When my maternal Grandmother passed away in 1991, I inherited a few items of my Grandfather’s.  Among them was an intriguing German book from World War II entitled:  “…dass niemand sagen kann, er kenne deutschland…” or “that no one can say … that he knew Germany …“.  It’s a book about “Munich, The spirit of a German city”, commissioned by the Mayor of the City, published in 1939.  Munich is cited as the “Capital of the National Movement” and it’s a book of propaganda.  From a photography perspective, the book is full of high quality, black & white images.

Front Cover

The book is full of interesting, high quality, B&W photography

Interesting caption……

What is most intriguing about the book from a personal perspective, is that inside my Grandfather, who served in the British Army, has written his name, service number and POW number, there is also the stamp of the Camp; “Stalag VII A Gepruft”.  As my Grandfather passed away in 1980, when I was just 10, I don’t know his story, and how, why, or when the book came into his possession.  The only thing I do remember him telling me of his experiences in WWII, is that he flew in a Lancaster Bomber, spending the whole trip on his stomach.  That was enough to excite and amaze a small Grandson!

My Grandfather; this is a photo he sent to my Grandmother during the war.

My Grandfather’s writing inside the book

I do know he was in the Essex Regiment as I also have his cap badge (see image), and having spoken with my Mother, he was based in Dorset somewhere.  We’re going to ask relatives if they have more information before I have to pay out for access to military records.

Cap Badge of the Essex Regiment

Having completed a bit of research online, I’ve found out that there are other copies of the book, and on Moosburg.org, another copy is mentioned, with the soldier also having written their details in the front covers.  I’ve also found this information about the Camp;

“Shortly after the beginning of World War II in September 1939, a POW camp called Kriegsgefangenen-Mannschafts-Stammlager (Stalag) VII A was established north of Moosburg. Originally it was planned for 10,000 prisoners, but at the end of the war some 80,000 Allied soldiers were detained in the main camp and its labour kommandos.

In 1945 US troops occupied Moosburg and liberated the POWs. Until 1948 the camp served as Civilian Internment Camp No. 6 with up to 12,000 German prisoners who were accused of having supported the Nazi dictatorship.”  More information is available on Wikipedia.

Images Copyright Dale Rockell Photography

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