Summary

Black and white postcard depicting a group of German soldiers digging in a forest with others watching. The scene is very relaxed, and does not suggest active battle.

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

Description of Content

German soldiers digging in front of woods. About 18 uniformed soldiers are depicted, of which about seven are sitting on the ground, several actively digging with what appears to be their hands (one on the far left may have a spade or weapon). Two of the standing soldiers have more formal peaked caps and swagger sticks, and may be officers.

Physical Description

Black and white photographic print - now sepia appearance. Image has rounded edges on square-edged photographic paper. Printed on back with lines for use as postcard. Corner 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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