What is the meaning of this sign being displayed by POWs in WWI? #austria-czech #hungary #translation #photographs


N. Summers
 

I recently found a photograph of a group of men (including my gf) holding a sign which says "RPZAA 28". But the sign probably is not in English as the photo was taken in a WWI POW camp, probably located in the Austro-Hungary Empire. There are also 2 men, one on either side of the main sign, holding small signs which say "10" and "48". Does anyone know what these signs mean?

My gf was in the Russian Army in WWI, probably aligned with the White Army rather than the Red Army. He was Jewish and came to the US in 1920.  During the war I believe he served as a translator and was likely an officer. He broke his leg and was sent to a (military) hospital, possibly in Danzig. After that, he was sent to a POW facility. At the end of the war he went to Ostrog, Poland (now Ukraine) to join his family.

I've been looking online for Russian Army records for Sol Finkelstein but have not yet found one which could be my gf (I assume he served on the Eastern Front, in Austria-Hungary).

I will also post this photo on View-Mate.

thanks for any ideas you may have.

--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


mvayser@...
 

There wasn't a White or Red Army during WWI, There was just a Russian Imperial Army.  These Red, White, Green, etc terms refer to the Russian military during the Civil War 1917-1922, after the country exited the war.
The uniforms on the photo appear to be Austro-Hungarian, the text is not written in Russian.  This text is likely an abbreviation of the name of the military unit.

Mike Vayser


Stephen Weinstein
 

On Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 10:37 AM, N. Summers wrote:
RPZAA
In land use planning near airports, RPZAA is an acronym for either Runway Protection Zone Alternatives
Analysis or Runway Protection Zone/Airport Approach.  I don't know why it would be on a sign in a POW camp in WWI.  It seems like it would have to be a coincidence, but the odds of five random letters all matching by chance are less than 1 in 11 million.
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Stephen Weinstein
Camarillo, California, USA
stephenweinstein@...


aviator6081@...
 

It might be the abbreviation for the name of the POW camp and the number of the camp. The uniforms of the POWs include French, Italian and Russian soldiers, so the language used is probably German to align with the language of the captors.

Eric Benjaminson
Chicago, IL USA
oregon81@...


casmith24@...
 

Nancy, what an interesting question! I have a hunch it's a postal abbreviation, based on this postcard I found:

 

https://znaczki-pl.com/en/auctions/lot/81/4/4/348661 

 

Note: This is a Polish website, looks a bit like EBay, but the postcard being sold was mailed in 1917 to Vienna from what appears to be a military site in Kozienice (Poland). Check out the sender's address (left-hand pane of the postcard).
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Catherine Arnott Smith
Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA


Elise Cundiff
 

I wonder if either the War Museum in Dresden, or the Museum of the Great War in Meaux, France, could be of assistance?   These are just two museums that a quick google search turned up - there might be others, and better, regarding information about POWs/POW camps in Austro-Hungary or Germany during WW1.

Elise Cundiff
Ohio, USA

Markus (Lithuania or Poland)
Zieve (Malat, Lithuania)


rroth@...
 

Google Translate on the description of the card says "1917 card sent from the Kozienice stage mail to Vienna with the formation stamp "R.P.Z.A.A. KOZIENICE No. 5 / in Wilcza Wola". I agree this must be a geographic or postal abbreviation.
--

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Robert Roth
Kingston, NY
rroth@...


Maciej Łopaciński
 

RPZAA - Russische Polnische Zivill Arbeit Abteilung

National Archive in Kielce there are files of R.P.Z.A.A. Kozienice No. 5 Wilcza Wola 

Account files: R.P.Z.A.A. Kozienice No. 5 Wilcza Wola - procurement reports, letters of payment
https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/jednostka/-/jednostka/15084789

 

Maciej Łopaciński


rroth@...
 

Russische Polnische Zivill Arbeit Abteilung  =  Russian Polish Civil Labor Department
(Google Translate strikes again)

Sounds like the polite term for a forced labor situation

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Robert Roth
Kingston, NY
rroth@...


John Kovacs
 

At looking at the photograph of the men, I believe that they are wearing the same or similar that I am familiar with the same that the Hungarian soldiers wore in the 1930 or 40s.  I am not familiar as to what the Austrians wore at the same time, but they could be the same or similar..  I don't know what the letters and numbers mean, but my guess is that it could have been the designation of the unit of the "soldiers" in the photo. 
John J. Kovacs


N. Summers
 

Wowza! thanks for the info about the uniforms--i have some closeup photos of my gf in a uniform with no insignia. It has been suggested that it might be a uniform given to him as a pow; he broke his leg during the war and was sent to a hospital before the camp. It seems likely that his uniform was damaged and discarded. Knowing the uniforms of the others in the photo is a really important clue as to what his life there was like.

As for the abbreviation I received a suggestion which seems right on the money:

Russische Polnische Zivil Arbeit Abteilung

Language: German

Russian Polish Civil Labor Department

Thanks to everyone for your help.
--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine; Kremenets, Belarus)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


N. Summers
 

Thank you so much for this info about the white army designation. My dad always told me to remember that 'there was a difference between the red russians and the white russians' but I was never really sure which one his family belonged to.  And it'sreally helpful to know that the uniforms were A-H. I think Sol was held in Austria after a time in a POW hospital (which might have been in Danzig). Would the fact that they are wearing uniforms mean they were officers? Since Sol served as a translator I've assumed he was an officer.

Do you know whether POWs from different countries were held in the same buildings? Even tho they spoke different languages? Another JG member thought that the group members were wearing uniforms from different countries, but it seems unlikely to me that their original uniforms would have survived capture and transport to the camp.

--

Nancy Summers

Maryland, USA

 

FINKELSTEIN, BOOKSTEIN, KOENIG/SUKOENIG, LUSMAN, GOLDINER, SAGORODER/ZAGORODER (Radziwillow, Belarus/Ukraine; Ostrog, Poland/Belarus; Warsaw, Poland; Wolinsky, Russia/Ukraine)

LISS / ALPER  (Motol, Russia/Belarus)

LEAF / LIFSCHITZ ( Rechitsa, Belarus)


Ellen Garshick
 

Nancy, I see that you have ancestors from Radzivilov. Our Kremenets-district group has translated many records from Radzivilov, including some vital records for the Zagoroder family. There are more than 100 entries in the Indexed Concordance of Personal Names and Town Names (a name-town index; see see https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kremenets/web-pages/database/krem_search_frm.html) for Zagarader/Zagoroder (and more than 440,000 entries overall). If you find records of interest, let me know!

(The main towns in the Kremenets district are Belozirka, Berezhtsy, Folwarki Wielkie, Katerburg, Kozin, Kremenets, Krupets, Lanovtsy, Oleksinets, Pochayev, Podbereztsy, Radzivilov, Rokhmanov, Shumsk, Sosnivka, Staryy Aleksinets, Vishnevets, Vyshgorodok, and Yampol.)

-- 

Ellen Garshick

Co-Coordinator, Kremenets Research Area/Jewish Records Indexing-Poland

an activity of the Kremenets District Research Group

http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Kremenets

KremenetsDRG@...

Researching BAT, AVERBAKH from Kremenets, Shumsk, Katerburg, and Folvarki, Ukraine; GERSHIK, HURWITCH from Staryye Dorogi and Bobruisk, Belarus; ROTHKOPF (ROTKOP), GOLDBERG from Bialystok, Poland, and Baranivichi and Slonim, Belarus