Story Of The Week: Foot Artilleryman Eduard Anton Ochs

Our story this week comes from Dietmar Günter of Ettlingen's district of Spessart, which lies in the hills above Ettlingen.

Dietmar's uncle Eduard Anton Ochs fought and died in the Great War in 1917, when he was just 19 years old.

Uncle Eduard was born in Spessart on April 12, 1898 as the first child of his parents, the master weaver Konrad Ochs and his wife Emma, born Schoch, who came from Ettlingen's district of Schluttenbach. In addition to his father's job, Eduard's parents ran a small farm. However, the working day in the factory was much longer than it is today, and his father also had to travel the whole distance from Spessart to the spinning mill down in Ettlingen and back by foot, in all weathers, a journey of several miles.

It thus went without saying that the young Eduard and his younger brothers and sisters had to work on the farm after their school lessons, even as children.

Eduard left elementary school at the age of 14, and like his father, started work in the spinning mill in the Ettlingen Alb valley. He was 16 years old when the catastrophic Great War began, and when he was 18 he was called up for a medical examination. Shortly before his 19th birthday, he received his call up papers. Almost with a dark foreboding, his father had a family photograph taken at the studio Photo-Drücke in Ettlingen. Eduard was allowed to stay at home until his birthday, after which he had to report for duty.

Eduard is standing second from the right in this photo, taken during his military training in Karlsruhe.
Upon leaving home, Eduard told his family that if he returned home safely from the war, it was his ambition to become a pastor.

After a brief period of military training in Karlsruhe, Eduard received his drafting orders, which sent him to the front at Laon in France, around 50 km north-west of Reims. It was in this town that he was to suffer his fate.

On October 27, 1917, there was a long period of cease-fire at Chemin des Dames, where Eduard was based, and the soldiers gathered in a tent for lunch. When, suddenly and unexpectedly, a single shell exploded near the tent, all the soldiers ran to their positions, but Uncle Eduard was unable to. A small splinter had hit his jugular artery. After another short period of cease-fire, the other soldiers returned to the tent. But it was too late. Their comrade Eduard had bled to death, at the young age of 19.

Eduard's grave is in the military cemetry at Chambry, near Laon.

Eduard's memorial card

A 1916 Christmas Wish From Zurich

Oskar Kiefer, our sculptor in Ettlingen, was friends with a family in Zurich, Switzerland who ran an architectural practice, designing and building houses. This is the letter, with Christmas wishes, sent by the family to Oskar Kiefer at Christmas 1916. It reflects the general feeling that by this time, people were very tired of the war and were longing only for peace.

The letter makes reference to the offer for peace negotiations made by the Central Powers on December 12, 1916, an offer that was rejected by the Entente.

The photo depicted at the end of this Christmas wish is not the photo referred to in the letter. This is an ironic postcard of the time, of a mother telling her child the "fairy-story" that once upon a time, the whole world was at peace.

The letter was written on December 18, 1916. Despite the fact that it was clearly a personal letter, it was opened by the XIVth Battalion in Freiburg "under martial law".

"Christmas is once again just around the corner and still there is no peace in sight. The Germans' recent idea for peace brought great joy, but it was a weak light of hope. How happy the whole world would in fact be if this senseless warring would stop. Now, I’m sending you the photo despite the war. I hope that you will receive it. I don’t even know whether you are at home or at the front? The photo brings you our best wishes at the turn of the year and shows that we have not forgotten you and would be delighted to have you in Zurich once again.

We are all well. We feel the effects of the war too, but in comparison with all the misery surrounding us, we should be content. Many complain here too, whilst others profit from the war, such is life. Of course, next to nothing is happening in our business. Who wants to build houses when you don’t know if they will be gunned down? Who knows, perhaps we – our business – is no longer in fashion and the whole thing is now in younger hands. One must expect such things. The children send their best regards and my husband too. He is very busy in the town council, etc. The children are dancing in charity balls, a crazy idea in my opinion, but we have somehow slipped into it. An awful lot of this type of thing is being arranged. I, of course, have enough to do with sewing, ironing, etc. all prosaic things that need to be done and require time. And so the days fly by despite the war and one becomes old before one knows it. Once again we send you our best wishes and warmest greetings."

Story This Week: The Letters of Reichsbahnsekretär Franz Alois Lemmen

This week we continue our story of Reichsbahnsekretär Franz Alois Lemmen, brought to us by his granddaughter Beatrix Braun of Ettlingen.

As we mentioned in the previous post, Franz was a prolific writer and thanks to his job as a secretary and protocolist of doctors' reports, he also worked on a typewriter at the Front. Apart from his work, he also used the typewriter to type up his poems, which he sent home to his family. Two of Franz's poems are shown below.

This is a poem that Franz wrote for his father on his birthday.
I've translated the middle verse, which is very moving:

Und weiter dröhnt der Donner der Kanonen,
Und weiter wird des Kampfes Ringen geh'n,
Bis all' die Mühen und der vielen Opfer lohnen,
Uns bringen wird den Frieden, das gesunde Wiedersehn.

And the thunder of the canons drones on,
And the fighting will ring out and on,
Until all our sacrifices and our efforts have been made worthwhile,
And we will be brought peace and our safe reunion.

Franz wrote this poem to his wife Julia (Julchen) for her birthday.

We believe that these are the studs from the epaulettes of Franz's uniform.

As we saw in the last post, Franz was awarded a number of medals. Shown here is the silver "Verdienst" (service) medal that Franz was awarded on March 12, 1915.

Together with the medal, he was also presented with this accompanying certificate from the Grand Duke of Baden (Grossherzog von Baden).

It states that Franz belonged to the 8th Infantry Division No. 169 of Baden in Germany. This was a unit of the Prussian/German army, made up almost entirely of troops from the Grand Duchy of Baden, formed in Karlsruhe in 1871.

The Grand Duchy of Baden was the state to which Ettlingen belonged, and it existed between 1806 and 1918.

On April 14, 1915, Franz was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
This is a photo of his handwritten "Bestallungsurkunde" - the certificate of appointment to the rank of Sergeant.

On July 25, 1918, Franz was awarded the "Verwundetenabzeichen in schwarz" - the "Wound Badge" or "Purple Heart".

By this time Franz was in the 52nd Infantry Division and was classed as a civil servant ("Beamtenstellvertreter").

This Week's Story: Reichsbahnsekretär Franz Alois Lemmen

Our story this week comes from Beatrix Braun of Ettlingen, whose grandfather Franz Alois Lemmen was a "Reichsbahnsekretär" (State Railway Secretary) and served in the Great War as a secretary. Franz's great advantage was that in this position, he was in possession of a typewriter, as a great deal of his work involved typing up reports and documents, particularly for the army doctors. This meant that he was able to type some of his letters home, and also to indulge his hobby of poetry writing using the typewriter.

Franz Alois Lemmen (seated) was born on February 3, 1890. He survived the Great War and died in May 1968, at the age of 78.

Franz is shown here with his wife, Julia, who died in the early 1960s, and together with his father.

Franz amassed several medals, which are shown below.

These two medals (front and back shown) belong to the category of medals "Für treue Dienste bei der Fahne IX", which were awarded to soldiers for 9 years of loyal service "under the flag" during the Great War.

The Iron Cross (left) and another medal were also awarded for loyal service during the Great War.

Franz was also awarded this silver "Verdienst" (service) medal when he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
The medal on the right is also in recognition of loyal service.

This Week's Story: The Kunz Family

This week's story is about a family of four brothers - three of whom fought in the Great War and one in the Second World War - and of their brave, hard-working mother, a farming family who lived in the village of Schöllbronn in the hills above Ettlingen.

Julius Johann Kunz, born on August 9, 1899 in Schöllbronn was only 18 when he lost his arm fighting at Verdun. Julius' daughter has contributed this story and the accompanying pictures. She was thus able to tell us that Julius was brought to the lazaret in Ettlingen, where he was treated and made his recovery.

However, food and vitamins were not in abundance in the lazaret, and Julius' mother made the journey from Schöllbronn down the hills to the lazaret in Ettlingen and back every single day, bringing Julius fruit, vegetables, milk, butter and cheese, in a basket on her head. She made the journey by foot - a round trip of 13 or 14 kilometers, after working in the fields all day.

Julius' daughter tells us that if his mother had not cared for him in this manner, he would not have made it through. We are very lucky to have the following photo of soldiers inside the lazaret from the Kunz family - our first photo of the lazaret.

Julius is fourth from the left in this photo, with the word "Papa" above his head.
Julius had problems with the amputation of his arm all his life, often suffering from phantom pains.
He died in 1956, at the age of 56.

Leopold was the oldest brother of the family, and was a prisoner-of-war in England. He returned home in 1920. Although he had survived the Great War, he was carrying hepatitis and spent the next five years in bed. His mother also cared for him through these years, of course, while at the same time bringing up her youngest son, Oskar, and working in the fields. Sadly, and despite the care of his family, Leopold died in 1925 of hepatitis.

Valentin was the third son, and he too survived the Great War. Valentin also spent time as a prisoner-of-war in England. The photo below shows Julius and Valentin together.

Valentin is in the center of this photo and Julius on the right. Valentin has his arm around Julius' shoulder.
Oskar was the last son, and he was too young to join up during the Great War. He fought and fell during the Second World War.

Julius Johann Kunz, born August 9, 1899. Lost his arm at Verdun at the age of 18. Died in 1956, aged 56.

Julius Johann Kunz is seated in the center of this photo.

We have been lucky enough to find a photo of the mother of Julius, Valentin, Leopold and Oskar at the house where she lived in Schöllbronn. She is the first person on the left in the photo below. Julius' daughter, who contributed this story, is the little girl in the center of the group in this photo. Oskar is at the right, and Julius' wife, who died, together with their second child in childbirth, is standing next to him.

Story Of The Week: The Hauser Brothers

This week's story comes to us from Ella Lehmann, 92, of Ettlingen Town Center. Ella's grandparents lived in the Untere Zwingergasse in Ettlingen and had four sons, three of whom were old enough to join the ranks. Ella's father Anton Hauser fought as a Private in the Great War. Born on August 16, 1894, Anton joined up when he was just 20 and fought on the Western Front in France.

Private Anton Hauser is on the right in this photo.
Anton survived the Great War

Anton's two brothers, Ella's uncles Josef and Hans Hauser, also served in the Great War and all three survived.

Ella's uncle Private Hans Hauser, who also survived the
Great War

Ella's uncle Private Josef Hauser, second from right in the middle row. Josef also survived

Story Of The Week: Private Leopold Kappenberger

Our story of the week comes from Rudi Bannwarth of Ettlingenweier, one of the districts of Ettlingen. Rudi's great-grandfather Leopold Kappenberger fought as a Private in the Great War.

Leopold was born on December 8, 1886. He worked as a technical former in a factory in the metal industry and was one of the first men from the village to earn his wages outside of the agricultural sector. In 1914, he was called up to fight in the Badische Leib-Grenadier Regiment 109. This regiment belonged to the XIVth Infantry Corps and was the local regiment of Karlsruhe.

Leopold was married to Regine (born Weber) and they had three children. Two of the children only lived for a few months and their middle child, Rudi's grandmother Helene, was the only one who survived.

Leopold died on October 1, 1914 on the Western Front in France. He was the first man from the village to die in the Great War.

Private Leopold Kappenberger, Dec. 8, 1886 - Oct. 1, 1914
Badische Leib-Grenadier Regiment 109/XIVth Battalion
Died on the Western Front in France

Leopold's wife Regine married a second time in 1920, this time to Leopold Lumpp, who had probably held the rank of Rifleman during the Great War. Leopold Lumpp was born in 1876 and had been 48 at the outbreak of war, so he had not fought. Instead, he had worked as a security guard for prisoners of war. The couple had a further six children together, four of whom survived.

Rifleman Leopold Lumpp
Survived the Great War

The Catastrophic Outbreak of the Great War, 1914-1918

The First World War, known at the time as the Great War, broke out on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in retaliation for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian national. Following Russia's mobilization, Germany, which was aligned with Austria-Hungary, declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914 and on France on August 3, 1914. As a result of Germany's violation of neutral Belgium to outflank France, Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.

The Great War continued until November 11, 1918. The total number of military and civilian casualties was over 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths and over 20 million wounded.

Around 380 soldiers from our small town of Ettlingen, plus many more from Ettlingen's six surrounding villages, died in the Great War. Around 80 soldiers returned from prisoner-of-war camps in 1919 and 1920. This site is dedicated to all those in Ettlingen who fought, died, and lost their loved ones in this most tragic of conflicts.

Click on the links below to call up the other pages on this site:

List Of Fallen - a list of the soldiers who died on the battlefields, together with their date and place of death
Local Newspapers 1914 - photos of newspaper articles, together with translations into English, of Ettlingen's newspapers at this time. This section also contains some documents from soldiers returning to Ettlingen, usually after time in POW camps
Diaries - excerpts from the diaries of local people, including Dr. Barth, editor of the local newspaper the "Mittelbadischer Courier" and Oskar Kiefer, Ettlingen's sculptor, during the Great War
Letters From The Battlefields - transcriptions and translations of soldiers' letters from the front
Memorabilia- other interesting memorabilia from the time
Photos - photographic material, mostly taken by soldiers from Ettlingen