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German POW Walking Stick


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While I realize that this forum generally deals with American militaria, I wanted to share something which was POW-related.

 

My mom is German and grew up during the war. Her father was a Fallschirmjager and was killed on the Eastern Front in 1943.

 

My Oma (German grandmother) soon remarried to the man I would know as my Opa. My Opa joined the Prussian Cavalry in 1916 as a 16 year old. He took part in the First World War and received the Iron Cross 2d Class as well as the Hindenburg Cross (I have these in my possession along with the ribbon bar with both of these awards mounted). Between wars he became an architect and he returned to active duty with the German Army at the outset of the Second World War. He was an Engineer officer and saw duty in various parts of Europe.

 

He was captured by Soviet forces in 1945, and was marched westwards. At one of the POW processing sites German prisoners were being doled out between U.S. and Soviet control. Apparently my Opa stepped out of one line and into another and was fortunate enought to have wound up in U.S. custody. He received the Iron Cross 2d Class, War Merit Cross with Swords and Eastern Front medal (again I have these in my keeping as well).

 

 

While being forced on his long march, when he was initially under Soviet custody, one of his friends carved a walking stick for his use. I received this from him back in the mid-1980's before my Opa passed away.

 

(If This isn't posted in the correct place, I appologize. Just thought this was sort of cool and wanted to share)

 

post-152877-0-36838500-1399416054.jpg

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Bill Scott

The German troops had a long tradition of carved walking sticks.There are tons of press release photos of them being used on the Eastern Front.Your OPA was a very lucky man to have been handed over to friendly troops and survive.The Walking Stick is a wonderful memory of the man you called OPA and is a treasure.Thank you for showing it to all of us.Scotty

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The German troops had a long tradition of carved walking sticks.There are tons of press release photos of them being used on the Eastern Front.Your OPA was a very lucky man to have been handed over to friendly troops and survive.The Walking Stick is a wonderful memory of the man you called OPA and is a treasure.Thank you for showing it to all of us.Scotty

Scotty, I appreciate it!

 

My Opa was a quiet man, and I hadn't known that he had been a POW. He spoke very little of either war. Growing up in Europe (3 years in Germany and 3 years in Belgium) we frequently made trips to spend time with my Oma and Opa.

 

Several years later my mom and I stayed up all night just talking. She spoke of her experiences as a refugee, and having to take shelter from the bombing raids, by which the U.S. would bomb by day and the British by night. She then told me that my Opa had been captured by the Soviets at the end of the war, and that he was forced to march some great distance. My pointed out something to me that I had never really noticed: Every time we sat down to a family meal at my grandparents home (which was quite often), Oma put out a large spread, one of the dishes was always spaetzle (dumplings/noodles). Oma always set a small bowl of boiled potatoes just for Opa. He never touched noodles, because it was his daily diet when in Soviet custody.

 

On one of the occasions Oma and Opa came to the U.S. to visit us, my father and I took him to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Maryland) military museum. Parked outside it is an extensive display of tanks, armored vehicles and artillery of every sort captured since the First World War. Opa simply walked along quietly, and every so often he would stop, point to a particular tank and tell us that he rememberd when it had come out "I was in Poland in 1939 when this was used." "I remember in Russia in 1942 when that version of the Tiger came out." etc ...

 

Inside the museum were weapons of every sort, and he stopped at a display of First World War machine guns. He turned to me and told me that he was 17 years old when he saw his Lieutenant get hit by machine gun fire, that it simply ripped his chest open, and that at the time it was the most incredible thing they had ever seen.

 

During a trip to the National Air and Space museum my Opa looked up at a WW2 German V1 'Buzz Bomb' which was suspended from the ceiling. He smiled at me and quietly said that when he was in France in 1944 they would see these thing flying overhead all the time ... that they never knew what they were.

 

Having recently joined this forum has opened up many memories for me. As a result, I'll cut and paste my comments here and paste them to a document for passing on to my grandchildren.

 

I've attached a photo (which is actually a compilation of photos) of my Opa's medals and his ribbon bars. Also is a small pin he saved from a music festival Opa attended in Nurenburg in 1912, when he was 12 years old. The Mother's Cross belonged to my great-grandmother. My mom found it among my Oma's things a few years ago when she flew home to visit.

 

These are the only wartime items that they kept, and I'm keeping them until I know my Grandkids will care for them after me.post-152877-0-89242300-1399566373.jpg

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SergeantMajorGray

Scotty, I appreciate it!

 

My Opa was a quiet man, and I hadn't known that he had been a POW. He spoke very little of either war. Growing up in Europe (3 years in Germany and 3 years in Belgium) we frequently made trips to spend time with my Oma and Opa.

 

Several years later my mom and I stayed up all night just talking. She spoke of her experiences as a refugee, and having to take shelter from the bombing raids, by which the U.S. would bomb by day and the British by night. She then told me that my Opa had been captured by the Soviets at the end of the war, and that he was forced to march some great distance. My pointed out something to me that I had never really noticed: Every time we sat down to a family meal at my grandparents home (which was quite often), Oma put out a large spread, one of the dishes was always spaetzle (dumplings/noodles). Oma always set a small bowl of boiled potatoes just for Opa. He never touched noodles, because it was his daily diet when in Soviet custody.

 

On one of the occasions Oma and Opa came to the U.S. to visit us, my father and I took him to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Maryland) military museum. Parked outside it is an extensive display of tanks, armored vehicles and artillery of every sort captured since the First World War. Opa simply walked along quietly, and every so often he would stop, point to a particular tank and tell us that he rememberd when it had come out "I was in Poland in 1939 when this was used." "I remember in Russia in 1942 when that version of the Tiger came out." etc ...

 

Inside the museum were weapons of every sort, and he stopped at a display of First World War machine guns. He turned to me and told me that he was 17 years old when he saw his Lieutenant get hit by machine gun fire, that it simply ripped his chest open, and that at the time it was the most incredible thing they had ever seen.

 

During a trip to the National Air and Space museum my Opa looked up at a WW2 German V1 'Buzz Bomb' which was suspended from the ceiling. He smiled at me and quietly said that when he was in France in 1944 they would see these thing flying overhead all the time ... that they never knew what they were.

 

Having recently joined this forum has opened up many memories for me. As a result, I'll cut and paste my comments here and paste them to a document for passing on to my grandchildren.

 

I've attached a photo (which is actually a compilation of photos) of my Opa's medals and his ribbon bars. Also is a small pin he saved from a music festival Opa attended in Nurenburg in 1912, when he was 12 years old. The Mother's Cross belonged to my great-grandmother. My mom found it among my Oma's things a few years ago when she flew home to visit.

 

These are the only wartime items that they kept, and I'm keeping them until I know my Grandkids will care for them after me.attachicon.gifOpa's Awards.jpg

 

Great story and items. I too have relatives that were in the German Army I have my great grandfathers Hindenburg cross sadly I'll probably never be able to find out anything about their service.

 

 

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willysmb44

Your OPA was a very lucky man to have been handed over to friendly troops and survive.

 

Indeed. I have read a few books recently written by Germans who'd been POWs of the Russians. Truly chilling stuff.

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