My Dad and Vintage Postcards from WWII

Robert C. ******, 1919-1995

My dad was a sharpshooter in WWII. Here are a couple of photos of him and his army buddies. I can't tell where they are here and there is no writing on the photo. He is the tall one.

I have three shoe boxes full of my dad's collection of postcards dating from 1932 to 1995. Have recently been going through them. While in the war, my dad was in Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Iceland and possibly a few other places. He didn't own a camera so he bought postcards from whereever he was. Sometimes people gave them to him when they knew he was collecting them. I will periodically put up a few of his collection in the future. I think they are quite interesting. I'll start with some from Germany. The first two are Hoffman photos. I shall have to do some research on this photographer as well as other photographers during this time.



About pam

I am retired from real 9 to 5 jobs. I do my artwork and occasionally write poetry. In September 2010, I moved to Fargo, ND after spending 60 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, five years later, July 2015, I'm back in Arizona. And yes, I love the heat!
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44 Responses to My Dad and Vintage Postcards from WWII

  1. Dudley says:

    Your not going to believe this but on the same program I saw about the Golden Adele painting, the lady holding the fish was also shown. The lady holding the fish, if memory serves correctly, it was something about Nazi art that no one really wanted and was bought by the government.

  2. Dudley says:

    The PBS program was called, "The Rape of Europa"http://www.pbs.org/therapeofeuropa/about/

  3. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Angeliki. But there must be a couple of thousand of them! At least in the shoe boxes the dust is kept off of them.

  4. ellinidata says:

    Pam,these are real treasures!!!maybe you should put them all from the same period in a frame! that will protect them and you can pass them down to your kids… lovely! thanks for sharing! :heart:

  5. PainterWoman says:

    Oh wow! So, I'm assuming Hoffman was a Nazi? Well, I wonder if I should even put these up. I'll have to check out the link later. I've got to drive my daughter in law to a class and won't be back till after 9pm. I have to wait there for her. I suppose if I get any hate mail, I'll take them down. Hmmmm…..

  6. Dudley says:

    Found this: "Hoffmann, Hitler's personal photographer,"http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/?page=article&article_id=194&catID=3

  7. AOTEAROAnz says:

    Wicked post Pamela! 🙂

  8. studio41 says:

    Interesting post, Pam!

  9. symphonied says:

    Wow! Angeliki's right, Pam. You should preserve these through the generations. It's so worth it!

  10. Huong Lan says:

    Dear Pam,Your father was very handsome when he was young. 😀 My mom still keeps most of the photos she was taken in the war. Those are our precious photos. It's a great idea that you are categorizing the postcards and will do research on the photographers. :)Lan

  11. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks everyone. I just got back and I worried the whole time I was gone. I didn't know that about Hoffman. There is even a postcard of Hitler in this collection but I chose not to post it. I just grabbed a few I thought were interesting. I would say my dad has over two thousand postcards…though I've never counted them. Yes, my dad was a handsome man. I wish I'd known him better. He was a quiet man with a monumental temper. Never said much at all unless he was angry. I think I mostly hid from him. I was trying to think of something positive about him and I loved his soldier photos and all the postcards. I used to look through the postcards every now and again and really am thrilled that I have them.

  12. nedjmek says:

    that's a real treasure that you have, make sure that your kids get them with the full history held behine each and every postcard; but first, get them out of that shoebox, would you?and it's very nice to have something that reminds us of the old days… all I have is a couple pics of my grandfater from the wwii, people in Algeria couldn't afford getting to the photograph, I believe it was even not allowd by the french colonists, unless to show them in the pourest and miserable way…

  13. gdare says:

    Those are very interesting and valuable postcards and photos you have about your father and that era. And, I think the fact that Hoffmann was declared as Hitler's personal photographer (by whom?) is not important now. Too much water passed under the bridge and his photography is just a mark of these times.About a month ago, I read a book about Otto Skorzeni, one of the most controversal soldiers in Hitler's army, commando that was most known by the action of releasing Musolini from capture in 1943. I have found him a real soldier even though he was an enemy back then.It would be even nicer if your father has left some written stories about his part in WWII, but I guess it was too much of a war for him.

  14. ricewood says:

    Please allow me as a person who's family has suffered significantly from Nazi as well as communist regimes to make a request:Never ever stop posting things showing the nature of one-party systems. If it's Nazi propaganda – show it, display it, and give it it's right name and description. If it's propaganda, call it propaganda. Show the Führer's face to the world. Tell the world that he killed almost as many people as Stalin did. Don't hush it down. What you're showing here is a treasure indeed. Because it's your Dad's collection – but also because it's a unique window through which we can see history unfold on it's own terms.

  15. PainterWoman says:

    Yes, I should be getting these out of the shoeboxes. Shoeboxes are made of cardboard and cardboard has acid in it, something I learned when learning how to mount and frame a drawing or painting. If you mount artwork on cardboard, either w/ glue or tape, the artwork, over time, will turn yellow from the acid in the cardboard plus you will have little splotches of darker yellow from whatever chemical was in the tape or glue. Never use glue and, if you use tape, use acid-free, white, surgical tape. And never use cardboard, use something called 'foam core'…acid free and archival safe. My father never spoke of the war, ever. Nor did he write much about it except for marking a few dates or names. I will be posting on my dad's collection again. There are so many postcards to choose from. I will also try to figure out what is said on the back of some of them so I can post a bit history. Thanks all.

  16. zetorres says:

    All are very beautiful!:):) Beautiful post Pamela! :):)

  17. thatgirl says:

    My grand father serv in war and his brother and he has some amazeing photos he took and even some after the war too. I really enjoy this post because remind me grandfather talks we had about why he left the ukraine with my grandmother and end up in work camp in Russia after the war. Any way getting off topic but i like this post really good post

  18. PainterWoman says:

    Graham, a nice tribute, thank you.Ze, thank you.Mel, I bet your grandfather has lots of stories to tell and I'm glad he has you to listen to them. To everyone else who commented, I know I didn't address each one of you but my head was in a bit of a fog due to the flu. I'm surprised I was able to say as much as I did.I'm going to check out those links more thoroughly now Andy. I've looked today for artists of that time as well as propoganda art. I'm not finding much information on individual artists only that if you didn't go along with what was wanted at the time, that is, to paint idealic paintings showing happy places and people, you feared for your life. Many of Hoffman's postcards were of photos of paintings and I'd like to find out more about the painters. There are many types of propoganda and this type was called 'euphoric' propoganda. I found this out on Wiki. Very interesting subject matter but some of the sites I entered were a bit scary and I didn't stay there long. I did find one on postcards of that time. I'll be researching this more.

  19. Weatherlawyer says:

    What Unit was he with?I just looked up hallenberg +"band of brothers":http://gofrance.about.com/cs/dday/a/ddaytour.htmI think there was a character or a town of that name in it.

  20. Weatherlawyer says:

    You can find out everything from the Veterans Association and from http://groups.google.com/group/us.military.history/topics?lnk=rghForget that link a spammer ruined it.Try this:http://groups.google.com/group/sci.military.naval/browse_frm/thread/242081ed576c306a#But I was thinking of Hugeneu or something like that. It's just that some of that stuff could have been Ardennes.Mind you it could have been Vladivostok for all I know.When you have posted the photos, ask on that group with the link.BTW. Your dad would still have been shell shocked when you knew him. There was no treatment for it in those days. In fact that was a good thing as the only one for years when it came out was Valium.I think we called it LMF or something, so you can imagine he'd not want anyone to know he Lacked Moral Fiber. So he'd try to bottle it until a sharp noise sent him on a sudden rage he couldn't control.Your life could have been worse:

    Also remember your father had come from a country that had never known war if you don't count a few days in 1918. A sharp-shooter would have been at the front end of everything the lads did.Who would he talk to about any of that. Everyone in Britain had known fear and bombs. All the French knew the war intimately. As did the Poles, Dutch and everyone. Only Canada and Australia were out of it. But they had a military tradition that would have given them back-up.Not even your mother or his family could help him. What would he have been.. 23 years old -going on 45 when he came out 3 years later? Split up from his friends and no one to share the experiences.Come to think of it, my dad was torpedoed a couple of times. He was a bit of an arsehole and all. Couldn't have been easy, 5 years at sea and no let up to the fear.I was always being told off for playing noisily. I hated rainy days. But it made me go out when it was dry. Swings and roundabouts, eh?I remember a programme where there was this old man reminiscing. He'd never spoken about it but he was with their scout and they split up. And he heard something that made him nervous and then he shot his mate.And it took him 50 or 60 years to find someone he could relate that to. Another old soldier in the programme. These two old men who had never seen each other before, just sitting there, chatting.Like old friends.Relaxed.Quietly…with long pauses..Telling the most hideous stories.He said he couldn't tell anyone in the squad what had happened.How could he?So he had to go through the rest of the war as well as the rest of his life carrying that. All because politicians lacked gumption in the 1930's.What would he have been in the 1930's? When you are eating and sleeping with the same 20 blokes for weeks on end and going on leave with them and your shit all smelling the same and all the hardships exactly the same and the laughs peculiar to that shared experience.And then helping each other through the tragedies…And he couldn't get THAT off his chest. Imagine that.

  21. PainterWoman says:

    I really don't know what unit he was with. I'd have to do lots of digging in some old photos and papers. I believe my sister has a document of his with regards to his marksmanship so I will check with her. It should have what unit he was in.

  22. Weatherlawyer says:

    Originally posted by me:

    All because politicians lacked gumption in the 1930's.[/url]That's democracy for you!It's amazing what people will vote for if they are not going to be the ones who will be sent in to kill.

  23. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks for your comments Weatherlawyer. I agree, who would he have talked to? When I was much younger and looking through his soldier photos and postcards, I never thought of war and what it did to those who came back. It was only much later in my life, that I realized the war was a big part of why he was 'the quiet man' with a temper that shocked your senses.

  24. Weatherlawyer says:

    There is no excuse for bad behaviour but once you get like that you can't keep a lid on it. You have a drink to relax and its like a devil creeps in and the memories and regrets come flooding back and you rage against the machine but all you end up doing is chasing ghosts and killing love.If you are in an abusive situation you have to get out or they will never see sense and come back to be a bloody nuisance instead of the person you fear and hate.But where can a woman with children go? And what will the neighbours say? So they have to go back for more.That's the trouble with rigid cultures and religions that are more superstition than good sense. As if closing your eyes and putting your hands together makes it alright.It's closing your eyes that does the real damage in the first place. You get all these religious maniacs going to church or mosque and bowing and praying and closing their eyes to god.They don't close their eyes when they are shooting at you do they?If I was god I'd close my eyes whenever they came for help. And that my dear is why the world is like it is. It's being run by fecking idiots or outright criminals.And religious maniacs.If there is a god, I can't imagine him blessing any of them. Can you?Bastards!!!

  25. PainterWoman says:

    I forgot to thank you for that new link. I have saved it in 'favorites' in case someone else responds. Next week, I plan to go the Veteran's Administration to see what I can find out. Somewhere in the few belongings of my dads is another small box. There are some handwritten notes…something about a bridge. The notes actually look like they are a carbon copy…remember the old carbon paper? I had never seen these before and got goosebumps when reading them. I MUST find them again. They will be in another post along w/ more postcards and photos of my dad. I am just realizing this is a major catharsis for me. The goosebumps are coming in waves.

  26. gdare says:

    Please, do another post, I am very curious too 😀

  27. PainterWoman says:

    I have no idea. I'm not a techie. When it comes to bugs, out comes the bug spray. :p

  28. Weatherlawyer says:

    Hey.Post:By Weatherlawyer, # 7. December 2008, 07:36:39used the wrong code for the quote but it still worked.Instead of closing with:/quoteI closed with:/urlIs that a bug or a feature?

    I wonder what else I can get away with[/]

  29. Weatherlawyer says:

    Hmmm…Good luck.Better get a big box of man sized tissues. (I wonder why they make bigger tissues for men?)BTW.That woman with the fish and the wellies looks like she's off an advert for AngloDutch Petroleum. (Shell.)

  30. PainterWoman says:

    Gregory Peck and the movie was To Kill a Mockingbird, not Catcher in the Rye.

  31. PainterWoman says:

    He kinda did look like Elvis. Many people thought so. There's an actor he looks like too who people mistook him for. Can't think of his name at the moment. He was in Catcher in the Rye and a bunch of movies in the 40's and 50's. I'll remember it in a minute. Or, better yet, check the Movie Database. IMDb or something like that.

  32. Suntana says:

    Is it just me, my imagination or does that 1st Pic have an ever so slight resemblance to Elvis Presley?Cool Pics, Pam. Brings thoughts of watching good movies like Memphis Belle, Saving Private Ryan, Etc.

  33. PainterWoman says:

    I don't know Ed. Being as two of my children tend to throw stuff out, it won't go to them, and I don't think the youngest would be interested. I'll keep them for awhile and do more research.To tell you the truth, if I could sell them, I would. I could sure use the money, but I doubt they're worth much. Or, donate them to an historical museum. I'm going to be making some phone calls next week about all this.

  34. edwardpiercy says:

    Wow, that looks to be a very impressive collection. :up: :up:What do you think you will do with them all? Down the road, of course.

  35. Weatherlawyer says:

    Turn them into a picture book and offer it to Steven Spielberg or Tom Hanks. Base the story on your experiences not your dad's.It will be the backdrop to almost all us Babyboomers. No one has ever told the story.When you are rich and famous, don't forget us.Write your thoughts from now; intersperse it with the biography. Make it interesting. Get a new house, Rolls Royce a toy-boy and…..Then show it all off to your ex.Pay-back.Boom boom!

  36. PainterWoman says:

    😆 By the time I'd be rich and famous, I'd be too old to really enjoy it. Don't want to be either really. A slightly bigger house would do and extra gas money…and maybe split pea soup at Mimi's Cafe every Monday.:D Plus, I'm not really the show it off type…well maybe my artwork…nor am I the get even type. We shall see what happens after all my phone calls. I would at least like to get more info from the Veteran's Admin.

  37. edwardpiercy says:

    Two words: Antiques Roadshow. :lol:Seriously, you might consider some archive. That wouldn't be a money thing for you, but if you can't sell them it would at least be a good home.

  38. PainterWoman says:

    Antique Roadshow is great. I love it when someone's bought something for five bucks at a garage sale and it's worth tens of thousands!

  39. Weatherlawyer says:

    Last word on the subject for me:If you go public with this stuff you give up all anonymity. You belong to the general public and the gutter press. Some good and some bad. I am as curious as hell about this stuff. But most of it is nosey parkering.I would like to feel you profited by it all in some way -both spiritually and financially. But if it is a choice of one or the other choose the spiritual road.Then the world will either ignore you or beat down your door. And that will be on your terms.The war was old before he joined up. It started with Sudetenland and Chekoslovakia and people turning blind eyes. It was going on in Spain and China all through the thirties.He probably was inspired with high ideals and pictures of Guernica. …Stories of labour camps. He wanted only to help, do his bit. He was a chosen man in his squad. He was probably wearing his heart on his sleeve.People like that get hurt the worst and have so much to do to try and get back to normal and there is no normal.Their foundations are ruptured and they still try to fit in. I have never seen a Hollywood film from that era dealing with it. They were all gung ho and John Wayne Americanism.Was it for him?John Wayne was a draught dodger and a serial adulterer or absconder or some such. Not so much a model soldier as a model Presidunce. Imagine trying to deal with putting down roots into a community where having a friend who was a touch tanned would mark you as a commie.And him fighting for freedom with all sorts of races, tribes and tongues. (Get yourself a copy of Band of Brothers and a box of tissues and force yourself to see your father in it.)Or maybe he was a racist. No different from everyone else in that case in those days.Be careful of what you ask for. You might find out more than you wanted to know. What if he liked killing? (I don't believe that! Not for one minute. Those are pictures to keep a man sane not feed a demon.)Be careful though. Talk it over with your family. This is them too, not just you. I really hope for the very best for you.I mean that. I mean it!*******Liked the Chris Rea.I have that on a CD. He is a Geordie to hear him speak. You'd never guess at his accent from his singing voice.At least it isn't the plaintive Kenny Rogers "limping lilts" so common in pseuda-pop these days.

  40. PainterWoman says:

    I doubt I'll talk it over with family, my children, yes, but that's all. No one else had the interest in the postcards or in doing the research so it is my quest and I want the glory, so to speak, no matter what I find out. Maybe it's a bit selfish of me but, for personal reasons, that's the way it is. All the Chris Rea music I have is on cassette tapes. I can play them at home but not in my car as it only plays CDs. Another expense to go on my wish list.

  41. Weatherlawyer says:

    Oh!Odd. Over here we consider our children to be family.You really do have your work cut out for you.Good luck.

  42. PainterWoman says:

    Not sure what you think is odd. I didn't say my children weren't family.

  43. DBabbit says:

    These are some incredible photos, Pam. I do hope you show some more. Whatever the photos may be – do share. Nazi photos should be shown to remind us that in this world, it is better to remember History, least it is repeated.

  44. PainterWoman says:

    Oh, I will be Babs. I'll probably scan more in this weekend. I got in touch with the VA and they sent me to their website to fill out a 'next of kin' form for military records. Filled it out, got a number, now I have to print it out and sign it and fax to them. Hopefully, it won't be raining tomorrow and I'll do that because the number is good for only 30 days.

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