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Relics and grave robbing

Article about: by slados28 I don't really think there's much to argue about there... What I find interesting about this whole fear of relics being brought out of graves/taken off of corpses is that this re

  1. #31

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    Quote by Datrus View Post
    The funerals i have seen, the KIA's are either buried in relatively big boxes but about 8 KIA's in one such box. Others in very small boxes. Both examples way smaller than a normal casket. I might be able to find some pics. I have not seen any buried with anything actually. German or Soviet. I have seen USSR soldiers buried with not as much as a button. Dug up by state archaeologists. You could of course dump everything on top of the caskets, but then you will just have some people digging them up again. I am almost sure it would happen here if the word got around. Equipment, helmets the whole nine yards from 20, 30, 100 soldiers on a remote cemetery. It will happen for sure. Sadly. I think most personal items are turned over to relatives. Someone will correct me if i am wrong.

    If they get shipped to Germany it would be another story. Not all do. I do not know the Volksbund policy on shipping helmets, weapons and so forth. If they would even want to pay for it. I am almost sure KIA's found in Germany are not buried with their equipment either.

    I would look at it like this. The KIA is found because i happened to be there and he will be buried because of that. If i was in a position to ask "Can i keep your helmet or weapon", the answer could be yes. If i ask "can i keep your wedding ring and photo of your wife and daughter", i am sure the answer will be no. I am also sure he would be happy to see his brothers in arm again.

    I perfectly understand that some would not like to own such items and some would not bother.

    Regards, Lars
    It's fair to say that you come into this world with nothing, and you leave it with nothing. Good post Lars.
    '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.

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  3. #32

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    Quote by DougB View Post
    Digging up and casting the bones away is not right.
    I don't really think there's much to argue about there...

    What I find interesting about this whole fear of relics being brought out of graves/taken off of corpses is that this relic state equipment is frequently frowned upon all the time for these very reasons while, on the other hand, it seems totally legit to show off helmets in a non-relic state with blood stains etc.
    Most actually seem to think that traces of blood "adds" to the helmet... and this is not only about the ones with blood stains --- I mean, how many of these helmets (talking non-relic here of course) were taken off of dead enemy soldiers shortly after the kill? IMO there's no real reason to differentiate between the relics and non-relics when it comes to the fear of any of this equipment having come off of a corpse... it's all very likely in both scenarios if you ask me.

    I don't think anyone on here would want to dispute that digging up a corpse, stripping it off its equipment and then throwing away the bones as if they were garbage is an appalling act.
    I do however think that there's this kind exaggerated fear of this having happened when it comes to the relics as opposed to the 100% OK/"squeaky clean" attitude displayed towards just about all of the ones in a non-relic state. I mean, rust/no liner --- doesn't really equal "gravedigging"... it just mean that it has been in the ground for a number of years as opposed to helmets that were possibly picked right off of the dead bodies before the battlefield was "cleaned up" after the battle.

    Lots of nuances in there and everything... I just wanted to highlight this one aspect of the whole thing in the interest of objective/mature discussion

  4. #33
    ?

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    Another good post Slados !! Must admit i've always found it slightly bizarre the discussions that take place regarding some blood stained liner in a helmet and exactly how the guy could have been killed by the bullet or schrapnel that has damaged the lid etc the fact that the helmet has come from someone who quite likely had just been killed in action or suffered a serious head wound doesn't seem to bother anyone !!

    Just a quick mention of the German Volksbund , for identification purposes all they require are the details from the dog tag , not the actual tag themselves or any personal effects , in most cases the info they give to those that have recovered the remains is the date and location of death , but not even the name of the individual . In my expereince the return of personal possesions etc to the family has been through again the efforts of the recovery team to trace the family themselves and make sure those things are returned to the relatives , the Volksbund appear not to do this themselves probably due to the numbers involved.

    cheers

    Paul
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  5. #34

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    Must admit i've always found it slightly bizarre the discussions that take place regarding some blood stained liner in a helmet and exactly how the guy could have been killed by the bullet or schrapnel that has damaged the lid etc the fact that the helmet has come from someone who quite likely had just been killed in action or suffered a serious head wound doesn't seem to bother anyone !! the numbers involved.


    It bothers me!

  6. #35

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    Quote by sandgroper View Post
    Must admit i've always found it slightly bizarre the discussions that take place regarding some blood stained liner in a helmet and exactly how the guy could have been killed by the bullet or schrapnel that has damaged the lid etc the fact that the helmet has come from someone who quite likely had just been killed in action or suffered a serious head wound doesn't seem to bother anyone !! the numbers involved.


    It bothers me!
    And me to Dave.
    Interesting reading gent's.
    Cheers
    Dave

  7. #36

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    I would feel bad about ever owning a blood stained helmet liner, at least with relics you can always kid yourself the item was lost, thrown away or left after capture etc.

  8. #37
    ?

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    I have one that's cut from the soldier by German medics who treated him and he kept his helmet when evacuated. His family sold it last year with many other of his items as a large grouping and it's not a battle trophy or corpse cut but sentimental to the soldier actually who wore it.

    Sometimes we let our imaginations run a little wild, I'm as guilty as the next guy. To me there is a clear distinction between a battlefield trophy of war or sentimental item kept by the soldier who wore it than profiteers digging up 70 year old graves and posting pics of the helmets with the dismembered heads still in the helmets.(a GHW post years ago that was clearly grave robbing ) and then the bones chucked away as refuse.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to go on a proper battlefield archeological dig one day provided enough cold beer was nearby. Ive read how if bodies are uncovered they are treated with the utmost respect and reported. I've just read too many stories and seen too many posts that are grave robbers looking to make a buck and the fallen are targeted. These men made the ultimate sacrifice, many drafted against their will and men who were like you and I and not fighting for a cause but just trying to live their lives in peace with their families. Let them be.

  9. #38

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    I think cold beer is essential to any battlefield archeology.

  10. #39

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    As far as I know it is not prohibited to sell "nazi" items in Germany and Austria. Propaganda is prohibited, not the items. You can even buy historical "nazi" books like Mein Kampf in Germany without any problems. I do not know exactly but selling "nazi" items seems to be OK and legal in France too. When I visited Normandy I saw many items for sell. As for Hungary I really do not know but it is hard to belive it is prohibited there either.

    But the sad truth is that there still are such guys who do not report to anyone about fallen soldiers. So it is - in Russia, Estonia, Latvia and I belive also in other places. I personally like relics but I also do not tolerate grave robbing. Most of the ground dug awards and dog tags are not from the war graves but from the places Germans surrendered. It was wise to get rid of all documents, ID-tags, awards etc so these items were just thrown away. I will recieve today a nice small group of such awards from Kurland Kessel area:-).

  11. #40

    Default Re: Relics and grave robbing

    Quote by DougB View Post
    I have one that's cut from the soldier by German medics who treated him and he kept his helmet when evacuated. His family sold it last year with many other of his items as a large grouping and it's not a battle trophy or corpse cut but sentimental to the soldier actually who wore it.

    Sometimes we let our imaginations run a little wild, I'm as guilty as the next guy. To me there is a clear distinction between a battlefield trophy of war or sentimental item kept by the soldier who wore it than profiteers digging up 70 year old graves and posting pics of the helmets with the dismembered heads still in the helmets.(a GHW post years ago that was clearly grave robbing ) and then the bones chucked away as refuse.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to go on a proper battlefield archeological dig one day provided enough cold beer was nearby. Ive read how if bodies are uncovered they are treated with the utmost respect and reported. I've just read too many stories and seen too many posts that are grave robbers looking to make a buck and the fallen are targeted. These men made the ultimate sacrifice, many drafted against their will and men who were like you and I and not fighting for a cause but just trying to live their lives in peace with their families. Let them be.
    To me this distinction between a "trophy" and dug a up helmet that was left behind (NOT removed from a buried soldier) is mostly semantics... you can argue that the soldiers "earned the right" to plunder dead enemy soldiers and therefore that the helmet in your collection is a morally justifiable collectible, but I'd say that a helmet with a blood smeared liner stands a lot better chance of having come right off a dead soldier and is a whole lot more graphic/ "disturbing" than an anonymous rusted shell with a few holes in it from an honest digger.

    -The holes in the rusty shell could have been afflicted to it anytime during or after the war, with any kind of outcome.. good OR bad...
    -Whereas the non-relic with the bloodstained is more or less 100% from a wounded or possibly already dead soldier (i.e., a corpse)

    I do understand the discomfort some feel of not knowing the exact origins of relic helmets but I would very much want to argue that this should then be the case with most of the non-relics as well... at the very least to a certain degree.
    There is of course the distinction between a "trophy" and and item found by a so-called "profiteer" (again: not talking about the "profiteers" that are knowingly digging up fallen soldiers here, this should go without saying) but this, as I've mentioned earlier, is imo mostly semantic when you strip it all down... Morally speaking and for some peace of mind (if needed) I'd probably go for the rusty relic from a trusted digger rather than the non-relic with a VERY telling bloodstained liner.

    I guess we have to agree to disagree... I actually understand and sympathize with both sides, this is certainly a grey area. I know one thing though; that article is a one-sided and exceedingly uninformed piece --- no objectivity to trace whatsoever, the agenda is totally clear.

    This topic makes for an interesting discussion though.

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