Story of the Week: Gefreiter Ambros Weber

This week our story is once again brought to us by Notburga Felber of Ettlingen-Spessart, in the hills above Ettlingen. Notburga's grandfather on her father's side, Ambros Weber, was a small farmer. He was born in Spessart on October 7, 1882.

Ambros and Martha
on their wedding day

In the early 20th century, small farming in South Germany was not a very lucrative occupation and so Ambros also worked in a factory in Ettlingen Town.

He married his sweetheart Martha. At the outbreak of the Great War, he was thus 32 and already married.

It was typical for girls to marry in black at this time.

Ambros joined up with the 1st Landsturm Infantry Batallion No. 56, 2nd Company in Rastatt, near Ettlingen.

The photo on the left shows him in full uniform, with the photographer's romantic caption "Zur Erinnerung" - "A memento".

Ambros' unit was posted to France, on the Western Front. The bataillon was ultimately subordinate to the 28th Division of the Kingdom of Prussia and Ambros would thus have fought all along the Western Front, including battles at the Vosges, Arras, the Somme, Flanders, Champagne, Verdun, Reims and Chemin-des-Dames. 

Ambros in the more typical photographer's pose of new recruits after joining up.

We also have a postcard that Ambros sent to Martha on May 10, 1915, apparently from Dieuze, which is in French Lorraine. The photo on the front of the card shows Ambros together with one of his comrades, and Ambros is standing on the left in this picture.

Ambros (left) in Lorraine, 1915

In the postcard, Ambros thanks Martha for her postcard from Mosbronn and tells her that he is sending her a photo from the Front as a souvenir of the war.

He asks her not to worry about him so much and says that he knows she has a lot of work at home but he asks her to only do what she can because when he comes home, he wants to see her well and healthy.

Ambros survived the war and returned home, where he took up work again in the factory. He and Martha had several children, including Notburga's father, and he died on May 9, 1959.

Ambros' card to Martha from Dieuze in Lorraine in May 1915.

This Week: Gefreiter Otto Weber

Our story this week is brought to us by Notburga Felber of Ettlingen-Spessart. Notburga's grandfather  on her mother's side, Otto Weber, served as a Private in the Great War.

Otto Weber in 1914

Otto was born on March 31, 1892 and had a twin brother, Franz.
Both Franz and Otto joined the 1st Badisches Leibgrenadier-Regiment 109 at the outbreak of war in 1914. The 109 was the highest-ranking and grandest regiment in Baden, the state in which Ettlingen was located, and was the local regiment of Karlsruhe, Ettlingen's nearest city. The head of the regiment was Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden.

Otto and his twin brother
Franz in the field

Otto was stationed at the Western Front in France. His first battles were at Metz in August 1914, and he later fought all along the Western Front, including Arras, Flanders, Champagne, the Somme, Reims and Chemin-des-Dames.

It was probably during the latter part of 1917 or early 1918 that Otto suffered gas poisoning. The use of poisonous gas by both sides was widespread during the Great War, particularly on the Western Front.

Upon returning home from the War, Otto married his sweetheart Anna, with whom he had three daughters, including Notburga's mother. However, even though he continued to work, he suffered from the ill effects of the gas poisoning for the rest of his life.

A postcard from the Front from Otto to his neighbor Luise, dated September 22, 1917. He writes, "At last I've found time to send you a photo. I trust you're well, as I am. I hope that we will see each other again soon".

Otto in the field

Otto died aged 47 on May 9, 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, from the effects of the gas poisoning.