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Fritz

R.E.M.E. postwar studio photos, army of occupation

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Here are two studio photos I was given from the archive of Foto Atelier Mercedes Riedel in Wandsbek. These are postwar photos of British troops of the occupation force around Hamburg. They are from the R.E.M.E. and had their encampments in nissen huts etc. on Wandsbek's Feldstrasse (now Walddörfer Strasse). They are wearing some special unit badge which I can't make out. They had their group photos taken in the studio in the private house of Mercedes Riedel. In order to photograph the officers, who were accomodated in a large stately villa in Wandsbek-Marienthal, she was one day taken by motor transport to that place. The neighbours were all very curious and thought she had been arrested. That was not the case, and she recieved all film material from the British Forces, as there was absolutely nothing more to be had postwar, everything was in shortage, and hunger was reality.

If anyone has any information on this force of occupation in postwar Wandsbek or Hamburg, I would be very interested to hear.

 

REME.jpg

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Mrs. Neusüß told me, after a while of being reserved, some fraternisation slowly started. There was a Tommy called Harry, who used to visit - they had camps in the Feldstrasse (since renamed Walddörfer Strasse). Some other Tommies used to offer chocolate to the local children - "Cadburys"! My little Birgitt at first said, "Ich will aber keine Schokolade vom Tommy" - I don't want any chocolate from the Tommy! But this soon changed, and children used to share their "Mars bars", cutting them in thin slices, and enjoying them. Everything, absolutely everthing was scarce, and people lived in the ruins of Wandsbek, or in the Nissen huts, which either had been raised by the Wehrmacht or by the occupation forces along the former Feldstrasse in Wandbek - it was more or less the same everywhere. And there were masses of refugees (from East Prussia, etc.) and people, who had been bombed out. There is much talk of the "Care Pakete" distributed in Germany, but anyone I ever spoke to, never received same. It was really hard times in the early postwar days. Even so, Bigitt and her mother used to sunbath wearing a bathing costume amidst the ruins, the sun still shined. Somehow things had to carry on, and Mrs. N. was able to find employment at the other side of the street in the big cigarette factory of Reemtsma, where she remained till her retirement. Just some old memories from the old days, which I got first hand. I don't think the newest generations would understand, when they never experienced those days after 1945.

 

To sum it up, there is one exclamation which says it all: "Hurra! Wir leben noch!"

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