Firemen with fire truck, Germany, 1935

What it is:

Snapshot measuring 3.5 x 2.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Information stamped on the back indicates it was printed in the photo department of the city drugstore in Kötzting, Germany.  Handwritten on the back is Kötztinger Freiwillige Feuerwehr 1935, which translates to Koetzting Volunteer Fire Department 1935.


I seem to be reading more non-fiction than usual lately.  Last night I finished In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson, an excellent book, at turns entertaining and horrifying, about the experiences of the family of the American ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s rise to power.  So I guess Nazis were fresh in the mind as I sifted through a box of photos today looking for something to post.  The German script and date jumped out before I even turned it over to look at the image.  And I like the image.  I enjoy the subtle interactions that occur when groups of people pose together.  And the uniforms and equipment are interesting, partly because it’s always interesting to see such things from a different time and place, but also because it’s interesting (and a bit of a relief) to see that the municipal uniforms from this time and place aren’t emblazoned with giant swastikas.  Is that just a Hollywood stereotype?  Kötzting, by the way, is now called Bad Kötzting, and is a small Bavarian town near the Czech border.  And that odd white streak at crotch level on the guy in the middle is just a scratch in the photo (there are similar scratches that are harder to see against the sky).

2 comments on “Firemen with fire truck, Germany, 1935”

  1. re: white streak
    are you sure it’s not ectoplasm?

    Looks like some of the members were part of a horse unit, since they’re wearing riding boots and jodhpurs. I wonder how they used horses in firefighting.

    • LOL, ectoplasm, that’s hilarious. (It’s not a scratch in the negative, it’s a scratch in my copy which I can feel if I gently run my fingernail over it.) I don’t think I have any spirit world photos, but maybe I’m just not looking at them with a sufficiently open mind. 🙂 Re: horse unit firefighters, I have no idea. I suppose it wouldn’t have been all that long removed from when fire trucks were horse-driven. I wonder if some elements of this were kept on at least for ceremonial purposes.

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