Updated: Oct 4, 2021
Many thanks to Simon Tierney for his help in this caption and continued support with the collection!
In this 106 year old photograph we see a much more traditional Christmas Night (Christmas Eve) being celebrated by an unknown Infantry Regiment on the Western Front, by the light of the Tannenbaum (Christmas Tree). We can see here coloured beads, candles and ribbons on the tree (where our Tinsel, Baubles and Lights originated). Germans traditionally celebrate the evening and night of 24 December, exchanging gifts then, instead of Christmas Day Morning. What would follow, unknown to these soldiers here, was the victory of Christ over the war.
WW1 was a tragedy in a lot of ways, but sadly for Great Britain, and the German Empire, it saw our closest neighbours and fellow Christian Nation at odds. As a result of the strength of belief in the salvation of Christ, both sides would begin to celebrate and their “over-spilling of goodwill” would result in a truce over Christmas of 1914. Here we see lots of empty boxes, and the Jnfanterist in the foreground seems to have a handful of Liebkucke. It also appears, from the officers shown in front of the tree, that the assembled company are singing. Perhaps even “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night), a Carol well known to both sides. The Infantry Regiment here enjoying their time together, seen here in what appears to be a barn. Unable to celebrate at home with their families they share gifts sent from them together. The grain affect on the photograph is suggested to be from the moisture in the air as a result of the bitter cold conditions, this adding to the atmosphere of the photograph. A wonderful time of goodwill to all men, and a time of peace.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and Peace, Success, and good health in the New Year -2021. “חַג חֲנוּכָּה שַׂמֵחַ Chag Urim u Hanukkah Sameach! Kislev 25, 5781” “Fröhliche Weihnachten! und ein glückliches neues Jahr” “Ah Freilichen Hanukkah”