Gifts from Veterans

German Veterans, vet accounts, MIA searches, KIA info, and on relatives who served.

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John P. Moore
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Post by John P. Moore » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:33 pm

A welcome gift from a veteran is a book from their personal library. In September 2003 I was visiting with my long-time friend, Fritz Hahl, a former infantry Obersturmführer from Regiment “Westland”, in his home near Regensburg. He gave me these four books about the history of the Dutch in the Waffen-SS. They are in the Dutch language and have been out of print for a number of years. Fritz Hahl had a special affinity for the Dutch as he had served in the Regiment “Westland” from 1941 to late 1944 and this regiment was predominately comprised of Dutch volunteers. One of the authors, Jan Vincx, a Fleming from Belgium, had been a former Untersturmführer in the “Wiking” division and had given each of those books to Hahl following publication.

A few weeks after returning home I met for the first time the Dutch Waffen-SS veteran HaEn, who lives near me in Portland, Oregon and who is now a well-known fellow Feldgrau member. I loaned those books to HaEn for a number of months and found them very useful in his own research. What a pleasure it was for Fritz Hahl to learn a few months later that the books he had given me had quickly been put to a very good use by a Dutch veteran living on the other side of the ocean!

John
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John P. Moore
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Post by John P. Moore » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:46 pm

A late war photo of Fritz Hahl. He is also the author of several very good books, "Panzergrenadier" and "Mit 'Westland' im Osten"
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Brendan Hunt
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Post by Brendan Hunt » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:48 pm

Mr. Moore,

Your collection is an inspiration. What I think is even more impressive than the collection itself is the fact that you approached these veterans, met them and befriended them, and in a sign of friendship and gratitude for what you do, they presented you with gifts.

I personally think this is very, very cool.
-B
Brendan

John P. Moore
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Post by John P. Moore » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:39 pm

Brenden - Thanks for your comments, but I do not believe that these men were expressing any special gratitude to me. As people get older they naturally look for other people to give certain possessions to who they believe will appreciate these things and not turn around and attempt to sell them. I never asked for anything, but their time and a few photos. Also, I did not necessarily befriend them so much as we befriended each other. It is more a situation of mutual respect. Germans are a generous people, especially to children.

John

chambers
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Post by chambers » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:49 am

I'm taken with how young Mr. Hahl looks in that photo.

If it's ok with HaEn could you post that photo of him in uniform?

Brooke
"If you didn't see it with your eyes, don't create it with your mouth."

John P. Moore
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Post by John P. Moore » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:11 am

Fritz Hahl was born on Christmas Day in 1922 and promoted to SS-Untersturmführer in March 1943. My son and I first met Fritz Hahl in Munich in September 1996, just a couple of weeks after our mutual friend, Günter Bernau, had died. It was Bernau who got Hahl and me in contact with each other earlier in the year. We had agreed to meet at the fountain near Marienplatz at a certain time as we were both driving to Munich from other cities. We had a very nice visit. The next time my son traveled to Germany with me was two years later in 1998. Fritz Hahl gave him the commemorative coin set below from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The coins are solid silver and the largest measures 1.75 inches across and collectively they have a face value of 220 Canadian dollars. To my son's credit he has kept them all these years as he brought them over this morning so I could take this photo.
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John P. Moore
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Post by John P. Moore » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:26 am

At the annual reunion of the SS-Panzer Rgt. "Wiking" we were all riding in Fritz Hahl's car from Niedernhall to Jagsthausen to attend a ceremony when we stopped for lunch in a country Gasthaus. From the left are Fritz Hahl, me, Eberhard Heder and Günter Jahnke. Also, it was at the Jagsthausen ceremony where I met Doug Nash for the first time.
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haen2
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Post by haen2 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:04 am

Thank you John, for sharing some of your memories and collections with us.
HN
joined forum early spring of 2002 as Haen- posts: legio :-)

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think !

John P. Moore
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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by John P. Moore » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:47 am

This HIAG "coaster", which is actually more like a small plate, is 4 inches in diameter, made of pewter, with a colored plastic inlay with the HIAG logo and Waffen-SS motto. It was given to me by the former SS-Obersturmführer Gerd Knabe, who saw combat with the "Nord" division in 1941-42 and the "Hohenstaufen" division in 1944-45.
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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by Paul E » Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:05 pm

John,

Fantastic posts, thanks for sharing your experiences.

I can only concur about the generosity of Germans and the veterans . About 5 years ago i visited RKT Bodo Spranz at his home in Bremen and spent an afternoon in the company of him and his lovely wife.Their hospitality was first class.
At the end of my visit as i am an ex Artilleryman and Bodo was an Assault Artillery man i presented him with some original WW2 British Artillery Badges, then despite my insistence that he didn't need to give me a gift he insisted and wouldn't let me leave until he presented me with his Knights Cross and Oakleaves stickpin which is now the most prized possesion of my Miliatria collection.

It was a wonderfull afternoon and one i will always remember,

regards

Paul

John P. Moore
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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by John P. Moore » Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:16 pm

Great story Paul. Could you post a photo of your Ritterkreuz stickpin? That's something that most of us will never see.

This beer glass from the HIAG in the city of Coburg was also given to me by Gerd Knabe. The glass is 6.5 inches tall.
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John P. Moore
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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by John P. Moore » Sat May 03, 2008 10:40 am

Gerd Knabe also gave me several sets of lapel pins depicting his wartime awards. These pins are worn at veteran reunions. The pin on the lower left is for the 6.SS-Gebirgs Div. "Nord".

John
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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by Paul E » Sat May 03, 2008 12:01 pm

John,

My aplogies for not posting the stickpin , i have been having a few computer problems so hopefully will get it done soon !!

regards

Paul

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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by Tom Houlihan » Sat May 03, 2008 4:37 pm

I like that Nord stickpin. The one I have just shows the Hagalrune.
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Feldgrau für alle und alle für Feldgrau!

John P. Moore
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Re: Gifts from Veterans

Post by John P. Moore » Sat May 24, 2008 1:00 pm

Gerd Knabe gave me this wooden box that was full of his wartime and post-war memorabilia
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