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Good afternoon,

As an enthousiast of military history, I collect on a modest scale "paperwork" related to the Berlin Volkssturm and the final battle for that city (newspapers, propaganda leaflets, photos etc ...) but there is one major problem collecting this stuff: there isn't much to be found. Not living in Berlin or even in Germany doesn't help either ...

As far as I know, there doesn't even exist an indeep study/work on the Berlin VS-organisation. All the "books" stay on a general level. Detailled information is very scarce ...

For the hobby, I did some research and the result I would like to post here for "the benefit" of other Berlin VS-collectors (if there are others like me). Of course is every Information posted by forum members more then welcome.

A while back, I was digging in some digital NARA documents and found to my great joy 5 Berlin NSDAP-Kreis PANKOW-WEIßENSEE documents (written between Februar 2nd and April 12th.

This Kreis was the smallest in numbers of Ortsgruppen (22) but raised nevertheless 17 VS combat Companies. These were grouped into 5 Combat Bns.

59fdb7b24ea62_ScanOrtsgruppen.jpg.fe32bb710451b693e321308bf4673c7d.jpg

The 5 combat Bns that were drafted were:

59fdb82c8171b_KampfBataillone.jpg.7af6c5d1c37d5e6f13c38d4d5e372287.jpg

The NSDAP documents gave a good insight how complex the changes in the build-up of these VS-units were.

I retraced for each of these 5 Bns the organisational and personnel changes.

I kept the German text,

Enjoy ....

59fdb900c82a7_Scan803ZENKE.jpg.8c00683d868cf4fbe2ac1d6e9a3726ec.jpg

59fdb91d5f131_Scan807TIETBHL.jpg.62012a934fcb271f8518d1e1550a1819.jpg

59fdb93d5cdfd_Scan809VONFISCHEL.jpg.561ed7cfbc1af0c65c2ee1fd840cbd0d.jpg

59fdb9a2e149a_Scan811HERTEL.jpg.406df3355b77b0d465b9cbd8fd013d79.jpg

59fdb9b31a088_Scan813HUMMEL.jpg.ef540893f60a45f90c9ab4b97e3d41ad.jpg

The complex organizational changes within those 5 VS-Kampf Bataillone explains why so many families of MIA and even surviving veterans, after the war, did not remember the exact unit they served in.

Men were drafted in Company “X”, a sub-unit of Battalion “Y”. Then the Coy was renamed “Z” and perhaps transferred to Battalion “H”. Some days later a new Coy-commander was appointed, and knowing that the Companies were named after their commander, one understands easily the mix-up after the war.

The most extreme example I found:

  • February 2nd , Kompanie DRAACKE (3/811/2) active in Abschnitt A (Bärenfänger)

  • February 12th, The Kompanie DRAACKE (3/811/2) with part of 3/803/6 is renamed 3/803/2.

  • March 12th DRAACKE hands over command to BIESKE and takes over Coy 3/809/3

The name “Kompanie DRAACKE” was used for 3 different Companies with the same commander   (in 2 different Battalions)!

 

Regards,

Peter

 

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The story goes on ...

The documents I went through, were those of "Verteidigungsbereich Berlin - Abschnitt Kommandeur A" (AKA Kampfgruppe BÄRENFÄNGER)

The units that took up positions early in February 1945 in this sector are listed. With a 1939 map I recreated the line-up of the troops (hardly worth that name)

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Of course in the days and weeks that followed, more troops moved into the lines. I made a list of those.

1. The staff with many unknown officers ...

 59fdbe3ace184_OrganisationAbschnA-1.jpg.82e4110f8a33b6bdb0acd11727a0230d.jpg

2. The troops listed but unclear what sub-sector they went to ...

59fdbe71e3bb6_OrganisationAbschnA-2.jpg.b4f125a8024a899a9c631e7eaba7657a.jpg

3. The troops active in sub-sector "I"

59fdbe95ae17c_OrganisationAbschnA-3.jpg.d504c6f615f0384106f85946d726741e.jpg

4. The troops in sub-sector "II" and "III"

59fdbebf6b99c_OrganisationAbschnA-4.jpg.528591a221aaac534b70c224e1c76961.jpg

 

Of course there were more Abschnitts Kommandeure. Berlin had A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and Z as the map below shows.

59fdbf47755a5_VerteidigungsbereichBerlin0000.jpg.60a4fcf498de1f9d593d8d9f10c9b23a.jpg

In the documents there were troops listed that were attributed to neighbour sectors of Abschnitt Kommandeur A.

These were:

59fdbfb6f3dbf_NachbarAbschnitten.jpg.bcec07ca26ecfd439779a95686fa21a8.jpg

Regards,

Peter

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That is a great piece of research Peter and it is obvious that you have put a lot of time and effort in to it and as such it is quality information and does the forum great credit. I am going to pin this for future reference. Thank you for taking the time to post it.

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Good morning,

When collecting or researching  Berlin VS-paper, there are IMHO 5 categories of documents that are to be found (when you're Lucky).

1. The drafting document

2. The dismissal from the Volkssturm

3. The VS-Soldbuch

4. Official publications intended for the Volkssturm

5. Miscellaneous documents (service correspondence, Feldpost ...)  

PS: Categories 1., 2. and 3. could be put together and named "basic (ID-)papers" if you like.

 

1. The drafting document

The Volkssturm wasn't like the regular troops drafted by the Wehrmacht administration. The NSDAP was responsible for the organisation of this new kind of armed force.

If we consider Groß-Berlin; the city was like any other governed by a civil structure/administration. To keep that feasible the City was devided into 20 Verwaltungsbezirke.

Verwaltungsbezirke.jpg.d0476752defd0d46fa7c48c400dc072e.jpg

After 1920 , there were 3 changes:

- 4. Prenzlauer Tor became Prenzlauer Berg

- 5. Friedrichshain became Horst Wessel

- 6. Hallesches Tor bacame Kreuzberg

 

The German society , i.e. in our case Berlin, had a second layer of political control and administration organised by the NSDAP. Groß-Berlin represented the NSDAP Gau Nr. 3.

To administer this Gau, 10 NSDAP-Kreise were created, each one by coupling 2 civil Verwaltungsbezirke and using the double name.

The 10 NSDAP-Kreise were:

Kreisleitungen.jpg.914163334fe9e10c3b2cdf20f21226e8.jpg

 

Each NSDAP-Kreis was further organised into Ortsgruppen

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This list of Ortsgruppen (excuse me for typos) becomes interesting in relation to the drafting document. The Ortsgruppen were responsible for the initial drafting and handing out the drafting document. This paper proved that the man was listed as a VS-man, but wasn't called up for duty yet.

Below 2 examples (own collection)

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The left has a stamp "Ortsgr. Botanischer Garten", but no Kreis. Checking the list above, this Ortsgruppe was a part of Kreis Steglitz-Tempelhof

The right has an unclear Ortsgruppe stamp, but in this case the Kreis Charlottenburg-Spandau is evident

Rem: The Kreis/Ortsgruppe where the subject lived, was responsible for the "paperwork". Mr Hofmann lived in Halensee and should have been administred by Kreis II, Zehlendorf-Wilmersdorf ... , so not everything went by the book as we'll see again later on ...

 
Peter  
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2. The dismissal from the Volkssturm

You can imagine that not all draftees were happy to become a member of the Volkssturm. Medical reasons, political "aid", needed for specific war important labor...you name it, were used to get out of the Volkssturm.

In this topic we won't go into the 4 types of Aufgebot (catagories of VS-men).

Anyways, if someone was excused/dismissed from the Volkssturm, he recieved the document below. You can see that it is handed out by the now well known Ortsgruppe.

In this case believed to be Wartheplatz

59fec06fc46bb_VS-ZettelDelcampe.jpg.254e6a05b7f4947d5b786620eedc570e.jpg

Next to the most common form as shown above, there existed other documents handed out to avoid being drafted into the Volkssturm as is shown below  

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Peter

 

 

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3. The Soldbuch

When the draftee was called up for service he recieved from his Company commander (so not a NSDAP-organism) his Soldbuch.

When collecting these, you'll see in the most cases that the photo of the owner and the image of AH are taken out.

Here an example from my collection. 

VS-man Ernst SCHLEY recieved his Soldbuch on March 1st 1945 from his Coy commander RADECKE, who commanded his company in the VS-battalion 3/909.

I explained already how complex changes were in the organisation of these Bns. On the first page you can see 3/909/RADECKE.                                                                                            But at the time the Battalion stamp was put (page 2) we can see a stamp with 3/917. So this Coy changed for unknown reason from one Bn to an other ...

 

59fec44473546_Front-Rcken.jpg.0e72a34ad549386b1fb045110a959aec.jpg59fec456cddcf_Seite1.jpg.85c5e64c141f2b8509f712ca4d526543.jpg

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Where lived Ernst SCHEY ?

59fec91095780_SCHLEY-2.jpg.d99d0323b53d8284dc0141588167f932.jpg

Peter

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 4. Official publications intended for the Volkssturm

The Volkssturm was raised starting in October 1944. These men needed to be trained for the upcomming battles.

For this purpose many publications were  printed and given to the Companies to provide the guidelines how to ...

Examples are:

- Deutscher Volkssturm: der Dienstappell

- Volkssturm-tafel (below a partial screenshot of such a document - thanks to German Historica - Thomas Huss))

 VS-publication.jpg.baab2290b9a7bc5fb2d34aacf6e4e65b.jpg

- Volkssturm manuel for using the Panzerfaust, owned by a Berlin VS-man (own collection)

-

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and many more ...

 

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5. Miscellaneous documents 

    This is a category where anything fits in that can't be listed under 1.- 4.

    Examples (own collection):

- document including all the interesting data for the collector and intended for the employer of Rudolf KOELPING.

  KOELPING served in the Battalion 515 in the 4rd Company with the addendum I.G. - Infantry Gun  

59fef6a783d90_5-a.JPG.8a6bb354eba0efd07cc0726ed2c40080.JPG

- document signed by the Company Commander HERRMANN of 3/30/4 (= Gau 3 Berlin, Battalion 30, 4rd Company) and sent to VS-man Kurt LABENWOLF warning him that he  

  should not miss (like before) the upcoming training of the company, scheduled on Sunday 15th of April 1945 .... the day before the Red Army launched the Berlin offensive 

59fef730829b2_11-a.jpg.ee703794a6d7602cc357fbf446d29772.jpg

- an other Feldpost card as presented above, but from the same man A. FRITSCH

59fef9e2a5153_10-a.jpg.f7ea9c5c32e162ade26f064bc8d42c4b.jpg

- partial screenshot of a document dated 24.4.1945 with the purpose to inform all the involved forces securing the Reichskanzlei that new ID-document regulations are introduced.

One of the addressees is the "Komp. Führer Volksturmkomp. Reichskanzlei

59fefb9021319_VSRK.jpg.f90738984c3720b2baf214c302127ca6.jpg

As mentionned above, VS-men were supposed to be drafted in the Kreis where they lived.

Here is an example of a VS-unit organised with the men that worked at the same location. An other example is the VS-battalion "WILHELMSPLATZ" that was filled up with members of the propaganda ministerium.

take care

Peter

 

 

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Hello friends,

Collecting this "paper" is just one aspect of "the hobby". Researching the stories behind these documents is even greater fun ... and oft more challenging!

An example:

The booklet "Jedem Feindpanzer gewachsen - die Panzerfaust"

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I bought it because of the stamp "Otto Morawietz - Berlin Schmargendorf - Davoser Str. 14a", IMO, when I bought it, it was clearly from a Berlin VS-man ...

But, then I started my little research using the Berliner Address books.

When I looked up Mr MORAWIETZ, I found out:

  1. He appeared for the first time in the Adressbuch BERLIN 1931

    1. Schmargendorf – Heiligendammerstrasse 2c

  2. Between 1931 and 1943 : no changes ... (and that was the last war-time Edition !)

  3. In the first postwar (West)Berlin Adressbuch 1957

    1. Davoserstrasse 14a (so the address on the stamp)

  4. I started to doubt if this manual was owned by a Berlin Volkssturm soldier; it could just be owned by a Berlin (post-war) collector ...

  5. Then I found this: 

    1. Bericht des DNB (Das Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro) vom 2. März 1943.

      In der vergangenen Nacht fand auf die Reichshauptstadt ein britischer Terrorangriff grö­ßeren Ausmaßes statt. Es wurden beträchtliche Sachschäden angerichtet. Die Personen­schäden betragen bisher 89 Tote und 213 Verletzte. Mit einer Erhöhung der Totenzahl muß gerechnet werden. ... 

       

      Die Zahl der abgeschossenen feindlichen Flugzeuge beträgt bisher 19.

    2. Heiligendammer Str. 2-2a,b,c, Häuser Totalschäden.

  6. So the "Davoser Str.- stamp" was explained. Mr. MORAWIETZ lived in Berlin in the Heiligendammerstrasse 2c until the eventful night of March the 1st 1943 when his home was totally destroyed by a UK bomb. He moved to his new address Davoserstraße 14a where he still lived in 1956. Probably in October 1944 he was drafted into the Volkssturm and recieved short after that this booklet on which he put his address stamp

Take care,

Peter

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Good morning friends,

As I wrote in my first post, I collect only paperwork: Berlin-Volkssturm and battle for Berlin related.

I'm alway looking for reasonable priced pieces.

Soldbücher from battle for berlin involved units (Nordland, 9 FJD etc), rare awards , I let pass .. because they are to expensive.

I have to admit though, that some pieces in my collection (do not think to much of it, there isn't that much to be found) were not cheap, but ... boys will be boys and sometimes we jut have to own that piece.

That being said, I would like now to enter the field of the (battle) propaganda.

Before the battle for Berlin started, each side tried to influence the ennemie but also (in the case of the Germans) the own population and the armed forces.

The Russians reached the Oder River early in 1945.

For 2 months nut much moved until on April 16th The Berlin-offensive was launched that took on May 2nd the capital of Germany.   

 

I'll try to show documents/leaflets in a chronological sequence.

 

1. October 1944

The Volkssturm was called up in October 1944. The German propaganda machine  did everything to motivate the population. Below a Photo taken in 1 of the first "Meldestellen" where men between 16 and 60 could join the Volksturm. The uniform of the man in the middle helped to determine the location as being in Berlin-Zehlendorf.

5a06b7d2697bc_VSPresseBild-forum.jpg.db623e5741cf4262d619382418063308.jpg

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Peter

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So while the Volkssturm was being drafted starting in October 1944, the propaganda war between the Germans and the Russians continued.

End of 1944, the Germans dropped leaflets like this one; it holds the message for the Russians " ... the road to Berlin is the road towards death... "

5a06c5ff24b83_2-a.jpg.ce24e0ee4c9ed78ce705738386fb6913.jpg5a06c7c4cb7f0_2-b.jpg.4fb26fe21fc4b2745d7b809b5f996a0e.jpg

 

 

 

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Early in 1945 the allieds dropped leaflets like this on Berlin and the rest of Germany ....

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Even the Russians tried to motivate their soldiers by handing out propaganda postcards like this one with the message " ... towards Berlin ! ...", dated February 15th 1945.

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Once on the Oder River, the Russians dropped leaflets like the one below on the opposite dug in German troops. This leaflet is dated february 17th 1945 and mentionnes for the first time " ... Schlacht um Berlin ..."

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What a fantastic level of research detail you have put together on this subject, for something which is obvious you have a true labour of love for.

You are right in that there does not seem to be an exhaustively detailed and comprehensive publication on this subject to date however, in the posts above it is clear that you have the foundation for putting this ommision right.

I look forward to further posts on this really informative thread.

Regards Richard.

 

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Thanks Richard.

The soviet build-up of the forces on the Oder remained no secret for the Germans. They even guessed the date the offensive would take off : April 16th 1945.

To encourage his troops on the "Ostfront", A.H. released a final message to be given to all units.

Here below you can see an extreme rare leaflet, dated April 16th 1945 with this final propaganda message.

 

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On April 17th, this text was for printed in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

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On April 16th, the red army launches its long prepared offensive at Berlin. Heeresgruppe Weichsel is able to block the Russian offensive for 1 day. Between April 18th and April 21st the red army pushes on to the outskirts of Berlin.

In Berlin the last Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung appears on April the 21st with the headline " the Capital of the Reich is ready for the battle ..."

I do hope it was, because on that date the Russian spearheads attacked the outer defense line of Berlin and the real battle for the city began ... 

 

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The "Verteidigungsbereich Berlin" troops with its many Volkssturm units tried to block the entrances to the city, without overwhelming succes.

In the next few days, pushed back elements of Gen WEIDLINGS LVI Panzerkorps, took up positions in Berlin. 

To keep up the moral and provide a mean of (propaganda) communication, the "Kampfblatt für die Verteidiger Groß-Berlins", AKA the Panzerbär, was printed and handed out in the city .

This Panzerbär appeared between April 22nd and April 29th of April.

Below the April 23rd edition,

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While the battle in the city raged, the German army tried to lauch an attack with the new 12th army - die Armee WENCK - from the west to reach Berlin and help its defenders.

For days this approaching Army Wenck was used to boost the moral and keep on fighting ...

In Berlin, the propaganda leaflet, printed 22/23 April 1945,  initially only intended for the soldiers of the 12th army, was handed out to the defenders of the city as well.

The 12th army never reached Berlin and had finally to withdraw to the west to surrender to the US forces at the Elbe.

But until April 28th, the 12th army remained a moral booster ...

Here the scarce leaflet ...

 

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As the red army entered deeper and deeper into the city, whole parts of Berlin came under control of the soviet military authority; while at the same  time, the bloody battle went on in the central parts of the capital.

This leaflet was dispersed in those parts of the city, just taken over by the Russians ...

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That's all for now, tomorrow more ...

Take care

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Good morning,

After the first combat days in Berlin, the defenders were slowly pushed back towards the city center.

The German resistance grew as more and more troops were concentrated on a continuous shrinking area.The Russian losses were enormous ...

The Red army intensified its propaganda efforts with dropping leaflets specially intended for the Berlin civilians and defenders.

Below you see some examples ...

25 April 1945

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27 April 1945

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An other 27 April 1945 Russian leaflet

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As I told some posts ago that I would like to present the propaganda paperwork in a chronological sequence, here the April 27th edition of the Panzerbär.

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28 April 1945, Russian leaflet

5a07f2ad1747f_BlnBevlkerung28-4.jpg.dfcfd53b236d74d2c195bc6023d435be.jpg

 

The Armee Wenck was on April 28th still a factor in the last German propaganda.

Here a stencilled German "news flash" produced by the Berlin Propaganda Kompanie Nachrichtenstelle dated April 28th 1945 ...

5a07f3cd0e116_PKBerlin28-4.jpg.33c4a8e0d24410330f2989c0b08c2d4e.jpg

 

Those were the last propaganda efforts of the Berlin high command to keep the combat spirit alive ...

After April 28th 1945, when the Armee Wenck was starting its withdrawal, it became for all the defenders clear that the battle was lost ...

Still, it went on until May 2nd 1945 ... 

 

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On May 2nd and the days that followed, the Russians dispersed leaflets like tis one ...

 

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This one, dated May 3rd, holds the same message ... 

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And of course, there were nice propaganda pictures taken ...

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Hello friends,

Everything I posted here is a part of my collection.

I know from research that many other propaganda leaflets do exist. Here you see a compilation of Russian Berlin-related paper I'm still looking for ...

5a07fae258e02_RussianBerlinpaperwork.jpg.fc43dce2cac652b4a1fa3b3eacf6cd37.jpg

And of course, the other editions of the scarce Panzerbär ...

5a07fb2567365_Panzerbreditions.jpg.dc584adbec94c959f4576389d317cc0a.jpg

 

In the mean time, until these looked for items pop up, there are other sweet things out there, like the ones below that found a place on my bookshelves  ...

sweet.jpg.5c04300361f1e922247f94d7151c6baa.jpg

Take care,

 

 

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Hello friends,

A while back when I was surfing on the WWW, searching for my field of interest items, I found an auction site where they just sold a Russian postcard written in Berlin when the battle was still going on. This Postcard was nothing special, just stamped by the unit post-office on April the 30th 1945.  

Finding this very interesting, I decided to hunt for a similar piece of Russian fieldpost. It would fit nicely in my collection 

I found out very fast that that kind of postcards (written in Berlin and in the very narrow timeframe between April 21st and May 2nd) are not available in big numbers. 

To correct my self; not available at all !  That explained perhaps the 200,- (sic!) euro's the auction postcard was sold for!

 

But I didn't give up! On a philatelic site, a philatelist from the Ukraine (!) sold 1 postcard that could be the one (for me).

I bought it and would like you tell it's story, or the story of the man that wrote it ...

5a0b0e05c2637_49-a.jpg.b79b4ba88326ed03cf23d588ce15d9fe.jpg

 I managed to get it translated:

" ... Dear friend! I have received all your letters and am very glad and thank you many times, the only letters that I recieved, are yours. I congratulate you, and your relatives, with May 1st - day. I am writing this postcard sitting in a cellar in Berlin, so we have taken it, you may congratulate us. Besides, I was awarded the "Red Star Order”. Enough now, I'll write more later. I embrace everybody and shake hands and wish you all the best with your exams. - Nikolay. ..."                    

 (Sgt BESPALOV – 52330)

 

The Postcard held useful information for further research.  

- Written by Sgt Nikolay BESPALOV

- Fieldpost Nr 52330 (1042 Rifle Regiment/295 Rifle Division)

- Destination address: ODESSA

- He writes he received (recently) the Order of the Red Star

- “in BERLIN” is written in the letter

- Stamp date: 27.4.1945

 

Nikolay Petrovich BESPALOV (born 1911, living in ODESSA) was a sergeant and a rifle squad commander in the 1042 Rifle Regiment / 295 Rifle Division.

With his unit he participated in the Jassy-Kishinev operation (awarded a medal “For courage” for his exploits in the battle on 25.8.44), the 1945 Vistula-Oder campaign (March 3rd 1945 he was awarded a medal “For battle merits” and finally in the battle for BERLIN.  

For his valor in the battle for KUSTRIN, he was awarded the “Order of the Red Star” on April 1st 1945 (only 4 weeks before the postcard was stamped).

On May 26th 1945 he was awarded an “Order of the Patriotic War” 2nd class for what appears to be his last day of combat.

On October 20th 1945 BESPALOV was awarded the medal "For taking BERLIN ".

 

Using the daily tactical situation reports by the 295 Rifle Division (and more specific those of the RR 1042) , I was able to retrace the route taken by Sgt Nikolay P. BESPALOV in the battle for BERLIN.

I compiled the map below ...

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A smal detail... Sgt BESPALOV used a "liberated" postcard he found somewhere ...

Take care,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once again, some of the best research I have seen.

Just as a cheap 'hole filler' I managed to buy a Soviet Berlin medal and citation last year even though I don't collect Soviet items. It was awarded to Guards Sergeant Aleksei Fyodorovich Derevy and the citation is signed by Guards Lt.Col Shurunov in his capacity of Commander 93rd Guards Ground Attack Air Regiment.

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Hello Kevin,

Nice piece with good provenance !

You can still find those by the dozens when browsing  the web. The 1945 issues, like yours - and mine - are the more looked for.

Prices for the set (document and the medal) go between 25 € and 60 €, so a nice collectable and relatively cheap item.

Take care,

 

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Hello friends,

When collecting VS-Berlin paper, the red dismissal documents you'll see "on the market" are already presentend some posts ago. I also posted another document serving to prevent beïng drafted. Of course there do exist other examples; I just added this one (see below) to my collection.

 

It is an improvised and fast written statement of dismissal for a Berlin Volkssturmmann.

There is more about this very basic document than one would think at first sight …

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Translation

Translation.jpg.bf65deba0366b3a534a8db14dea3e5e2.jpg

Research

1. The date on the document is a very late one, the Russians crossed the Oder river on the 16th of April and reached some parts of the Berlin outskirts on April the 21st. 

    Berlin VS-documents with this or a later date are not often found.  

 

2. The stamp is from VS- battalion 3/19. This unit was drafted with its sister unit, VS-Bataillon 3/11 in Treptow. On the map below I highlighted this part of Berlin.

    5a10182fef07e_Draftingarea.jpg.4c0a16bec0a936d1c45877bab057ab2a.jpg

 

3. Volkssturmman Max HABERLACH

    a. He was born on the 2nd of June 1906 and worked as a milker. He lived in Berlin Altglienicke (the SE of Berlin), Bohnsdorfer Weg, in NSDAP-Kreis X Neuköln-Treptow.

        5a1018c88560a_HaberlachMax0000.jpg.fb5d39279f3bc4b382c15c11e5e4a85c.jpg

        On the map below, the Bohnsdorfer Weg is marked with a yellow line.

         5a10190407041_BonsdorferWeg1.jpg.81f1f9ce8e02c14d9cdfc34963365e3b.jpg

        It was custom those days to give the houses under construction instead of a house number the name of the family.

        Max HABERLACH lived in the Haberlach’sches Haus. (his house was in 1943 listed as Baustelle “construction in progress”)

        Below a screenshot of the Berlin 1943 Adreß Buch where the Bohnsdorfer weg lists him and some neighbours ... all in the progress of building their homes.

        5a1019bf86b81_Bohnsdorferwegscreenshot.jpg.2d59b10a3bbfa1084cd8e37566a6f4bc.jpg

 

        b. Max was almost 39 years old when he was called up for the volkssturm on February the 24th 1945. The reason for him not being in the Wehrmacht at that time could be his

            important job in the (food) industry or possibly even a bad health.

            Max HABERLACH died on August the 16th 1965, only 59 years old.                     

            Max lived most likely his whole life in the SE of Berlin and is buried at the Altglienicke Friedhof together with his wife Maria who died in 1989.

            Naamloos.jpg.f9d996e739e865000b2c2678490b96d5.jpg

 

4. That a Hauptfeldwebel signed a VS-document is not exceptionnel.

    The Volkssturm had officially only 5 ranks (Bataillonsführer, Kompanieführer, Zugführer, Gruppenführer and Volkssturmmann).

    Many of the Wehrmacht personnel in Berlin were used to “upgrade” the many drafted VS-Bns. These men kept their Wehrmacht ranks.

 

    Unusual is the fact that a Hauptfeldwebel (a NCO) signed a document to dismiss a man from military service!

    Normally a dismissal from the Volkssturm was approved by the NSDAP- Kreis/Ortsgruppe, who would do so by handing out the already discussed red document as is shown 

    below, in this case handed out by the same NSDAP-Kreis Neuköln-Treptow as the one where Max HABERLACH lived.

  

Please login or register to see this attachment.

 

  The first wave of Volkssturm-men was called up in October 1944. The most dismissals (in German: Zurückstellung) were approved shortly after the drafting month

  This extremely late (April the 20th 1945), and not “by the book”, dismissal document is very unusual and against all regulations

  (see below Berlin VS-document dated February the 17th )

  5a101c9610e93_Zurckstellungen.jpg.ec1910792b81ab0d6468618d700cf033.jpg

   Between the lines one can read that this (unauthorized dismissal from service) occurred more than once (... erneut hingewiesen …) and that (some) Company Commanders

   apparently decided on their own to dismiss their men (… wird der Einheitsführer zur Rechenschaft gezogen …)

   Knowing the risk of being accused for Wehrkraftzersetzung (any act that could harm the war effort and that was punishable by death) it wasn’t an easy decision in those days to

   sign such a  document …

   Nevertheless, the Coy commander, or in this case a Hauptfeldwebel took the risk and did write and sign this dismissal paper. Was it perhaps because the Russians were almost  

   knocking  at the door and he did not want his men to risk their lives for a lost cause …? 

 

   The meaning of the "Kartenstelle" mentioned in this document is unclear…

 

5. In any case, ex VS-man Max HABERLACH “escaped” just in time.

    3 days later the eastern parts of Berlin were hit hard when the Russian attacked on April the 23rd.

    The OKW Lagekarte below shows the tactical situation on April the 25th 1945, the red arrow in the SE of Berlin is near Tempelhof Airfield, Alt Glienicke has obvious already

    been taken by the Red Army and was at that time under control of the Russian military authority … as was Max HABERLACH and his family.

    5a101def73df5_Russianposition25-4.jpg.03fae3748669cca40404841b2e51c85e.jpg

   The VS-Bns 3/19 and 3/11, most likely engaged in Verteidigungsbereich Berlin – Abschnitt Kommandeur B counted after the battle for Berlin not less than 135 MIA.

   So this could very well have been a live saving piece of paper …

  

Take care,

 

 

 

 

 

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