Bring back German Watch
A friend of mine has been telling me about a watch his father brought back from the war . Well today I finally got to see it and was lucky enough to become the new caretaker of it. the watch still runs and keeps good time. I had another friend translate the inscription she said it roughly says "For Mr. Koch, for his death defying rescue efforts in Grube Maybach" then she thinks it says " from his devoted regiment commander of the Saargebeit" if anybody can translate better I would be very thankful . Gary
05-01-2015 01:26 AM
Interesting annotation on the watch. I would imagine it was presented to Herr Koch for his rescue efforts at the Quierscheid mine disaster, Grube Maybach in October 1930 when an explosion of "Fire Damp" ( "Schlagwetterexplosion" in German, a methane gas/coal dust mix) killed 98 miners in a local coal mine.
There's still a monument there to this day commemorating the disaster.
The watch may hold some interest for the people of that town I guess, and I would imagine it's possible more information could be gathered about the man and his part in the rescue attempts if the local government/council authorities were contacted if you so wished to do so.
'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'
In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.
The "Reg.Kom. d. Saargebietes" bit has nothing to do with a regimental commander; it stands for "Regierungskommission des Saargebietes" (in French, "Commission de gouvernement du Bassin de la Sarre"), the Saarland's governing body from 1920 to 1935. "Gewidmet von" means "dedicated by".
Otherwise, what Ned sed.
Last edited by HPL2008; 05-01-2015 at 04:56 PM.
Ned and HPL2008 thank you very much for the information. Ned I will try to contact them and see what I can do and learn about this watch .
a truly historic watch that belongs to the Koch family.
Yes if they can be located
An interesting watch, for sure. Odd that it lists his name as "Mr Koch" rather than his full name. I wonder if Koch was some sort of official at the mine or perhaps a local of some renown where his name would not have been needed in full. It would be interesting to to figure out where and who the GI who brought it home got it from and how he obtained it. Perhaps for a couple packs of cigarettes? Who can say? But, yes-it should be with the Koch family if they still exist. The line may have gone extinct either from the war or since it's end, but definitely well worth abit of researching. By itself, it is not highly valuable and the case is simply a plated one guaranteed for only 10 years against wear through-as opposed to some as high as 25 years. The Unic watch was a decent quality watch,though not in the 23 jewels class, and the purchasers and presenters of this watch must have paid a modest sum for it. They must have definitely thought highly of Mr Koch and his efforts.
"Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."
William thank s for reading this post . I agree the watch should go back to the Koch family. I just need to set time aside to dig into the search for the family . this also brings up a question I have often thought about doing this hobby. Where do you draw the line on returning an item . if it's named do you give it back or does the amount you spent on the item cause you to say in the back of your head nope I'm keeping this . we all have items in are collection that has a name on it . Just as an example if you showed a # SS dagger that could be traced back to the original and the family of that SS soldier contacted you and said that was taken from their family member would you give it back. Or tell them sorry spoils of war . I have friends that are antique dealers that buy medal groupings from famlies and when they put them up for sale they always get " you should give them back to the family" . like I said where do you draw the line .
Returning items of probably or significant personal values is always a tough call. If you ask 10 different collectors, you'll likely get 10 different answers. I think it depends alot on the nature of the item. Something like, say, a named helmet or Soldbuch is not likely to be returnable. They truly are pretty much the spoils of war. The same would apply to a numbered dagger or even an entire uniform or badge. These items are War Materials and not apt to generate more than a little sentimental value but certainly not something that the soldier's family that had them could demand back. They may wish to Purchase them back but to be returned gratis is not really an option. Now when you get into Personal items such as engraved watches, wedding rings, and the like-then you're getting into abit less black and white territory. Much depends on how or where the item was recovered, I suppose. If, say, an engraved gold wedding ring was taken from a KIA soldier...I would strongly think about offering it to the wife, if she was still surviving or his immediate family such as a son or daughter-IF they wanted them and not just for material values. Medals and badges? Certainly not. Spoils of War-plain and simple. If they would want to purchase the items back? Then I might think about it and whatever the circumstances might be in that particular instance.
This watch could have come from many sources. As said, it may have been traded for any number of needed or desirable items. In the terrible winter of 1945 and with many male family members still away in POW camps and no one else to provide for the families, many a family treasure was reluctantly sold or bartered for necessities. Unfortunate and even pitiable, but still legitimately obtained. Seeing as how the date was 15 years before the end of the war, it may well be that this watch was at home with an elderly family member who went out and hocked it for food and fuel or one of his family members did in the case of his being deceased at that point. This is the case of "it would be Nice to see it back with the Koch family after grandpa had to barter with a GI for Winter fuel and had always been saddened by it's loss". Or again, it might not have Any particular value to the now distantly descended relatives. Personally, I would do a cursory search and see if perhaps there may still be living Koch's around who would remember it, but I doubt that you will get much of anywhere with it. It's not a $25K solid gold watch that was looted from a nobleman's estate or stolen by the Nazi's from a wealthy Jewish family. And, yes, there were plenty of cases of just that-GI's getting carried away and greedy and literally robbing families of valuable articles at gun point. Our old deceased pal Charlie Snyder even wrote a book about the "looting of the Third Reich", but this watch is nothing of the kind and I would not go miles out of my way trying to locate Mr Koch.
"Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."
William I agree with everything you have said. It was just one of those thoughts that bounces around in my head every now and then .