Summary

Black and white photograph featuring German soldiers in front of a communications building ('Fernsprecher' means telephone'). The glass window at the front of the building suggests that it was away from the front line.

The photograph dates to World War I. Its provenance is unknown.

Description of Content

Group of four soldiers in front of a building labelled 'Fernsprecher'. Round discs are strung along either side of the sign, of unknown use. The hut has telegraph lines and insulators strung from its front, and a glass window. To the right of the building is another made of logs. The earth is dug into embankments around the buildings - the soldiers stand in an earthern ditch. Pine trees behind suggest a forest setting.

Physical Description

Black and white photographic print - now sepia appearance. Edge creasing.

Significance

One of a group of photographs and postcards that document the experience of German soldiers during World War I. Although the group has no provenance, the images show a human side to soldiers of the Central Powers. Pictures by or of World War I German soldiers are relatively rare in Australian museums. These are particularly significant as they were apparently taken by German soldiers, showing them engaged in everyday activities.

The images chronicle German soldiers’ wartime experience, from serving with Armeegruppe Schaffer in Romania up until the Romanian surrender in 1917. The group includes an image of a war-damaged French church/cathedral, probably taken after the Germans were moved from the Eastern to the Western front. Of particular interest is the image of celebrating German troops in Romania - documenting a victory that was to be short-lived for the Germans.

Further research - including translation of the German hand-written texts - will shed more light on the significance of these photographs and postcards.

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