German SIG #Germany Unusual WWI Postcard from Berlin to Linz, Austria on Viewmate--help requested in reading the German and overall analysis #germany


Jeffrey Knisbacher
 

Actually, my first question is whether this card really is unusual?
Do any of you researchers have anything similar or have you seen
anything similar?

Here is the background: My paternal grandfather Isak Moses
(Yitzkhaq Moshe, after whom I am named) KNISBACHER, born 1887 in Lysiec,
Galicia, died Sept. 28, 1918 in Berlin, Germany of the swine flu that
killed tens of millions worldwide. The postcard that I have put up on
Viewmate (2 views of the writing on the back, which is in two different
directions, so you don't have to rotate the image, and the picture of a
hospital room on the front) is >from my grandfather, apparently >from his
hospital bed, writing to his brother who had remained in Lysiec and was
therefore serving in the Austro-Hungarian army, in a unit associated
with Linz. (LInz is a fascinating cultural town, but also was claimed by
Hitler as his hometown for which he had great plans!) The brother was
Hermann BONNER or BANNER, using their mother's maiden name. My second
question: Which one is it--BONNER or BANNER?

Here are the three URLs to see the three different views of the card:

http://www.jewishgen.org/viewmate/viewmateview.asp?key=VM41804
http://www.jewishgen.org/viewmate/viewmateview.asp?key=VM41805
http://www.jewishgen.org/viewmate/viewmateview.asp?key=VM41806



The card was supplied by the late Dina KAHAN, about 20 years ago,
one of the twin daughters of Hermann and his wife Hannah WARTELSKI. The
family moved to Königsberg after the war and later escaped to Shanghai,
where the parents died of disease, but the daughters survived. One thing
that immediately strikes you on the back (writing) side of the card is
that there is no postage stamp. Instead there is an outgoing
cancellation >from Berlin that is reminiscent of the APO (Army Post
Office) postage in this country in WWII, which did not require any
postage stamp. But there is a second, apparently incoming, cancellation,
apparently >from Linz, Austria (at least Dina had related in a separate
note that her father had served in a unit in Linz, and also provided a
picture of Hermann in uniform, which I have not included here). The card
went out March 14, 1917, to Linz, and apparently arrived a week later on
March 21, 1917. Third question: Can anyone explain the g 54 on the
outgoing cancellation--exactly where in Berlin that came from? (I am
guessing it is the area around Linienstrasse-Grenadierstrasse that was
closely associated with my family.) Fourth question: Can anyone say
anything more precise about the incoming cancellation? Was this the
usual procedure in European military mail, to have two cancellations?

Since I am reasonably proficient in reading German, I don't need
help with translation so much as simply reading the handwritten FRAKTUR,
especially as it is also faded. To help with the legibility I have
decreased the Brightness and increased the Contrast on the first two
images to make the writing as clear as I can get it. What I think I read
on the first card, the part of the address portion that I can read, at
the bottom, is this. Do you all agree that this is correct?

Hern (should be Herrn?)
Inft (Infantry or Private?) H. Banner (or Bonner?)
Linz a/Donau (Linz on the Danube?)
Postlageramnt (Camp post office?)
Oestereich (Austria)

Directly above the cancellations is a large 21/4--any idea what
that refers to? The Berlin cancellation also has some numbers beyond the
date 14.3.17 and there is an extra N after Berlin. Any idea what those
mean? Presumably the C3 in the incoming cancellation refers to a
specific area in Linz. Can anyone identify it? Finally, at the very top
of this view of the card there are two lines. I can read the end of the
first line, which apparently repeats Inft. Baner (or Boner, but with
just on N), but I can't read what comes before that seems to start with
a word beginning with the letter A. On the second line, there appear to
be two words, the second of which, partially obscured by the first
cancellation, may be Berlin. Can anyone read that line?

The next view, the URL ending in 1805, contains the actual message
but begins with the name of the Photographic Inst. (Anstalt) that was
responsible for the picture on the front: Photographic Copier Institute:
Karl Kelz (has anyone else heard of this place? Did they regularly take
pictures of hospital rooms or patients? Was that a regular practice in
Germany at this time or in Europe in general? Or was the picture taken
by someone else, perhaps a relative and then taken to Karl Kelz to be
made into a postcard?) What does the Brandenburg am H. Parduin 12 refer
to? Can we locate it precisely? What about the
handwriting to the left z. something that I can't read, much less interpret?

On to the message. Here is where I have the greatest difficulty and
where the text is possibly most important. At the beginning I can read
the words In besten (in the best) but almost nothing more until the
third, fourth and fifth lines which are apparently "deinem Bruder, Isak
Knisbacher, Berlin...." (your brother Isak Knisbacher). Probably the
word before 'deinem' is 'von' (from), but I'm not at all sure and can't
read the end of line 1 and most or all of line 2. And on line 5, after
'Berlin' there appears to be a "den" and the number 13. I am probably
not reading that correctly, but if I am, could it refer to the 13th of
March, implying that he wrote it on the 13th but the card did not go out
till the next day?

Now on to the picture (the URL ending in 1806). My father's aunt
Dina had told me that the man sitting in front in the chair was my
grandfather, whom she referred to as Isak Banner or Bonner (not clear
which even in her separate note). Only when looking closely at this
picture now, many years after it was sent to me, I noticed that the sign
on the back wall reads Kriegsbeschädigte Fürsorge (Care for the war
wounded? or for war casualties, or disabled veterans, or all of the
above?) Does this mean that my grandfather served in the war and was one
of the wounded? If so, we never heard that story and I doubt that my
father knew of it or we would have. Or could my grandfather simply have
been in the same hospital that was treating the war wounded? If my
grandfather was wounded in the war, especially if it was a gas attack
that affected his respiration, I am guessing that might have made him
especially susceptible to the flu a year later. Could this have been a
Jewish hospital, as my grandfather was very orthodox? Are there any
surviving records of those who signed up or were conscripted for service
in the German army in WWI? Can anyone read any of the numerous signs on
the left wall in this picture? Do the striped pajamas that all the
patients are wearing indicate military garb or simply hospital garb? Can
anyone see anything else in this picture that I have not noticed that
might be signifcant? And, again, does anyone else have anything similar
to this?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. Even if you can't,
I hope you find this card as interesting and challenging as I do!

Jeff Knisbacher

Please thank those who help you and support ViewMate, JewishGen
and GerSIG
http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/Honors/
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