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Hermann and Karl Bartels family World War I correspondence


Scope and Contents

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 0

Hermann and Karl Bartels family World War I correspondence, 1914-1918 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Aaron Lisec and Tanja Burkhard

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Collection Overview

Title: Hermann and Karl Bartels family World War I correspondence, 1914-1918Add to your cart.

ID: 1/7/MSS 328

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.

Subjects: World War, 1914-1918

Forms of Material: Soldiers - Germany - Correspondence, World War, 1914-1918 - Personal narratives, German

Languages: German


World War I correspondence of a Berlin family.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection covers the World War I military service of two brothers, Hermann and Karl Bartels from Berlin, who saw action on both the Western and Eastern fronts between 1914 and 1918.

Collection Historical Note

Primary correspondents:

Herrmann “Manni” Bartels: rank(s): Unteroffizier (1915), Vizemachtweister. Division: 22. Infanterie, Kuerassierregiment no. 6

Karl “Kalli” Bartels: rank(s): Musketier, Infrantrie- Regiment 48, 2nd Division , Unteroffizier (1918) 8th Kompanie

Elise Bartels: Mother

Doris Bartels: Sister

Hermann Bartels: Uncle

Places from which the letters were sent:

Elberfeld (07-08-1915)

Lida (Belarus) (11-16-1916)

Jueterbog (09-02-18, 09-03-18 (Hermann)

Steele an der Ruhr, Germany (05-28-2011, Laurentius hospital, 1917)

Berlin, Danzigerstr.75, Germany (Family residence)

Muenster, Germany (11-18-1917)

Eberfeld (07-08-15)

Altenburg, (09-14-1917, by Wilhelm)

Lagny, France (02-22-1917)

Subject/Index Terms

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.

Acquisition Source: Purchased.

Preferred Citation: Hermann and Karl Bartels family WWI correspondence, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1914 November-JuneAdd to your cart.
March 13, 1915.  Herrmann says his battalion is moving towards Czechowice, Poland, where he expects an improved situation after having fought in the trenches.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1915 July-DecmeberAdd to your cart.

November 24, 1915.  Karl receives a letter from a friend in Doeberitz, who describes the strict drill that all soldiers and officers have to undergo there.

December 11, 1915.  Karl expresses his shock about the operators of the grenade thrower being 15-16 year old boys.

Folder 3: Correspondence, 1916 June-AugustAdd to your cart.
April 17, 1916.  Herrmann tells his mother that he does not believe in her hopes for peace.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1916 September-DecemberAdd to your cart.
November 10, 1916.  Manni tells his parents that he received a letter from Kalli from the trenches and describes his training in Lida (Belarus).
Folder 5: Correspondence, 1917 January-MayAdd to your cart.

February 26, 1917.  Manni receives a critical diploma from a course in which he participated in Lida, Belarus.  He received the overall grade ‘sufficient’, his grades being below average in shooting exercises.  He quotes: ‘[...] very popular with his comrades, to be recommended for promotion to officer.’

March 28, 1917.  Karl describes boils on his leg and attributes them to lice bites.

May 25, 1917.  Kalli describes being in severe pain, due to boils on his lower leg that are festering.  The doctor is too busy to take care of him. As a coping strategy he picture drinking coffee on the balcony with his parents. He expresses the hope of peace, so he could stop “toiling as a soldier.”

Folder 6: Correspondence, 1917 June-JulyAdd to your cart.

June 7, 1917. Karl complains about removing the bandage from 3 boils on his left lower leg and describes excessive bleeding.

July 4, 1917.  Manni awaits orders to be sent back to Berlin.

Folder 7: Correspondence, 1917 August-DecemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Correspondence, 1918 January-AprilAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Correspondence, 1918 May-NovemberAdd to your cart.
May 12, 1918.  One of Karl’s comrades sends his well wishes, because Karl is wounded.  He reminds Karl of the good times before the war and before the sorrow, and expresses his hope that the good times will return.
Folder 10: Correspondence, undatedAdd to your cart.

In an undated letter to his mother, Manni describes how difficult it is for him to come home on vacation after living the life of a soldier, where he is constantly on the move and surrounded by others. On his vacation, he says he longed for peace, silence and rest, while his family tried to make his stay worthwhile; wanting to constantly show one's love for the other leads to disruption. He says he wishes for the daily toying with his life to stop. He describes having to go to Lida for training, which will decide what branch of the military he will be assigned to. Correspondents must be able for garrison duty, or else they will be sent to the infantry. He complains about not being properly informed about the facts of the war (and possibly having to stay in Russia) and tells her not to worry about her sons, as they are protected by God.

In a card, Manni describes the route he had to ride on horseback in Poland: Herby, Kielce, Radom, 31 km on one day, 47 on another.

Folder 11: Postcards and PhotographsAdd to your cart.

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