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World War I-era Postcards

Light and inexpensive, the zither was a popular instrument in the household as well as for those requiring a portable form of entertainment. As such, it's no surprise that the zither appeared in group photographs of German and Austrian soldiers during periods of leisure. The interpretation, transcription and translation of the World War I-era postcards presented here have been kindly provided by Jane Curtis.




Unused postcard, 1914. The text on the sign reads:

ORIGINAL: Burschen von Neukirchen während der Kriegszeit, 1914

TRANSLATION: Fellows from Neukirchen during the war, 1914


Two zithers and a violin player with fellow soldiers. Unused postcard.




The postcard itself is of World War I vintage: the uniforms of the nurses and military personnel, and the picture caption: Deutscher Mädchenkalender 1917 / Das Kränzchen (German Young Women's Calendar 1917 / The Circlet).

But it was written and sent in World War II: Hindenburg stamp, postmark in the Sudetenland 1942, current dates in text, and mention of Reichsmark (RM). Also it is addressed to someone in Vienna, which had been part of the German Reich since 1938 and thus required no country name for domestic mail. The card is addressed to the family of Dr Egon Harbich, Studienrat (an official title for a teacher in higher education).






ORIGINAL:

Lieber Egon,

Auf die am 8.I.42 von Dir erhaltene Karte, teile ich Dir mit, dass gestern am 7.I.42 ein Paket an Euch abging -- darin unsere Nachricht. Ich sandte an Dir am 29.12 41 sechzig RM, deren Empfangerbestättigung mir bis heute fehlt -- bitte um sofortige *Rastennachricht, ob Du die 60 RM erhalten hast. Mit vielen herzlichsten Grüssen und Küssen Euch allen bleiben wir Eure euchliebenden Eltern -- Papa

TRANSLATION:

Dear Egon,

Regarding the card received from you on 8.1.42, I'm informing you that yesterday on 7.1.42 a package went off to you all -- our news is inside. On 29.12.41 I sent you sixty RM [German marks], for which no confirmation of receipt has reached me as of today -- please send an immediate *message whether you have received the 60 RM. With many most affectionate greetings and kisses to you all, we remain your loving parents -- Papa

*The "nachricht" (message, communication) part of the word is perfectly clear, except for the "Rasten" part. It is likely some type of fast communication, as we might say "Please send an immediate telegram or email message".







Postcard dated 9 March 1917

ORIGINAL:

Liebe Mutter und Kinder,

Ich habe die Quitung [sic] und den Brief erhalten vielen Dank. Liebe Mutter, ich lege für euch eine Photographie bei die gibst der Rosina wen [sic] sie einmal zu dir komt oder schickst sie ihr den [sic] den ich weis [sic] ihre Adresse nicht genau. Dass der Hans [?] wieder gesund ist freut mich und ich wünsche im [sic] viel Glück dass er auch gesund bleibt. Ich bin gesund was ich auch von Euch hoffe. Auf diesem Bild könt ihr [sic] sehen dass unsere Zither und Zither [sic] und auch unser Künstler noch am Leben sind. Also viele herzliche Grüsse von Eurem Vater Auf Wiedersehn dem Bübi? viel Glück zum Namenstag hoffentlich wird er ihn gesund einbringen Auch den Grossvater gratuliere ich zum Namenstag. [Remainder is cut off at bottom of photo.]

TRANSLATION:

Dear Mother and Children,

I got the receipt and the letter, many thanks. Dear Mother, I enclose a photo for you all, give it to Rosina sometime when she comes to see you, or send it to her, as I don't know her exact address. I'm glad that Hans [?] is well again, and I wish him good luck that he stays well too. I am well, which I hope for you all too. On this picture you can see that our zither and zither and our artiste too are still alive. And so, many hearty greetings from your father. Auf Wiedersehen. To the little boy, good luck for his Nameday; hopefully he will celebrate it in good health. I also congratulate Grandfather on his Nameday. [Remainder cut off at bottom of photo]


The following postcard has text written on the top of a presumably empty keg. Scheider is likely meant to be "Schneider" (Tailor) and Gaselsch is a misspelling and abbreviation for "Gesellschaft" (Club).




Unused postcard from 1916. The text on the keg reads as follows:

ORIGINAL: Hoch lebe das leere Most Fass, Scheider Gaselsch, 1916

TRANSLATION: Hurrah for the empty must keg, Tailors' Club, 1916


The following postcard is probably from one of the soldiers in the picture. The lady to whom it is addressed is his wife or girlfriend or possibly a close female relative. It appears that the Kaiser, accompanied by the king [presumably of Bavaria), visited and reviewed their regiment. “Uncle” may have served in the regiment too, or maybe he is just mentioned to indicate the age of some of the soldiers.






Postcard dated Oct 11, 1914

The postcard reads as follows with gaps to indicate illegible areas.

ORIGINAL:

Liebe Resi,
Wie geht es dir? Hast du noch so viel Arbeit? Onkel wird noch nicht … gewusst haben. Letzthin … unserer Kaiser … viele Männer in Onkel’s Alter feldmarschmässig ausgerüstet … . Nachdem der Prinz. König von Ihm Abschied genommen hatte ging es dahin. Ich sage dir, du sollst nur mal bei mir sein. Da geht es zu. Getanzt wird, dass die ganze Kaserne wackelt und geschwachte? dass man fürchte, muss das Fenster reißt es ……………. [cuts off – no signature]

TRANSLATION:

Dear Resi,
How are you? Do you still have so much work? Uncle will not yet … have known. Recently … our Kaiser .... many men of Uncle's age equipped for field march … .After the king had taken leave of Him, things got going. I tell you, you should just be with me. It really gets going. There will be dancing till the barracks shake and weaken, till one must fear the window will break …… [cuts off]


A zither player with fellow soldiers. Unused postcard.





Used postcard with ten soldiers, a zither and violin.

Stamp: Left to right beneath Franz Josef's face: Österreichische Post
        above face: kaiserliche königliche
        Translation: Kuk Austrian Postal Service / Postmark: Brno

Addressed to: Ignatz Barth, Esq.
        c/o Mr Anton Kreuzer, Master Blacksmith
        in Thaya
        Post Office [deto = detto or dito, like our use of "ditto"]
        N.O. [Nieder Österreich = Lower Austria]






ORIGINAL:

Liebe Bruder!
    Indem ich dich vielmals grüsse, hoffe ich, dass du gesund bist, was auch bei mir der Fall ist. Meines kann ich dir gar nichts schreiben. Mir geht es ganz gut. Von zuhause weiss ich jetzt nichts da sie mir seit ich in Urlaub war noch nicht geschrieben haben. Sutker [S ?] Paul ist jetzt auch in Brünn
     Indem ich dich nochmals grüsse
         verbleibe ich
                Dein Bruder
                    Johann.

TRANSLATION:

Dear Brother!
    I send you many greetings and hope that you are healthy, which is also the case with me. I have nothing at all to write about myself. I'm doing very well. I know nothing about [what's happening at] home, as they have not written me since I've been on leave. [Sutker?] Paul is now also in Brünn [the German name for Brno]
        Sending you greetings again,
           I remain
            Your brother
                  Johann

Note: The name Sutker Paul reflects the old custom in Austria and Hungary (and probably other areas as well) of putting the last name first. Kiem Pauli is another example.


A zither player with fellow soldiers. Unused postcard dated July 1915











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