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WW2 Germany, American POW's?


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I came across a bunch of b&w film rolls and negatives that I think were taken in war time Germany.  Most are family oriented home front photos but there are some military related shots.  This photo was among them.  I'm thinking that the two soldiers in the car are POW's.  What do you think?  What else can be gleaned from the photo?  I've owned enough Voltswagens to know that is a VW front end on the car.

scout car3.jpg

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manayunkman

The Germans might be the POW.

 

Notice the lack of equipment and weapons.

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bunkerhillburning

I agree with the above comments - the Germans are the POWs.

\

Nice photo!

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Manayunkman, I did notice that and a friend mentioned the same thing. The photo was at the beginning of one roll and the images after that one seemed to be business as usual; including a military wedding!  Some at the wedding are armed (photo attached).  I'm not positive but I think the photographer of my group of negatives was a soldier so it doesn't appear that he became a POW. Was still taking pictures after that first photo!

wedding.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

These photos came from the same bunch of negatives.  I'm guessing these are Russian prisoners.  Can anyone tell from the sign where these pics were taken?

prisoners.jpg

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Old Marine

I don’t mean to sidetrack this post and I don’t know who is who, but that’s a pretty creepy looking shadow on the door at the left.

 

I think Brjansk is the Russian city of Bryansk. Kritschew is Krichev

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I can add some info to this topic. I agree that the German troops (in the first image) are likely POW's. Looks like the German vehicle the US troops are sitting in is a then-very recently captured Kubelwagen (the German equivalent to our Jeep). The license plate code "WH" means Wehrmacht Heer, indicating it was assigned to the German Army. The German navy, air force, SS and some paramilitary organizations all had their own unique plates, too.  

 

The "creepy looking shadow" mentioned by Old Marine (good catch!) is intended to look that way and was part of an anti-spy propaganda campaign called The Shadow Campaign and the figure was known in German as "Shadow Man" (Schattenmann). More details on the campaign in English can be found here: https://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/pst.htm.

 

And for a better look at Schattenmann, I'll include an image of two GI's seen posing under one of them (likely in a captured German town), the German language on it loosely translates to "The enemy is listening" and not all of the Schattenmann figures had that. The same question mark can be seen though, same as in the first image at the beginning of this thread. These Schattenmann figures were also sometimes painted on surfaces in addition to appearing on posters.

 

I have additional info but as this board focuses on US militaria, I will refrain from posting more but can share it via PM with anybody interested. Hope this helps.

 

 

The Enemy Is Listening.JPG

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Old Marine and RSM,  Thanks for noticing the figure and the information.  Very interesting!  I saw the "shadow" but figured it was just a stain.

 

Still think the two in the car are the POWs.  They look concerned, everyone else is too casual.

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Proud Kraut

Could you please post an enlargement of the third photograph.

 

 

Bild 3.jpg

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Niner Alpha

 Maybe it's a joke photo.  The Shadow man is part of the joke with a couple of Germans sitting in the VW with American helmets suggesting they are the spies within the German lines in otherwise plan sight.  

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On 8/3/2021 at 1:39 PM, Proud Kraut said:

Could you please post an enlargement of the third photograph.

 

 

DSC00957.JPG.04e8a403d25b9b5f6badd901796b6b37.JPG

 

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Proud Kraut

Panzerjaeger Schule - Kommando Stab (Tank Destroyer School - HQ staff)

Very nice! I would like to ask you to post these pictures at our sister forum, the World Militaria Forum as well.

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35 minutes ago, Proud Kraut said:

Panzerjaeger Schule - Kommando Stab (Tank Destroyer School - HQ staff)

Very nice! I would like to ask you to post these pictures at our sister forum, the World Militaria Forum as well.

 

 

Thanks for the translation.  I'll check out the World Militaria Forum.  I have quite a few photos that were in this group that I would like to get info on and know I can't post them here. Except for the first photo in this thread I know I'm pushing the envelope with the other pictures I posted here.  Not exactly US Militaria but in support of the first photo and my belief that those are US POWs. 😏

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/5/2021 at 7:17 AM, tom63 said:

 

 

As I have not yet signed-up on the World Militaria Forum I will post the following here. Although I'll try to be brief because it concerns non-US.

 

The Panzer officer in the front row (second from left) has a Knight's Cross decoration (worn at the throat), in German called a Ritterkreuz. Because that was one of the highest decorations it was not awarded as often, and it might be possible to determine the officer's identity (if anybody cares to) by comparing his apparent general age & facial features to known Knight's Cross recipient portraits and other photos. The Propaganda Ministry promoted the exploits of soldiers like that to the maximum so it is likely that this officer has other photos of him available via research and books profiling those decorated are available as well. Bit of a needle in a haystack as I believe 7,000+ Knight's Crosses were awarded during WWII, but one could begin with German Army panzer officers only (ignoring other parts of the army & other branches of service) and go from there if needed. Another research direction...   

 

Knight's Cross general info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight's_Cross_of_the_Iron_Cross    

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blowing up the picture with the GIs almost looks like a rifle barrel by the guys left shoulder. 

 

Not sure how long they kept their helmets once captured. A helmet can be turned into a weapon quickly. Would ruin your day to be clubbed with one.

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Doyler, Good eye! It does look a bit like a rifle barrel. That wouldn't help my theory that the GI's are the POW's seeing how the GI's seem to have the only weapon.

pows.jpg

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13 hours ago, RSM said:

 

As I have not yet signed-up on the World Militaria Forum I will post the following here. Although I'll try to be brief because it concerns non-US.

 

The Panzer officer in the front row (second from left) has a Knight's Cross decoration (worn at the throat), in German called a Ritterkreuz. Because that was one of the highest decorations it was not awarded as often, and it might be possible to determine the officer's identity (if anybody cares to) by comparing his apparent general age & facial features to known Knight's Cross recipient portraits and other photos. The Propaganda Ministry promoted the exploits of soldiers like that to the maximum so it is likely that this officer has other photos of him available via research and books profiling those decorated are available as well. Bit of a needle in a haystack as I believe 7,000+ Knight's Crosses were awarded during WWII, but one could begin with German Army panzer officers only (ignoring other parts of the army & other branches of service) and go from there if needed. Another research direction...   

 

Knight's Cross general info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight's_Cross_of_the_Iron_Cross    

RSM, I recently signed up on the World Militaria Forum mainly to see if I can find some info on some of these may negatives I have.   I'll post the officers photo there and with your permission quote your post or parts of it over there.  Maybe someone on that forum with far better research skills than mine can identify the Panzer officer.

panzer officer.jpg

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manayunkman

He’s an assault gun officer and looks familiar.

 

Panzer Jager they were called and used self propelled anti tank weapons.

 

Is the rifle a K-98 and are those the bottoms of stick grenades?

 

Looks like an Army Lt. took the surrender.

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manayunkman

He is also the holder of the of the German Cross.

 

Something I’ve never seen before is that 2 of the Germans are wearing their M-43s backwards in the capture photo.

 

They might be rappers.

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manayunkman

All the other photos were taken sometime before the capture photo.

 

An American soldier took the camera the day of the capture and took the photo.

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manayunkman

It also looks like he has an Honor Roll clasp on his Iron Cross ribbon.

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Proud Kraut

1. The "capture picture" was at the beginning of one roll, WH pictures following

2. One soldier with US helmet seems to carry a K98

3. Soldiers are wearing their M43 backwards to look not like Germans

4. The scene was taken at a Tank destroyer school

 

The longer I´m regarding the "capture picture" the more I´m thinking of German soldiers using foreign uniforms to support training as "Aggressor Forces" (Feindkommando)

 

Once again I recommend to post these pictures at the World Militaria Forum as well. I´m sure we´ll find out more over there.

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Regarding the shadowy figure on the building, here is an original poster with him on it. You  will see the shadow in the background.

The Enemy is Listening.jpg

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11 hours ago, manayunkman said:

He is also the holder of the of the German Cross.

 

Something I’ve never seen before is that 2 of the Germans are wearing their M-43s backwards in the capture photo.

 

They might be rappers.

Yes, the German Cross is just barely visible under the breast eagle.

But did you miss the Knights Cross around his neck?😳

I sure it wouldnt take to much effort to identify an RKT with DKiG(or Silber) and Honor Roll Clasp in an Assault gun unit.

👍

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Marchville1918

you can see the cleaning rod under the barrel of that rifle. it is definitely a K98. No American rifle looked like that.

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