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eMedals-Germany, Imperial. A Unique & Rare Photo Album of Oberleutnant Karl Abt, with von Richthofen

Item: M0343-1

Germany, Imperial. A Unique & Rare Photo Album of Oberleutnant Karl Abt, with von Richthofen

Price:

$540

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Germany, Imperial. A Unique & Rare Photo Album of Oberleutnant Karl Abt, with von Richthofen

(Deutsches Heer Fotoalbum mit Fotos von Manfred von Richthofen). An extremely rare and unique photo album belong to Oberleutnant Karl Abt, 2nd Alsatian Infantry Regiment No. 171. The album is constructed of a heavy card stock binding with a faux textured brown leather exterior liner. It features 50 paper stock pages bearing 152 black-and-white photos taken between 9 January and 20 September 1912, while the owner attended a military academy in Danzig (present day Gdańsk, Poland). The album notably features four prewar photos of Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron), with two photos of him with other Army personnel at the seaside in Zoppot (present day Sopot, Poland), one of him seated at a table with Army personnel, and another in the field in uniform. The remaining photos depict studio portraits of the owner, as well as training and military scenes throughout Pomerania, all with handwritten captions. A handwritten inscription on the interior of the cover, dated 8 June 1927, indicates that Abt was held as an internee in Switzerland after being taken prisoner during the First World War. While in captivity, he was promoted from Leutnant to Oberleutnant and died of the flu in Luzern (Lucerne) on 4 December 1918, during the Spanish Flu epidemic. The album measures 195 mm (w) x 145 mm (h). Minor material fatigue is evident, along with the loosening of some pages and adhesive-related damage to some of the photos. It is in an overall near extremely fine condition.

 

Footnote: Although his later fame came about as a fighter pilot in the Imperial German Air Force (Luftstreitkräfte), Manfred von Richthofen initially entered military service as an Imperial German Army cadet in Schweidnitz (present day Świdnica, Poland) in 1911 and was first commissioned as an officer in the 1st Uhlan Regiment. With the obsolescence of cavalry evident at the outbreak of the war, von Richthofen’s regiment was dismounted and served as dispatchers and telephone operators. Disillusioned with what he perceived as these menial tasks, he requested a transfer to the Air Force, which was granted in May 1915. Despite initially struggling as a pilot, von Richthofen gradually mastered the handling his aircraft and became the ace-of-aces of the war, with 80 confirmed kills, earning the infamous moniker of the “Red Baron” due to his colourful aircraft. He was finally killed on 21 April 1918 after being struck by ground fire while in the midst of a dogfight. The photos offered in this album depict von Richthofen while still an officer in the 1st Uhlans, with no hint of his future infamy. While some have previously been publicized, the album presents them in their totality.

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