Story This Week: The Ludendorff Spende für Kriegsbeschädigte

Our story this week concerns the Ludendorff fund, set up during the the First World War for disabled German soldiers. The cards have been provided by Rainer Görlacher, whose grandfather Karl Görlacher of Ettlingen fought in the Great War.

Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (1865-1937) was a German general who was victorious at Liège and the Battle of Tannenberg during the Great War. In 1916, he was promoted to Erster Generalquartiermeister (Quartermaster General) and together with Paul von Hindenburg, became the chief power behind the management of Germany's military efforts in the First World War, until his resignation in 1918.

Erich Ludendorff:
"Ohne Opfer kein Sieg!
Ohne Sieg kein Friede!"

("No victory without sacrifice,
No peace without victory")

The Ludendorff Spende für Kriegsbeschädigte - the Ludendorff Fund for Disabled War Veterans - was set up in May 1918 by Emma Tscheuschner to assist war-disabled soldiers help transition back to civilian life. The fund collected around 150,000,000 Reichsmarks and continued until 1923, when it was dissolved probably due to the currency inflation of the Weimar Republic. Erich Ludendorff was the Honorary Chairman of the fund.

A number of postcards were printed and the proceeds from the sale of these cards went to the fund.

This depiction of a crippled soldier holding a set of tools was painted by Ludwig Hohlwein, a poster artist (1874-1949), and is one of the most cited postcards. This picture is in sharp contrast to the euphoric mood of the 1914 posters, which focused on feats of heroism and the honor of war.

Art nouveau poster for postcard by Wilhelm Schulz called "Ackerpflug Spendenkiste" (Field plough, donation box).

Donators were presented with this receipt:
"The owner of this certificate has donated 5 Marks for the Ludendorff Fund for Disabled War Veterans. I thank the donator on behalf of their war-disabled comrade.
The Honorary Chairman Ludendorff".

Poster for postcard by Olaf Guldbransson, a Norwegian artist, 1873-1958

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