How do i research a possible Waffen SS soldier's EKII?
I have an EKII which ive had since 1986 which does have an interesting story, even more so as the man who won it lived in England after the war and i worked with him for a brief period from 1985-1986 at the former Walls Meat Company based in Evesham Worcs. To start i have to begin when i left college and started my first ever job at the above mentioned company. I had worked in nearly every department during my two years there but the last one i worked in i recall an old German speaking guy with some very nasty scars on his face and badly damaged hands and fingers. His name was Peter Baumanis and he was married to an English lady in Evesham presumably they met after the war and Peter may well have been held in the UK as a P.O.W. He was basically semi retired and worked the pie cooling tunnels at the company. At that time i wasnt really that interested in the people side of war just collecting the odd bayonet and relic really. I was aware that Peter was of German birth and the one day during a lull in the workload i asked him how he got his scars. I was quite enthralled when he told me that he had been in the German army and fought during WW2. The scars on his face were quite nasty, his left eye was partially closed and a deep scar ran from the left eye right down his left cheek which made him look like he had a permanent grin. Two fingers of his right hand were missing and it looked like he had suffered burns to both his hands too. I wish id asked him more such as the unit he fought with etc but back then as a young lad didnt realise the importance of such things as i do now. The one morning we were talking about the war and i mentioned Hitler to him. Peter replied "Well, he was just a man like most others really" so i said did you ever see him at the rallies or anything to which he replied that he had been presented a medal by Hitler during WW2 and that they spoke just as we are now and there was nothing out of the normal with the man. I then asked do you still have the medal and he explained he still had it and that it was in a box in his garage with a few other things. I also asked if his family will have these things when he has no further use for them and he said his English born son wasnt interested in those things understandably really when you think about it! He mentioned a pair of shells he had in his garden that if i wanted i could have. The next day he brought them in the boot of his car-both shells were British and fired heads and he said these camp from Long Marston camp???? It was a few weeks later when i asked him about the medal he was presented by Hitler and he said "you can have it if i can find it out but its nothing special". It wasnt until i decided to leave the company some three months later that Peter pulled the medal out of his pocket the one morning and handed it to me. When i got home i looked it up in the book by Joe Lyndhurst on Militaria Collecting and found it was an Iron Cross 2nd Class. When i left the company i never saw Peter again to talk to but saw him many times with his wife around the town as we were passing through int he car. It was only when i later spoke with another guy who was still working there who mentioned Peter had been in the Waffen SS and received his wounds either on the Eastern Front or at Normandy. How would i go about researching a former German soldier who settled down in England after the war? As there must surely be some form of P.O.W record listing Peter and his unit details etc? Any ideas on this would be most welcome. The EKII is thankfully still in my possession though id been tempted to sell it many times in the past. Its a Steinhauer & Luck cross complete with its ribbon (though very dirty) and i will have to unpack it (as we are preparing to move house again!!!) and post some pictures of it. Any ideas on the above though would be great. Regards, Tim.
08-07-2011 11:27 AM
Re: How do i research a possible Waffen SS soldier's EKII?
Yes some very good points there and i will certainly go into the research side with a completely open mind and it will be interesting to see what comes up. Peter himself had never mentioned which unit he fought with and thats what i would like to confirm as it was this other fellow who said Peter had been a member of the SS, and its possible he was one of those who classed every German soldier as being in the SS if you get my meaning Adrian. Either way i will post up the photos of the cross as soon as i have unpacked it and thanks very much indeed for your most welcome response. Best Regards, Tim.