Visor caps of the Third Reich have always held a great fascination for me. They are both the archetypal symbol of the German officer and carry the personal connection of being once worn by an individual soldier. One piece that I acquired many years ago shows all the traits of an officer’s cap, plus a lot more.
This infantry officer’s cap is made of high quality doeskin material, finely formed, and sewn with a dark green headband and white (infantry) piping. The black molded fiber visor retains all of its polished sheen, and the bullion chinstrap is attached with two flat silver side buttons. The wreath, cockade, and Reichsadler with swastika (national eagle symbol) are made of plated metal. All of these show just a few stains of patina from age. All in all, it is a very fine example of a beautiful — but quite common — visor cap.
What makes this piece special is not the outside, but rather what is inside.
Around the leather sweatband, six US soldiers wrote their thoughts on March 29, 1945. While some waxed poetic, others showed anticipation, while only one just signed with his name.
In blue fountain pen is written:
Bob Johnson, Anadarko, Oklahoma.
Tomorrow we may be drinking water. But, give us tomorrow!
Frank A. Looby
We’ve chased the swine across the Rhine. March 29, 1945.
C R Hawley The wild Irishman from Boston.
Perhaps soon we shall have something to celebrate.
Donald Van Dyke, Florida.
29 March 1945. This is the beginning of the end. Good Luck.
John W. Funk New York
Life can be beautiful. Live the life you love.
J A Haleson, Wilkes Barre, Pa.
Even though the war in Germany would last only 40 more days, I don’t know if they all survived.
Together, however, each man left behind a snapshot showing a sense of fatigue, philosophy, humor, and hope for a better tomorrow.
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