Collecting WW2 German 'stuff' - is it wrong ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by dogs_bollox, Jan 14, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I inherited a few WW2 German souvenirs from my grandfather when i was younger. A couple of buckles, a belt, a bayonet, some medals. I hasten to add that i don't believe the items to have been stripped from the hands of dead and dying potato heads !! He was a tough old bugger, hard as nails but i don't think he was a callous bugger.

    Anyway, over the years I've grabbed a couple more buckles if I've seen them in an antique shop and picked up a coalscuttle helmet too. Nothing serious and not something i actively go out looking to buy. Just saw a cheap deal or two and grabbed them. There's worse places to put your money into if you want a return on your investment.

    Some of these items sit on a shelf in my spare bedroom-cum-study. A buddy saw them and said he thought it was a bit off to display such items. I pointed out that they sat with my grandads old tin lid, his medals and some photos of him as a young 'un in uniform so it was hardly a Nazi shrine to which he pointed out that having such items could only mean i was a nazi !! As he's ex-REME i obviously don't take anything he says seriously but it did make me wonder if such an opinion is a common thing ?

    So, am i a Nazi loving walt without realising it ? Am i alone or are there others out there who dabble in a bit of collecting with no regard to the politics behind the items ? Let's be honest, the Germans looked the ally-est of all the armies in WW2 !!

    • Like Like x 1
  2. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Somebody a long, long time ago said that the army with the smartest uniform always loses.
  3. yes, you are very wrong having those things in your house....... parcel them up and send them to me immediately.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. As long as the items are collected and preserved as a historical project with the aim of not forgetting the past and not as any form of admiration for the nazis then I don't see the problem.

    It is my understanding that due to nazi symbols being banned and the sense of shame over ww2 that german schoolchildren to this day are not taught much about the war - a lot of them grow up ignorant and believing that Britain was as much at fault in ww2 as Germany. For this reason when my old school was doing its german exchange my history teacher always made sure their visit coincided with the part of our course where he explained the causes of the second world war and the rise of hitler
    • Like Like x 1
  5. If it's good enough for me and Lemmy, it's good enough for you mate.

    Written at 1445 Moscow time, according to my Grana pocket watch with its German Army serial number D735419H.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Nazi symbolism is indeed subject to legal restrictions in Germany (some of my book covers on trains get funny looks!), but Germans are extremely well educated on the causes and consequences of WW2.....
  7. Incidentally, I had a Russian mate here in Moscow who used to dig round in the swamps east of here, and pulled in amazing kit. This was 20 years back before they tightened up on it. Two MG-42s (albeit very rusted up), two K-98s, bayonets, belt buckles, uniforms still in the bag, allsorts. Even packs of plastic explosives!
    In the end his mum went daft when she saw his explosives stash and made him take it to the cops.
  8. Don't be daft

  9. Maybe, I've never been to Germany so am going on hearsay, but the ones who sat in on my classes weren't.

    I also had a German history professor at uni who spent a great deal of time in his lectures trying to make out that the ordinary people in Germany were clueless about the holocaust and generally going on about how innocent they all were...didn't wash with most of us.
  10. Well i've had a long hard think about the moral and decent implications of owning said articles from your veteran Grandfather and his collection of german memorabilia, and i have come to these conclusions:
    1. Your Grandfather served in a horrific war so that people like your 'friend' could have the god given right and freedom to complain about stuff like this and
    2. Its your house, display what you like, if your 'friend' doesn't like it, tell him to feck off and not bother coming round anymore.
    • Like Like x 4
  11. I don't think its wrong in the slightest. Think of it as preserving history.

    This is something I've taken more of an interest in over the past year or two. Have a few bits and bobs myself, including my grandfathers helmet

    If however, you've got WWII era Nazi flags hanging in your living room and a copy of Mein Kampf lying on the coffee table, that might be taking it a bit far.
  12. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Most Germans who lived through that period undoubtedly were ignorant of the full extent of the holocaust, it was hardly advertised with weekly statistics, and the propaganda talked of relocation and labour camps.
    I personally knew a couple from Winsen (Aller), a couple of kms from Belsen, that had no idea what was happening there, he was at the front, she was farming.
  13. I'm with Alsacien on this one. The German youth have this subject driven down their throat and are well aware of it!

    The ones sat in your class, maybe they didn't want to actually 'discuss' this and maybe some of them were 1st generation born Germans from immigrants. Why should they be made to take on the burden of guilt, for something that happened way before they were even born!
  14. As others have said its not a problem if your just collecting memorabilia from history.

    If you've got a suitcase full of gold teeth and a lampshade made from skin then your IVV and I claim my £5.
  15. whatever your views on the ideology of the Nazi party, getting Hugo Boss to design the No 2 uniforms was a stroke of genius ....

    style over substance , where have we seen that lately , oh yes TCB...