WW2 photographs brought back by grandfather

Discussion in '1940' started by chick42-46, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    I’ve recently been handed an album of photographs, as well as a bundle of loose photos, that my grandfather apparently brought back from Europe after the end of WW2. It’s not clear who the album belonged to. What annotations do exist are in English and French, rather than German, but the assumption in the family has always been that the photos came from Germany.

    I’m posting the photos as they may be of interest to the folk who frequent WW2talk. Many are of towns in France and Belgium. The early pages are mainly just general views and seem to be pre-war or early war. Later the photos start to depict ruins and the results of bomb damage, in particular in Nivelles and Ostend. There are then some pages headed “1940-41” which show crashed aircraft, including a dead airman, German troops and various scenes of destruction, culminating in photos of Dunkirk.

    The loose photos are a mix of what appear to be German mountains and forests but also more photos that appear to be of Dunkirk. Some of these are numbered, which suggest they were purchased as a set rather than taken by the person who had them. Finally there are photos of what I think are Germany in 1936 (there are Olympic flags in a few as well as the Nazi banners).

    Here are the first few pages, which relate to Ghent (also labelled in the album as Gand) in Belgium.

    Attached Files:

  2. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Next lot - labelled Gand and Antwerp


    Attached Files:

  3. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    First page below unlabelled, second page labelled Gand, third page unlabelled but appears to be Brussels, as is the fourth page.



    View attachment 92444

  4. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    More shots of Brussels, Antwerp (I think) and Mons




  5. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Mostly small postcards rather than photos on the first page here (Mons again?), then back to photos for Waterloo



  6. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Definitely war time from now on, with pictures of damage caused by bombing to Nivelles and Ostend




    View attachment 92456


  7. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    These last 6 pages are headed "1940-41".

    The first page contains a picture of a dead allied airman (poor bugger).:(:poppy:






    View attachment 92464
  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    As you say, something of an enigma. It has all the looks of a German album but with English captions. If someone filled them in afterwards, then they had a good knowledge of Belgian and French towns.
  9. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Rich, definitely a bit of a mystery. My grandfather came back with a lot of stuff he'd "liberated". As a kid, I remember sets of postcards of Nuremberg (all Albert Speer architecture and Nazi banners) as well as sets of silver spoons. Most of it was sold when he died (or so I thought - I suspect there are still some bits and bobs around in storage since my grandmother went into a nursing home).

    He also had the attached photographs, which appear to be of Berlin in 1936. I recognise the Alexanderhaus (still on Alexanderplatz) as well as the Brandenburg Gate.



    Berlin 1936_0001.jpg

    Berlin 1936_0002.jpg

    Berlin 1936_0003.jpg
  10. drongen

    drongen Junior Member

    First page of 3rd lot is also Brussels.

    These are all very well known, lots of prints are still around. They were the work of local photographers and were sold in their shops and in tourist shops. At first to the Germans and after the liberation also to the liberators. Your grandfather probably bought these during his stay in Belgium shortly after the liberation.

  11. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

    Hi Peter

    Thanks for the help here. I was pretty sure the photos in the album were bought from somewhere, rather than the work of, say, a single person taking their own photos. As a bit of an amateur photographer myself, they are "too good"!

    Whether my grandfather bought them and stuck them in an album, or whether he just "acquired" it later, I'll never know. None of the writing in the album matches any of his handwriting, so I suspect it originally belonged to someone esle and he just picked this up, as you say, somewhere in NW Europe in '44 or '45 when he was there. He was definitely in Belgium in late '44 and early '45 then in Germany. The family story is he brought them back from Germany but that doesn't mean he picked them up in Germany - he was all over the place and may have carried these around for a few months.



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