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N029572 RDK HONOR BOOK GROUPING (German Fed of Large Families).
This rare Honor Book came from the collection of a German writer-researcher who spent the better part of his free-time his entire life, interviewing, researching and documenting the lives of those who lived and fought in the Third Reich. Decades later, he tried to have the better stories he had amassed produced into a documentaries series. When this project didn't materialize, he set about compiling them into book form, starting with German's & German Families of the Third Reich.
This large 5x7" hardback 24-page Honor Book was originally issued to Paul and Philauena Unger of Zmickau a small town about 15 miles from Chemnitz (about 50 miles west of Dresden), near the Czech-Sudetenland border. They had five children between 1920-1934 and lived outside the town center off of Hindenberg-strasse, not far from the towns Engineering school off Hindenberg Platz
"Paul Unger was a forty-three year-old Rangiermeister (assistant train conductor) and also the senior rail-yard officer supervising the shunting (constructing and/or breaking down the railroad cars) and all signal & communications at the Zmickau switching yard. His father Philipp had worked at the same station as a train conductor as well, as his father before him. The German Railroad was a good company to be employed by.
Paul Unger had fought in the First World War with the 1st Royal Bavarian Chevau-legers "Emperor Nicholas of Russia" in the 5th Bavarian Cavalry Division and saw fighting on both fronts and won the Iron Cross 1st & 2nd Class and the Military Honor Medal 2nd Class and silver Wound Badge. He joined briefly with the Freikorps after the war when his immediate region was in danger of a communist-Bolshevik take-over.
Paul Unger had known Philauena since 1910 when she was just starting at the same local high school he was leaving (he was going to the local trade school). Nevertheless, he made it a point to know her and tried to hang-out at the places she and her friends did, but it wasn't always easy. Philauena and her parents were German-Czech Protestant's who had just come from the Sudetenland area, and his family was Catholic -and on the other side of town. She eventually started seeing someone from her own church and community who had more access to her than Paul, and so it was - until the war.
Philauena's boyfriend was killed early in the war, at the First Battle of the Marne (Sept 1914). Unger had ran into her over the Christmas holidays in 1916 and they became pen-pals, which over the course of the next couple years, led to bigger and better things. She was one of the primary reasons he didn't stay too long in the Freikorps. Once home, his father helped him secure a job at the railroad. Paul and Philuanea were married in 1919. Neither family was keen on the marriage, but they adjusted to it.
Philauena's first three children came in very close succession- scarcely a year between each child.
Leonore was the eldest, born in 1920, followed by Hans Joachim eleven months later, followed by Rülf in thirteen months later in 1922. Fours years passed before their fourth child, Suse, was born in the spring of 1926. It was then a full 8 years later, in the summer of 1934, that Ohunsher was born (the name was Russian-Slav origin after Philauena's grandfather).
By 1942 - when the Unger's were issued their Honor Book by the German Federation of Large Families, their oldest child Leonore was twenty-two. She had been in the local BDM, served her conscription time in the RADwJ, and afterwards pursued a career in the RAD. She went to Lagerschule for two years (1938-39), and became a camp assistant (Gehilfin) to the camp commander in Chemnitz, while studying further to be an Administrative Assistant. She went to additional schooling at the Chemnitz Reichsschule, and by 1942, was a Deputy Department Leader (Lagergruppenführerinnen) in Home Economics Adminstrative Department in Gau Sachsen- an admirable feat.
The Unger's second eldest, Hans Joachim, was in the 1st Cavalry Division and had fought in France . The division was restructured and became the 24th Panzer Battalion and went on to fight in Russia. Rülf, the third eldest, was twenty years-old and was an SS-man Panzergranadier in the 2nd SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich" and was also in Russia fighting as well.
Suse was sixteen and still living at home. She was in the local BDM and had a boyfriend Gearhard who was a year older and in the Hitler Youth. He would be going into the military next year and she feared for him (he died shortly after he joined, in France in 1944). She spent most of her time with the BDM and NSF (German Woman's League), helping the single mothers with their children and various tasks. She also helped young Ohunscher with raising rabbits in the barn of the Unger back yard.
Ohunscher was eleven and in the Hitler Youth. He distinuished himself as a good runner and was used, like many boys at that time, as a messenger between Lutschutz posts. This back-up contingency plan was used with frequency as the communications system the Luftshutz had would often get damaged during the bombings. In addition, it was much older cable and equipment to begin with, for the better and modern cable and communication systems were taken by the Wehrmacht for use in the front lines.
Ohunscher also tended the family garden of mostly potatoes and turnips, which was the typical German home front diet during the war. He also tended to the rabbits which the Unger's raised for the meat.
Three years later, in the spring of 1945, U.S. forces occupied Zwickau. By then, both Hans Joachim and Rülf had both been killed in Russia. Lenore was injured and her small child Edda killed, in the bombings of Hannover, where she had moved in 1943 when she married. Paul himself had sustained injuries when the rail yard was bombed, and lost a leg and had little use of his good right arm. Philauena and Suse cared for Paul while young Ohunscher, under the gentle guidence of his father, became man of the house at age eleven.
As if things couldn't get much worse that late spring, it was discovered the U.S. troops were going to be pulling out for the Russian's to occupy Zwickau-! It was suppose to be secret, but somehow it got out and created quite a panic among the citizens. Young Willibald Niesl, a loyal admirer of Suse, and a war-hardened Volkssturm survivor, had come over to the Unger house one evening with a plan for him and Suse to escape. He had just turned eighteen and had no family , his parents having died in the air raids. But Suse did and refused him. However, Paul favored the plan- even insisted upon it, provided they take young Ohunscher with them.
And so, despite the added security the town was now under, Willibald's fine soldiering had got them safely out one dark summer night in late June, 1945. He chose the Mulde river, which actually wasn't very far from the Unger's property. From there, they continued southward through the woods and around towards Plauen, to Hof, about thirty miles away. From there they would proceed westwards.
They made it to a small farm on the edge of Topen, a little village outside of Hof . The elderly couple graciously took them in- Suse was tired and overwhelmed. The couple also arranged the place to make it look as though they had always been there- as part of the family. In return, the three young runaways worked the farm and took care of the couple. They wanted to continue west, away from the Russian's, but it appeared they had made it after all- the little village of Topen and nearby Hof were to be under U.S. occupation. They had made it- they were safe, but Suse and Ohunscher would never hear from their parents again.
They stayed in Topen for three years with the edlerly couple. Willibald and Suse found work in nearby Hof and Ohunscher tended the farm. Then Willibald had a good job lead in Erfurt, about 80 miles north, so in early 1949, they bravely moved on. In Erfurt, Willibald and Suse married. When Ohunscher graduated in 1952, they moved again- this time to Frankfurt. There were better jobs and opportunities there in the heart of Germany's banking capital. Ohunscher began taking evening classes at the university. Suse was an assistant balance sheet bookkeeper at a small firm, and Willibald worked at the one skill he had been trained at before being sent to war, as a book binder-book maker. (Buchbindergesellen).
In 1956, they had received word they had inherited the farm of the elderly couple (whom Willibald and Susie had stayed in touch with by letter and even visited a couple times when they had vacation). They did not to really leave Frankfurt but Ohunscher was - he was keen on the whole idea. He had been taking agricultural classes back in Frankfurt and this was something he felt he could manage- and did. He took over the small farm and opened a small hardware store in nearby Hof.
Willibald and Suse had one child, Windelin, in 1958. Willibald went on to have a small but lucrative side business repairing rare and antique books -of which there were many in need of repair after all the bombings.
Lenore had moved closer to her little sister after Windelin was born, to Weisbaden, just twenty miles away, and eventually re-married (her first husband was killed in the war)."
HONOR BOOK- It was issued as #304, 296 and was verified/stamped by the Zwickau Police Presidents Office in 1942.
It comes with the very rare 5x7" RDK Greeting Card from the RDK Reichsbund Leader who welcomes the family into the privileged RDK in typical inspiring Third Reich fashion.
There are also three photographs- one features Paul's older brother, Philipp Franz, and friends celebrating Philipp's marriage in 1929 (Philauena is on the left). The second features the two eldest children Lenore and Hans Joachim with little sister Suse. Hans is also with his girlfriend Freida Kob.
The third photo features Rülf in his RAD uniform at age seventeen.
Also included is an very, very rare Medical Card which was issued to Philauena in 1942 .
GRADE **** PRICE $239.00
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