Ok…So we found THIS during Rare Book Inventory.

Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte. Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Grossdeutschland, 1940. Book is in Special Collections Research Center, Rare Books, DB 96 .H63.

We are in the midst of doing an inventory or our rare books collection in SCRC. While working in the folio section, a colleague and I stumbled upon this disturbing yet intriguing volume.  Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte: Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Grossdeutschland (How Austria Experienced its Liberation: Adolf Hitler and his Route to Greater Germany) tells the story of the early years of Adolph Hitler, Nazism, and the Third Reich.  This time period, from Hitler’s birth up to the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria in 1938, might be considered “the good years” for people sympathetic to the Nazis’ cause.  Luckily for the rest of the world, things went downhill for the Nazi’s in the years after that.

 

Title page to Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte. Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Grossdeutschland. This page, and others throughout the book appear to have been made to resemble woodcuts.

 

 

Published in 1940, Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte has over 300 illustrations. The majority of them are small tipped-in reproductions of original black and white photographs, each 2 inches by 2.5 inches. This gives it the look of a sticker-collection book. The rest of the illustrations are larger printed photographs and drawings that resemble woodcuts.

The typeface used in Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte is the old Fraktur, which originated in the 16th century. Ironically, one year later Hitler banned the use of this font (which was used in both this book and on the cover of Hitler’s earlier work, Mein Kampf) claiming it was a Jewish font  since it was often seen on Judaic printed materials.  

This page shows images of Hitler’s parents and boyhood home, as well as other buildings relevant to his young years.

While Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte probably was intended to be a sort of celebratory “coffee table book” in 1940’s Germany, it now serves as a visible reminder of the dangers of allowing individuals with sinister motivations to attain positions of power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pages of Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung Erlebte use the Fraktur typeface. Fraktur was banned one year after the publication of this book.

Amateur Radio, Pat Hawker, and World War II

C0275B03F03_Page_1

Doc. 1 covers the involvement of amateur radio during World War II. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of “The Secrets of Wartime Radio,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Amateur radio, also known as HAM radio, is a hobby that allows people to communicate non-commercially with each other by creating personal radio stations. Amateur radio began around 1890 and began picking up interest in the early 1900’s. Radio communication has been used by the government and military for intercepting communications from other countries. During and right before World War II, many men and women who held radiating licenses became involved in wartime radio (Doc. 1).

Doc. 2 is a booklet containing information and diagrams of British reception sets. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 02, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 2 is a booklet containing information and diagrams of British reception sets. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 02, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

John Patrick Hawker was born in Somerset, England in 1922 and became interested in wireless broadcasting as a kid. He got the AA license at age 14, giving him two years to learn Morse code and take the test for his full license. By October 1938, he earned his full license as G3VA. In 1940, he was asked to join the Radio Security Service as a Voluntary Interceptor and over a year later was given the opportunity to become a full-time interceptor for the new military unit (SCU3).

 

 

Doc. 2 Document is from

Doc. 4 is a diagram of an American WWII clandestine radio set. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 12, Page 14/30 of a hand-made booklet by Pat Hawker. Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3 Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 17, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3 discusses UK Intelligence operations, Belgian Escape Lines. Document is from John Patrick Hawker papers, Collection #C0275, Box 03, Folder 17, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

American Radio Relay League

International Amateur Radio Union

International Amateur Radio Union (Region 2 specific)

John Patrick Hawker Papers can be found in the finding aid for Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University. You may also contact speccoll@gmu.edu to look through our collection.

Scenes from Behind the Wall: Images of East Germany, 1989-1990

In late December 1989 two young men, Page Chichester and Helmut Brinkmann, were drinking and watching a soccer match on television in the city of Bonn in what was then called West Germany.  Brinkmann suddenly suggested that they tour East Germany, beginning the next day.  The two stayed up all night planning their hastily-conceived trip.  At Noon on December 29th the two took off in a Volkswagen van carrying cameras, film, and very few provisions.

Photographers Page Chichester (left) and Helmut Brinkmann (right) at the Berlin Wall during their eight-day trip to East Germany. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.

Photographers Page Chichester (left) and Helmut Brinkmann (right) at the Berlin Wall during their eight-day trip to East Germany. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.

Just about a month earlier the Berlin Wall, the main symbol of the division of the two Germanys had begun to fall.  Ironically, this event came just a few short months after the German Democratic Republic celebrated its fortieth anniversary as a communist state.  The festivities included a guest appearance by none other than the leader of the communist world himself, Mikhail Gorbechev.  By late December, however, curious people began to move cautiously between the two countries, being extremely careful not to arouse the suspicion of the Stasi, the State Security Police of the crumbling, but still-functioning GDR.

A Stasi guard poses for a photo in Dresden. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.

A Stasi guard poses for a photo in Dresden. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.

Chichester and Brinkmann spent eight days touring East Germany.  The two visited Erfurt, Jena, Dresden, Leipzig, Bitterfeld, Connewitz, Berlin, and other surrounding locales before returning west to Bonn on January 5, 1990.  Speaking to people and photographing the architecture, industry, transportation, and people of the east, they got a first-hand look at the conditions in that part of the Iron Curtain in the period between the fall of the Wall and reunification in October 1990.

A young boy plays in the rubble of a demolished housing project in Connewitz. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives,  George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.

A young boy plays in the rubble of a demolished housing project in Connewitz. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.

The “Scenes from Behind the Wall: Images of East Germany, 1989/90” exhibit collection contains 53 framed photographs and supporting documentation for the exhibit “Scenes from Behind the Wall: Images of East Germany, 1989/90” that traveled throughout Virginia as part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Statewide Exhibition Program from 1995 through 2009.  The finding aid for this collection can be accessed here.   A digitized collection of the images can be found at this link.

 

 

 

GIs Particpate in Soldier Shows while Waiting to Ship Out for Home

Earlier this fall an inquiry came to SC&A about the John C. Becher Soldier Show Collection (see Veronica Fisher’s post from Tuesday, October 20, 2009). Further correspondence revealed that the researcher had actually taken part in the World War II soldier show “Fall Out for Fun.” Excited by the prospect of learning more about the WWII Soldier Shows, we jumped on the opportunity to interview Joseph C. Siedlecki about his experience.

Soldiers in from of a USO Hostel in Kassel, Germany, 1945

Joseph C. Siedlecki joined the army at the age of 19, and was stationed throughout Europe during WWII. After the war ended, there were serious problems with transporting the soldiers back to the United States. Many soldiers, including Sieldecki, were forced to wait months before returning to the U.S. The soldiers were forced to find ways to bide their time, and the soldier shows were one such activity that helped to keep them entertained. Siedlecki saw an ad calling for musicians to participate in a USO solider show based in Heidelberg, Germany and took advantage of the opportunity to use his abilities to play both the clarinet and saxophone in the show.

The link below is an excerpt from my phone interview with Mr. Siedlecki explaining how he became involved with the soldier show, “Fall Out for Fun”:

Siedlecki_Excerpt_mp3

Siedlecki performed with “Fall Out for Fun” for about six months, touring Germany to entertain other soldiers waiting to go home. Finally in the spring 1946, he was given the “ok” to return to the States. Once home he attended college on the GI Bill and worked as an electrical engineer until retirement.

Soldiers performing in a soldier show in Berlin, Germany, 1946

The full interview with Joseph C. Siedlecki is available for listening at Special Collections & Archives.  Contact the Oral History Program at ohp@gmu.edu for more information about oral history resources.

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