Part of The KB41 Collection On This Day Series !
This is the Deathcard of Ludwig Hinterwimmer. Ludwig's occupation before the war was that of a Mason, likely that he built or helped in the construction and building of infrastructure in his home town area of Winhöring, Bavaria, South-East Germany. Ludwig Hinterwimmer of Winhöring died on the Ost front in Brjansk (Bryansk) on the 11 Juli 1942 at the age of 35 years. This post will detail what is inscribed on his Deathcard and what accompanying it for this post but also possible ways in which Ludwig could have lost his life in the Bryansk area in Russia in 1942. This post being shared 79 years to the day of Ludwig Hinterwimmer's passing,
This Deathcard seen here is accompanied by a small cross and Catholic Missal, both personal items that would be held close to individuals like Ludwig and their families in the time of their death. The Deathcard here is in a "Book style" format, this being clear from the double sided Deathcard that we see that opens like a book. This style of Deathcard was common to show the photo of the deceased with relevant information next to it and religious texts and images where relevant. This Deathcard displays a photograph to the left, a smartly dressed Ludwig Hinterwimmer, a photograph that was likely taken pre war, seen here to represent the life of the construction worker. The words underneath the photo reading "" This translating to "Honour His Memory!" The right side detailing the information of Ludwig Hinterwimmer and his war service in the Organisation Todt and below some religious writings to comfort his family
The Deathcard reads in German as:
Zum Frommen Gedenten
Maurer in Untersteinhöring
OT.-Mann in der Organisation Todt.
Er starb 11 Juli 1942 im Osten
bei Brjansk in Rußland im Alter
von 35 Jaren Den Heldentod Für's
Dein grab im fernen Feindesland
Ist uns wohl eine harte pein
Doch nimm dies Wort zum Unterpfand
Dein Grab soll nicht verlallen sein
Allabends wenn die Glocken summen
Zieht liebend unser Geist dorthin
Und streut Dir betend Andachtsblumen
Aufs Heldengrab mit frommen Sinn
Mein Jesus Barmherzigkeit
Karl Schleich Neuötting
This translates in English as:
To the pious commemorator
Masons in Untersteinhoering
Parish of Winhoering
OT man in the organization Todt.
He died July 11, 1942 in the East
near Bryansk in Russia in old age
from 35 years the heroic death for the
Your grave in distant enemy country
Is probably a hard torment for us
But take this word as a pledge
Your grave shall not be slandered
Every evening when the bells are ringing
Our spirit lovingly draws there
And scatters devotional flowers for you in prayer
To the hero's grave with a pious mind
My Jesus Mercy
Karl Schleich Neuoetting
This Details of the right tell us that Ludwig was a Mason of Untersteinhoering (Lower-steinhöring) which is located within the parish of Winhoering, Bavaria, South East Germany. The occupation of Mason was why Ludwig would have been selected to join the Organisation Todt.
The Organisation Todt, commonly referred to as Org.Todt or OT, was an Organisation formed in 1933 after its founder, Fritz Todt. Fritz Todt himself was a construction engineer who not only did he found and lead the Organisation Todt until his sudden death on 8th February 1942 as a result of an aeroplane crash but he also was the inspector of German Roadways, General Plenipotentiary for Regulation of the Construction Industry and Inspector General for water and Energy. All positions that Franz Todt was in control of were succeeded by Albert Speer. Org Todt started in 1933 to 1938 with works on the "Generalinspektor für das deutsche Straßenwesen" ( German Roadways) which included the construction and maintenance of the Autobahn networks across the Reich. From this Todt selected labours, like Ludwig in addition to those of the Reich Labour Service, The Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD). From this Todt strengthened the workers of his Organisation. Todt also built the fortifications of the West wall and Atlantic wall fortifications. Other and more sinister constructions the Org Todt oversaw the construction of was the Konzentrationslager (Concentration Camps). During the war, from 1940 - 1942 the Org Todt became reliant on forced labour through means of those from foreign countries now occupied by the Reich to be known as "Gastarbeitnehmer" (Guest workers) the most notable being "Zivilarbeiter" for those who were civilians, mostly from Poland. The other kind of works forced to work within the Org Todt were "Ostarbeiter" (Eastern workers) and later "Hilfswillge" which was comprised of Prisoners of War (POWs). From the end of 1942 to the collapse of the Reich in 1945, the Org Todt was absorbed into the Reich Ministry of Armaments and War Production, which was also administrated by Albert Speer.
The Org Todt having a rank structure similar to other NSDAP part organisations tells us that Ludwig was the entry level rank of the Org Todt of OT Mann" also commonly referred to as OT-Arbeiter (OT Worker). Ludwig could possibly have partaken in the local developments of his home area and surrounds of the Reich before his deployment to Russland (Russia). It is not known. However what is known is that Ludwig was deployed to Russia to help build infrastructure and to enforce such building and their construction whilst acting as a basic militia against partisan forces. Ludwig, seeing building operations with the possibility of clearing up destroyed infrastructure or repairing encampments for the Wehrmacht forces. These operations taking place in the Brjansk (Bryansk) area of Russia. Bryansk, some 379 kilometres southwest of Moscow is located on the River Desna. This area in particular from the time of 1942 to 1943 and till the removal of German forces from the area saw a ever growing increase in Partisan activities. These partisan attacks were inflicting significant losses on the German Forces in the area, this meaning that the German Forces, including Ludwig in the Org Todt had to be extra vigilant of not only Russian forces but the attack of civilian dressed partisan militia.
With this in mind, Ludwig Hinterwimmer died on the 11 July 1942 in the Bryansk area in Russia aged 35 Years old. It isn't written on the Deathcard as some Deathcards from the time detail "Terrorangriff" or "Banditen" (Terror attack/ Bandits) it is highly likely that this is how Ludwig Hinterwimmer. Another possible way is that he could have died as part of an accident at work, however such an event would likely have been detailed. Ludwig is honoured on this Deathcard with the words "Den Heldentod Für's Vaterland" which translates to "The hero's death for the Fatherland", this showing that he died a hero in fighting for the Reich and is recognised for this. A stature at the time that would have shown admiration for the fight for the Third Reich.
From this seen below the small cross symbol is a verse that is combined with some religious phrasing and words that his family would have detailed on his Deathcard, this reads as
"Dein grab im fernen Feindesland, Ist uns wohl eine harte pein Doch nimm dies Wort zum Unterpfand, Dein Grab soll nicht verlallen sein, Allabends wenn die Glocken summen , Zieht liebend unser Geist dorthin , Und streut Dir betend Andachtsblumen , Aufs Heldengrab mit frommen Sinn. Mein Jesus Barmherzigkeit"
Which translates to: "your Grave in distant enemy country, Is probably a hard torment for us, But take this word as a pledge, Your grave shall not be slandered, Every evening when the bells are ringing, Our spirit lovingly draws there
And scatters devotional flowers for you in prayer, To the hero's grave with a pious mind.
A very heartfelt and meaningful verse of words that shows the empathy to their loved one who died in service, showing their love and how despite not being able to bury him themselves will honour his life and spirit. Their thoughts and prayers will be for him and that he is resting in peace now after his death in Russia. The reverse of the Deathcard (As seen scanned in this post) reads on the left "er hat mich geliebt und sich für mich geopfert" translates to "He loved me and sacrificed himself for me" This showing Jesus dead under the care of and in burial preparation of Joseph of Armathea, Mary the Mother of Christ and Mary Magdeleine. The right shows Christ at the door, with words "seiche, ich stehe vor der tür und klopde an", which translates to "Behold, I stand at the door and knock". With this it is mentioning that Christ seeks us and invites us to welcome him into our hearts. This is a fitting religious imagery to pair with the message that the family are detailing of the spirit and life of their loved one Ludwig Hinterwimmer.
This seen alongside the 1933 pocket Missal and the small card attached, for the prayers of the holy family (that was taken from the inside page) shows simulates of the religious texts and meanings that can be seen throughout the Missal (This will be detailed in a separate post) Such religious stories and prayers gave hope, comfort and morale to not only the families of those lost like here for Ludwig but to those living keeping connected through prayer. The memory and life of those who died even when they are far away from their families and home shall not and would not be forgotten. They are remembered and respected in this Deathcard.