BACKGROUND: Artwork, as a propaganda tool, was widely used during the Third Reich and Hitler’s own humble artistic background also helped foster a general interest in German art. Many art exhibitions were held through-out German during the time period with the largest being held annually, ever summer from 1937 to 1944, at the German House of Art in Munich. As early as 1938 the OKW, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, (High Command of the Armed Forces), actively began recruiting artists who were assigned to a units Propaganda Company along with photographers and journalists. By the end of the war almost two hundred war artists had served in the Wehrmacht. One of the most prolific, and as a result one of the best known German war artists was Feldwebel Wolfgang Willrich. Willrich a WWI veteran, had volunteer for military service prior to the outbreak of WWII but had been rejected on the basis of his age, (42), and was assigned to Landwehr I as a trained reserve. Through his personal friendship with Irwin Rommel Willrich was able to secure a position in the OKH visual arts section of the Propaganda department. In this position Willrich painted and drew numerous personalities and regular soldiers in all branches of service through-out the war. Many pieces of his artwork were featured on assorted series of postcards developed by the "VDA, "Volksbund für das Deutschtum im Ausland", (National League for Germans Abroad), among others. The VDA was originally a pre-war organization formed to assist German nationals living in foreign countries and during the Third Reich era the VDA was taken over by the NSDAP and placed under the jurisdiction of the SS. In mid-1942 the OKH decided to have portraits of all the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross holders and Willrich was assigned the task.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: A 10.5cm x 15cm, mid weight card stock, full color artwork postcard features a close up of Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross holder, Obergefreiter Hubert Brinkforth in uniform. Visible details include the collar tabs, shoulder straps, breast eagle, an Iron Cross 2nd class ribbon and his Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Brinkforth’s uniform is charcoal while his collar and shoulder straps are green and his face, hair and awards are in full colour. Postcard artwork was done by the renown German war artist, Wolfgang Willrich, and background features his distinctive "W" cypher flanked by the date, "1941". Reverse of postcard has black printed script which includes, "Obergefreiter Brinkforth". Reverse also has additional script, "VDA, Volksdeutsches Kameradschaftsopfer der Deutschen Jugend, Dezember 1941". The postcard was produced by the VDA, as number one in the "E14" series of fund raising postcards. Unused postcard shows age yellowing, creasing and edge wear.

Of Note: Brinkforth was awarded his Knight’s Cross on March 7TH 1941 while a Gefreiter serving with the 14TH Anti-Tank Company of the 25TH Infantry Regiment which was originally a component of the 2ND Infantry Division which was reorganized as the 2ND Motorized Infantry Division in 1937. In the autumn of 1940 the 2ND Motorized Infantry Division was also reorganized and became the 12TH Panzer Division. Brinkforth fell in battle in Russia on June 5TH 1942.

GRADE *** 3/4                             PRICE $35.00

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