Some images are very effective at capturing history. This real photo postcard is one of those historic photographs. The image features World War I prisoners of war held at Camp Konigsbruck. The POW camp held Serbian, Russian, and French prisoners of war. The camp held about 15,000 captives. I am unsure if this photo shows four prisoners or two prisoners and two guards (the men wearing heavy coats).  One of the possible “guards” is wearing a red cross armband. Note the high barbed wire fence in the background. This photograph was taken sometime around 1916. Konigsbruck is a town in the German state of Saxony. It is located only 17 miles from Dresden.

Published in: on September 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. They seem remarkably well dressed for POW’s. Perhaps a propaganda photo showing how well the prisoners were treated? I think the man on the right is also a prisoner, but maybe he’s an officer. They are all wearing shoes that look like loafers. Only the man with the armband is wearing military boots.

  2. An iconic picture, rife for speculation … for which I have limited talent. Non-the- less some things call out. The gentleman on the right may well represent the Red Cross … his outfit, collar insignia, and footwear are consistent with wartime and he is clean-shaven (unlikely for POW). One speculates the picture was ‘for the record’ showing appearance of randomly selected prisoners. The other three gentlemen wear pants and footwear that could easily be ‘issue’ (early in the war … not so likely later). The gentleman on the right could well be a ‘select’ prisoner with ‘privileges’ … allowed to keep his ring (which would likely have been confiscated), his hat, and a better coat … for his ‘cooperation’. Fun to speculate, and enjoyable, but proves nothing except the joy of old classic photos. Thanks for showing.

    • I am in agreement with you in regard to this photo postcard being part of a PR campaign to create the impression that the German POW camps were run humanely. I have seen a similar photo postcard which shows the prisoner orchestra. Somehow I don’t think the WW I POW camps were a Mecca of cultural events or comfortable living.

  3. Hi again!

    Great photo. The fellow on the left (from our perspective) appears to be wearing the uniform of France’s 133rd infantry régiment. We can’t tell from a black and white photo, but if we’re right about the unit, he’s wearing a blue greatcoat and red pants. Very snazzy uniforms! The medical armband? Wonder if he was a medical orderly…or a doctor? Was looking at French uniforms from that war while referencing an RPPC a while back, so had a head start on this one 🙂 Thanks as always for the great image.

    Best, Red

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