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Identify military uniform and medals #germany #general #photographs


Fig, Lorraine
 

This photograph was found in my great-grandmother's collection without any identifying information or date.  I would appreciate any help you can provide about the type of uniform and medals and date of photograph that might give a clue as to the identity of the subject.  The family originally lived in Suwalki Gubernia (Poland) but moved to East Prussia and had relatives in Germany.
Thank you.

Lorraine Fig Shapiro,
Ann Arbor, MI

Researching: SLADOWSKY (Suwalki and East Prussia), LUDWINOWSKI (Suwalki and East Prussia), FIG (Lithuania), CHAPMAN (UK)


serhiy1999@...
 

It should be German military uniform (looks like the full-dress) of the period of WW1 or a little-bit earlier.
Regards,
Igor Holyboroda,
Lviv-Lwow-Lemberg, Ukraine 


Bernard Flam
 

Hi Ann,
Hi igor,
I write from Paris.
Igor is perfectly right and medal is "Iron cross of WW1".
Khavershaft
Bernard Flam
Archives & history of Medem Center - Arbeter Ring (Bund -Workmen Circle of France)


Robert Murowchick
 

Great photo! As others have noted, the top medal looks like an example of the WWI German Iron Cross https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Cross (different versions were produced, and it is hard to see any details, but it likely looks like the photo attached). 

The lower medal is harder to make out, but it seems to be the Friedrich August Cross 2nd Class from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. According to various websites, this medal was established in September 1914 for all ranks and was the Grand Duchy’s equivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross for bravery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich-August-Kreuz
--

Robert Murowchick    <robertmurowchick AT gmail.com>
Needham, MA

Researching these family links:
MUROWCHICK/MURAWCHICK/MURAWCZYK etc (David-Gorodok and Luninyets area, Belarus; New Jersey, Chicago)
KUNECK/KONIK/KYONIK (Kozhan-Gorodok, Belarus)
EPSTEIN/EPSTINE (Gavish/Gavieze, Liepaja, Latvia)
SEGAL/SIEGEL (Tilsit, Koenigsburg, Germany; Baltimore; Chicago)


Fig, Lorraine
 

Many thanks for your replies.  Great appreciated.  A few follow up questions (sorry but I know nothing about this subject):
1.  Are there uniform details that would help to identify German vs. Prussian?  Any regimental details, etc?
2.  Does the lower medal explain more about why the Iron Cross was awarded, or are the 2 medals totally separate (awarded for separate conduct)?
3.  Are there any lists of WWI awardees that would help to identify the subject?
Thank you!

Lorraine Fig Shapiro
Ann Arbor, MI

Researching: SLADOWSKY (Suwalki and East Prussia), LUDWINOWSKI (Suwalki and East Prussia), FIG (Lithuania), CHAPMAN (UK)


itencorinne@...
 

Hi Lorraine

Do you know the name, place of birth, date of birth and the place where he lived when WWI started?

1. There was not one German army in the WWI, there were the Prussian Army, the Bavarian Army, the Baden Army, the Württemberg Army.
The Stammrollen (Service Records) of the Prussian Army were destroyed during WWII (that's the biggest part of all soldiers in WWI).
The Stammrollen of the Bavarian Army are online on ancestry, the others are online on the Baden and Württemberg archives websites.

2. There is a great variety of reasons why someone received the Iron Cross (there was the Iron Cross 2. Class and 1. Class).

3. There are no Lists of WWI awardees, but you can see in the service records which awards someone received.

There are Lists of Losses (with soldiers who died, were wounded, were missed or POWs).
http://des.genealogy.net/eingabe-verlustlisten/search

There are also other lists for POWs on the database of the Red Cross (ICRC in Geneva).
https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Search

Regards

Corinne Iten
Switzerland


Fig, Lorraine
 

Hello Corinne and others, 
Thank you for your replies.  Unfortunately, I don't know any details about the person in the photo and can only guess that he would have come from East Prussia or Berlin based on family history.  The names I am researching there are Sladowsky/i and Ludwinowsky/i. 

I did find a few Sladowskis in the "List of Losses" and one Sladowski in the POW list but they did not seem to be the right persons.  I saw the word "Ort" but do not know if that referred to the home towns or to the place where the army was stationed.

I looked at the Wurttemberg archive website and there was some information though I did not find a searchable database. 

On Ancestry.com I found the "Germany & Austria, Directories of Military and Marine Officers, 1600-1918".  There was a "Dr. Sladowsky" listed in the years 1900-1908, but no first name was listed.  There was a Dr. Max Sladowsky in our family (a dentist).  Dr. Sladowsky was listed in the Landwehrbezirf III Berlin.  In the later years he had "LD2" written after his name which I think is the Landwehr Division Reserves (men between 35-45 years).  However, in 1908 Max would have been only 28 years of age, so that doesn't really make sense.  Also, there were no medals listed beside his name (some other people on the list did have medals listed).  If I have misunderstood these military details, please advise.

Kind regards,
Lorraine Fig Shapiro
Ann Arbor, MI 


Jx. Gx.
 

Hi Lorraine.

You got some excellent information from Robert and Corinne. Let me add a few bits of info. Your relative is wearing the Iron Cross First Class and I believe these were issued by the national government as opposed to state medals. That is why it is pinned above the other medal. I agree with Robert that the lower medal is almost certainly the "Friedrich August Cross 2nd Class from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg."  Incidentally, the Iron Cross Second Class had a ring at the top and was suspended by a ribbon. When worn on the uniform, the ribbon was partially tucked into a button hole on the uniform. As the numbering implies, the Iron Cross First Class was of a higher order. During WWI, about 218,000 Iron Cross First Class medals were awarded. Upwards of 5 million Iron Cross Second Class medals were awarded. I can't make out the rank on the uniform or which regiment he belonged to because all that information would be indicated on the shoulder straps that are obscured and is photographed in black & white. He is definitely an officer and given his age I would guess anywhere from a major, lieutenant colonel to a full colonel. 

Jeffrey Gee
Arizona  


Fig, Lorraine
 

Dear Jeffrey and everyone,
Thank you for your information.  I have learned a tremendous amount from your expertise.

Another mystery - It was noticed by a family member that there are 2 small holes on the left chest of the uniform, some distance above the medals.  The holes look like they are from a medal that was originally placed there.  Or could it have been a name badge?  And why would he not be wearing whatever used to be pinned there?  
Thank you,
Lorraine Fig Shapiro
Ann Arbor, MI


Jx. Gx.
 

Lorraine,

The "two small holes" you mention between the first and second button on the uniform look like specks on the image, not holes. They did not wear name tags on their uniforms and I've never seen any medal/award posted in that position on a WWI German uniform.

Jeffrey Gee
Arizona


itencorinne@...
 

Hi Lorraine

If your ancestors came from East Prussia or Berlin they were most probably in the Prussian army, so no service records survived.
The place mentionned in the "Lists o Losses" in most cases is the place of birth, but sometimes it is the place where he lived.
Sometimes there is also mentionned the date of birth (but often without the year).

You can only search in the service records of the Baden army and the Württemberg army if you know which unit (regiment and company) he belonged to.
The service records of the Baden army and the ones of the Württemberg army could be found on two different archives websites.

This is for the Baden army: Kriegsstammrollen 1914-1918, Kriegsformationen
https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de/ofs21/olf/struktur.php?bestand=13908

This is for the Württemberg army: Militärische Bestände 1871 - ca 1920, Kriegsstammrollen
https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de/ofs21/suche/findbuecher_mit_digitalisaten.php?archiv=1

As far as I know for a Jewish man it was impossible to reach a rank as high as major, lieutenant colonel or full colonel. 
Also a man with such a high rank would have been awarded with much more than only two or three medals.

Regards

Corinne Iten
Switzerland


I looked at the Wurttemberg archive website and there was some information though I did not find a searchable database. 


Gerald and Margaret
 

Attached is a 1918 painting of my grandfather, Ernst RACHWALSKY in the German army.  Very similar uniform.  

Margaret LEVIN nee STEIN
London UK


Fig, Lorraine
 

Thank you, Corinne for additional information which was very helpful.  Margaret - what a wonderful painting - you are so lucky to have that treasure!
So, I finally found some family information that might be relevant, but I have no idea if it pertains to the subject in the photograph.

In 1913, my GG Uncle (Abraham Sladowski) living in East Prussia was seeking Citizenship.  A reference by a local official in East Prussia wrote a letter of recommendation for him.  In this letter it states "The eldest son is naturalized, served in the 52nd field artillery regiment and was released early". 
I see that the 52nd field artillery regiment has the following details in Wikipedia (below).  Would this information fit in any way to the person in the photo who was born in 1861 in Poland and lived in East Prussia, near Tilsit, from about 1890 onwards?  
52nd (2nd East Prussian) Field Artillery 25 March 1899 Königsberg  

Thank you all for your patience with my questions.
Kind regards,
Lorraine Shapiro,
Ann Arbor, MI