Updated: Sep 26
The Cross attached is civilian cross suggested to be WW1 or WW2 in period. It is added as context as such items were carried by members of the Wehrmacht.
The Grouping here shows a Deathcard and Personal cross. The Deathcard here is in memory of Otto Grünberger. The Deathcard like most were issued at the funeral or sometimes sent home to the family's after the passing of their loved one. This example is rather sad like most of the Deathcards seen. As the statement of them is the announcement of their death, the way they are constructed as seen is in a very respectful and detailed where appropriate.
This Deathcard reads in German as:
an den ehrengeachteten
Zimmerer von Altötting
Welcher am 1. Juli 1945 im Gefangenenlager Bad Kreuznach, kurz vor seiner Heimkehr zu uns, im Alter von 43 jahre in die ewige Heimat abberufen wurde.
Starken Geistes hast Du viel getragen, Arbeit, Liebe, Leiden war Dein Los Ruhe Sanft nun von des Lebens Plagen Teuerer Vater in der Erde Schloß
Which translates into English as:
to the respected
Carpenter from Altötting
Which on July 1, 1945 in the Bad Kreuznach prison camp, shortly before his return to us, was recalled to his eternal home at the age of 43.
You carried a lot of strong spirit, work, love, suffering was your lot rest calm now from the plagues of life dear father in the earth castle
The Deathcard shows that Otto was a carpenter by trade that was from Altötting , which is a town in Bavaria, Germany. It has been the place of religious pilgrimage town by Catholics for what is estimated to be around 500 years. The war in Europe ending on the 8th May 1945, however the suffering and hardships for many didn't end there. This is reflected in this tragic Deathcard seem here. Otto Grunberger tragicly passed away at Bad Kreuznach prison camp at the age 43. The prison camp being a POW (Prisoner of War) camp being located in the district of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The town was liberated by US forces in 1945. Rheinwiesenlagers were built by US forces as British forces could no longer accommodate German POWs. The Rheinwiesenlager was built in Bad Kreuznach and was latter named "The Field Of Misery", this was the nickname given to the camp due to poor conditions of people kept at the camp. The reason the conditions at the camp were so poor was due the fact that the people kept in the camp were not classed as "Prisoners". This is due to the new perception of them as "Disarmed Enemy Forces" (DEF), this was appointed to all ex German forces by Dwight Eisenhower in 1945. The ways in which DEF were treated was vastly different from the treatment of POWs. The main reason for this is DEFs didn't come under the Geneva convention. This meaning that teh population of prisoners were left to fend for themselves. No health checks or welfare was enforced meaning many died of starvation or illness. That of which Otto likely died as a result of.
The Deathcard also details that Otto returned to his eternal home, this referring that his body was returned home to the town of Altötting where he is laid to rest but also could be a spiritual meaning to this. The Deathcard is also detailed with a religious message below his information and as seen in the attached scans. The reverse also bears the image of a grave with a helmet on top that reads the date he died in addition to his age. The Deathcard is seen accompanied by the cross, a civilian cross that may have been carried by Soldaten at the time.
The fatality rate at the camp is un-determined but the figures can be suggested as high as the number of prisoners was estimated at 100,000. This being deemed an Allied war crime due to the mistreatment of prisoners on a large scale. In the modern day there is a monument in the woods of the former camp site to honour and remember those who endured the poor living conditions and died there. You can only imagine the poor conditions endured by Soldaten at the camp, surviving the horrors of war but not allowed to return home to their families. Enduring poor conditions until the unfortunate demise due to the lack of care by US forces. Religion may have played a big part in their last days, a sad and unnecessary death in a post war in Europe time.
† May He Rest In Piece - A part of the Deathcard series at KB41Collection †