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Ernst Werner correspondence


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

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Ernst Werner correspondence, 1915-1919 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

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Collection Overview

Title: Ernst Werner correspondence, 1915-1919Add to your cart.

ID: 1/7/MSS 221

Primary Creator: Werner, Ernst.

Extent: 3.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.

Subjects: Prisoners of war - France - History, Werner, Ernst, World War, 1914-1918

Forms of Material: Correspondence., Diehm, Marie Werner - Correspondence, Soldiers - Germany - Correspondence, Werner, Berta - Correspondence, Werner, Ernst - Correspondence

Languages: German

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Ernst Werner Collection contains approximately 270 letters and cards, all written in German, from Ernst Werner to sisters, Berta and Marie Diehm.  The letters and cards were written between November 21, 1915 and June 15, 1919.  The last 27 letters were written from the French prison on the island of St. Martin de Ré in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France.  In the collection, there are 3 picture postcards, one with a picture of Stuttgart, one of the University of Strasbourg, and one with a picture of German soldiers in Mangiennes, France.  The letters and cards are arranged chronologically in 13 folders.  The last 2 folders contain the letters Ernst wrote as a Prisoner of War.

Ernst writes in the cards from prison that he is learning English, French, Spanish, and even some Turkish there, mostly by reading different newspapers.  Ernst comments often on how beautiful the view of the sea is from the camp, and he says that he is in much better health because of the fresh sea air.  Ernst says that he feels much happier in the camp than on the front because in the camp, he can be his own man.

Biographical Note

Ernst Werner joined the German army as a Non-Commissioned Officer in 1915.  He was in Bavarian Replacement Regiment #3, Bavarian Reserve Division #39, Company 3, Battalion 1.  Ernst's family lived in the town of Arzberg in the state of Bavaria, Germany.  Ernst also had a girlfriend, Bertha, from Nuremberg, to whom the majority of the letters and cards in the collection are written.  During the last two years of the war, Ernst was a prisoner of war in a French prison in St. Martin de Ré on the Island of Ré.

During the war, France maintained over a thousand separate facilities for military prisoners, including permanent camps, working camps, hospitals, camps des inaptes, and triage camps.  During the beginning of the war, conditions in the camps were poor, but by the time Ernst Werner was captured in 1917, conditions had greatly improved.  The prisoners in the camps were not usually required to work; however, many of them worked in industrial jobs outside the camp.  There were prisoners in the French camps from countries throughout Europe, such as Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, etc.  Ernst used the newspapers that came to these prisoners to learn to read in their various languages.  In the camp, mail received from one's homeland was to be opened by a prison official in front of the prisoner, and the prisoners were only allowed to send two letters home per month.

Subject/Index Terms

Prisoners of war - France - History
Werner, Ernst
World War, 1914-1918

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation: [Item], Ernst Werner correspondence, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1915 November-1916 JanuaryAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1915 January-1916 FebruaryAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence, 1916 February-MarchAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1916 March-JuneAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence, 1916 JuneAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1916 June-AugustAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1916 August-SeptemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence, 1916 September-1916 DecemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1917 January-MarchAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1917 MarchAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1917 March-AprilAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence, 1917 July-1918 MayAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1918 June-1919 JuneAdd to your cart.

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