as Haavelsaasen and Høvelsåsen, near Flisa. The places that were used in WWI often got "recycled" for similar uses later -- there's a refugee residence centre at Flisa now, I think. The state bought the property in the 1920s with the intention of setting up a detox centre for alcoholics. One of the other camps (Lifjeld?) was used by the Germans to intern Russians during WWII.

How did you know which Verlustlisten to look in? Is there a way to search for Löken/Norwegen?

Edited by knittinganddeath
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