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Soldbuch Anatomy Part I
By Eric Tobey

The following was taken from the Die Neue Feldpost newsletter & was done so with permission of the publisher.  We would like to thank him for his generosity as well as thank all those who have contributed to this article.  It is with their efforts, we are able to share this valuable research with the rest of you.
 

Covers & Pages 1 - 2

Soldbuchs are one of the "common elements" among the three main groups of Wehrmacht aficionados: for the collector, they present an almost limitless variety at reasonable prices.  For the researcher of German Army life, they contain large amounts of detailed, dated information, and for the reenactor, they represent an important and highly individualized piece of kit from which an entire first-person impression can be built.

What this series of articles will attempt to do is give the reader a better understanding of how Army Soldbuchs were filled out, and explain the significance of the entries themselves.

The cross-section of books for this study was obtained by examining a total of 255 books or copies of books, not including a number of parts or incomplete books.

Not all army personal would carry an "army" Soldbuch.  As we have pointed out in earlier issues, there were many men who transferred from either the Kriegsmarine or Luftwaffe in the ranks of the late-1944 vintage infantry unit.  These men kept their old Soldbuchs, and there were certain differences from the Army type in both.  This series will cover Army books only; books from the other arms will have to wait for a future series of articles!

Like any other procedure that is left up to a great many individuals, the methods used in filling out Soldbuchs varied greatly, and sometimes even defied regulations.  Some entries were almost never filled out according to regulation and some things put into the books had no regulations pertaining to them at all.  In almost every case, however, a "typical" or "standard" method or entry can be easily identified; the description for the "typical" entry will be set in underlined bold type.  Entries made like these would not have aroused suspicion in your typical "Kettenhund"!  The "Item Numbers" correspond with the item-locating arrows on the illustrations.
 

 Covers

There are two basic covers for Army Soldbuchs: stock and variant re-covers.  Stock covers were made from a dense, greenish cover stock that had a peculiar "wavy" watermark.  The spines were covered with a green cloth spine-reinforcing tape.  Stock covers also had a "pocket" formed in the back cover by folding three flaps inward.  Printed inside on the end-flap of the pocket there were some "rules" for the book, and here is a rough translation:
 

Read through carefully!

     1.  The Soldbuch serves the soldier as a personal identification in wartime and as an authorization to receive pay from his own or outside pay-stations.  In addition, it is an identification for rail travel, detached service, leave, and for receiving mail.
     2.  The Soldbuch will always be carried by the soldier on his person in a tunic pocket.  Leaving the book in one's baggage or in one's quarters is not permitted.  The careful preservation of the book is in the best interest of the owner.
     3.  The Soldbuch must be kept in an orderly fashion.  The owner must see to it, that all changes in pay due to transfer or promotion are immediately entered by his responsible duty station.
     4.  The Soldbuch is an official document.  Entries are only to be made by a Wehrmacht duty station.  Making unauthorized changes is punishable as falsification of official documents.
     5.  The loss of a Soldbuch is to be reported as soon the loss is discovered to the holders unit or duty station, and the issue of a new Soldbuch will be requested.

 

Illustration 1

Front Cover of Army Soldbuch: Note owner's name printed in pen at the top

After being carried in someone's pocket for a few years, the covers on most books turned to mush.  Instead of giving the man a brand-new book, the old cover was simply torn off and a new cover stapled on, thus preserving the original pages and entries.  These re-covered books are easy to spot today, because the staples that hold them together will be on the outside of the spine reinforcing tape.  This is due to the manufacturing process used to make new books and covers: for a new book, the pages and cover were stapled together, then the cloth tape was put over the spine, thereby covering the staples.  A certain number of empty covers were kept in the field-unit company's office supplies to recover worn books, and for these replacement covers, the spine tape was put on the empty cover at the print shop that made the cover.  Therefore, when the new cover was stapled onto the old book at the company office, the staples had to go through the tape.

In the sample group for this study there were also a total of 20 books (about 8%) that were re-covered with a very different sort of cover.  This variant cover, as yet seen only as re-covers, was made of card stock which was more of a brownish-green color and lacked the wavy texture.  There are no fold-in flaps on the rear cover, so there is no "pocket".  The rules normally printed on the flap of the rear cover were now printed either on the inside of the front cover or inside the back cover.

Sometimes books were recovered with whatever was handy at the time.  Two books in this study had plain, cardstock covers.  Many books were protected inside various types of covers and wallets, but since these are technically not actually a part of the book, they are outside the scope of this article.  Maybe a future article!

Although Soldbuchs were not usually found outside the possession of their owners, there were occasions when the books were taken in and filed for security reasons.  Filing was not a problem as long as the number of books was small, like when a small group left its books behind before going out on patrol.  On the other hand, if a whole unit turned in its books*, filing the 180 books of a company could be a problem because all Soldbuch covers look the same.  Hospital clerks had the same problem with the books belonging to the patients in their care.  In these instances, there had to be some method of identifying and filing the book without having to open the cover, and apparently there were two common methods of doing this: marking the cover and filing the books with the covers open.

116 of the books in our study have either the soldier's last name (the most common), the whole name, or the first couple letters of the last name printed somewhere near the top of the front cover.  29 more books have just the last initial in the same place.  This practice of placing the soldier's last initial in the upper right-hand corner may have evolved from the small block printed in the same place on the cover of a Wehrpaß.  The designers of the German documents realized that Wehrpasses would normally be filed so they put a small space on the cover for an initial.  Knowing how thorough the Germans are makes it all the more remarkable that they didn't realize that the Soldbuch would occasionally be filed and provide a similar "box" on the Soldbuch cover.  Nobody's perfect.

Almost half of the books do not have the soldier's ID on the cover at all; this is not really unusual, for all it usually indicates is that the book was never temporarily filed away from the individual.
 

Some covers have a pair of holes punched through just the front cover (36 books in our study, see illus. 2).  This is evidence of filing system attributed mainly to hospitals, in which the Soldbuch was secured and filed in an open state, exposing the first page and allowing the clerk to identify it without having to physically open it.

In 1942 and 1943, it was an occasional practice to glue a detailed training record sheet (Ausbildungsnachweiß) on the inside of the front cover (7 books in our study).  Photographs were often later affixed over these sheets, obscuring entries on the sheet itself.

     
A Note on German Ink Stamps:
There are two important types of stamps: entry stamps and unit seals.  Entry stamps were used to replace repetitious entries (except signatures): unit names, officers' ranks and titles, some dates, and other entries.  Unit seals are the big circular stamps that have the eagle in the middle and an office name or Feldpost number just inside the circle.

A large red cross across the cover usually indicates the death of the owner.

 

 Photographs

Sometime in 1944, photo-graphs were required to be affixed inside the front cover of Army Soldbuchs as an additional security measure. A genuine Afrika Korps Soldbuch will therefore not have a picture in it, unless it was added after the campaign. Books from the Normandy campaign may or may not have photos in them. Of the 45 books in our study group that were actually carried in the Normandy campaign, 8 of them had no photograph at the time of the battles. All of the specimen books carried by front-line soldiers during the Ardennes campaign (a total of 151 books) have or had a photograph at the time of the battle.
 

Normally, the photos were stapled in with two staples, one through the upper right and one through the lower left corners, then stamped with the unit seal over the upper left and lower right corners (see illustration 2).  The soldier then signed his name in ink under the photo. The stamps were meant to prevent substitution of a different photograph.

Of course there are variations to the norm; some photos are just glued, not stapled (48 books), some photos are riveted in like Wehrpaß photos (6 books), and sometimes the positions of the staples and stamps vary: staples upper left and lower right, stamps upper right and lower left, or staples in the middle of the top and bottom or sides, etc.. (29 books). Sometimes the soldier signed his name right across the bottom of the photo itself rather than underneath it (51 books), both on and underneath the photo (15 books), or not signed at all (7 books).

      

Illustration 2

Inside front cover: Typical arrangement of photo, staples, and unit seals.  "Filing holes" are also shown.

There are some variations to the photos themselves, but the typical photo is about 1-3/4" wide by 2-3/8" tall including a small white border, showing the soldier in his wool field tunic, down to about the bottom of the flaps of his tunic breast pockets, and posed with the soldier turned looking slightly to his right. The soldier has removed his hat and glasses, his hair is neatly combed (and often oiled) back, and his collar is closed. Many are smiling slightly, but only one man out of our group is smiling so you can see any teeth! Actually, there is an amazing variety of expressions, probably depending on the subject's situation at the time: some look terrified or confused, some look bored, some glare at the camera as if they were trying to intimidate the photographer. Some look exhausted, and a few look back at you with such haunted expressions that it gives you goose bumps.

There are some neat variants in the size and scope of the photos: the smallest photo examined was only 1 x 1 1/2 inches, and the largest was 2 1/2 x 3 3/4. A half-dozen or so of the photos had black borders and four had no borders at all. The coverage of the photo ranged from a little as down to the points of the collar (21 photos) and as much as down to the belt buckle (6 photos). In 13 examples, the soldier is dressed in his dress uniform, and in 5 photos, they are dressed in the pocketless green HBT work tunic. One man had his photo taken in his Border Customs uniform. One soldier has his mountain cap on, two soldiers have not removed their glasses, 19 have their collars open, and two, surprisingly, are still in civilian cloths! 29 men are posed turned to their 'left', but only 5 are posed faced directly at the camera. Most photos appear to have been taken in a studio, but a few appear to have been taken outside, apparently against the outside of a building, and 3 photos are actually cut out of group pictures! Ah, sweet diversity!
 

 Page 1

Item #1 on this page is the serial number of the book, as recorded by the issuing unit.  In very early-war books, or books from training units that produced very limited numbers of trainees, this number will often match the dogtag serial number (item #5).  In most books, however, these numbers will not matchClick Here for why this happened.

Item #2 is the rank of the soldier when the book was issued.  Unless the book is a replacement for a lost book, the soldier was prior service, or if the man was demoted (they issued new books to soldiers who were reduced in rank), this rank will be some form of "private".  Of course, the actual term for "private" will depend on the arm and period of the war.  From war's start until October of 1942, the official term for infantry private would be Schutze.  From that date onward it would be Grenadier, or less common Füsilier.  If the man was an engineer trainee, it would read Pionier, if he was an artillery man, it was Kanonier, Fahrer if he was a driver, etc.. Normally this rank was written in by hand, but occasionally it was put in with a rubber stamp, especially in later-war books from units which turned over large numbers of recruits.

A Note on German Handwriting:
There were two different styles of German handwriting for the WWII period.  One is a slightly different style of our own "latinized" longhand, but the other is a rather bizarre sawtooth script known as "Sutterlin" or "Deutsche Schrift".  Although this second style is sometimes seen in Soldbuchs, most of the entries were done in the "latin" script.  A few are printed.  Whether the ink has faded after 50 years or whether it was thin to begin with is not known for sure, but the ink often appears a washed-out, grayish color.  Blue ink was used less commonly.
        Item #3 is a table to record the individual's promotions.  Promotions were made retro- or pro-active to the beginning of a month, so the dates will be the first of a month.  In addition, some really important rank changes, like promotion to officer rank, especially out of one of the regular officer schools, were sometimes put in with inkstamp instead of the normal handwriting.

Item #4 is the full name of the soldier, written in its natural order.  Most Germans of the period didn't have middle names, so just a first and last name is the most common.  If the soldier did have more names, the name he was called by was underlined, ie.: Walter Willi Schmidt.

  
Item #5 is the ID tag information for the soldier.  For anything but very early-war books, the unit name here is often the only rubber stamp on this page.  This is especially true if the unit that issued the dogtag is the same one that issues the Soldbuch.  The unit name will be a rubber stamp, with the ID tag number hand-written in nearby.  During the initial mobilization in 1939, rubber stamps had not yet been made for all units, and the ID tag stamps were a lower priority than, lets say, the unit seals or unit name stamps.  Therefore, very early books will often have this ID tag unit name written out.  If the book is a replacement, of course the unit issuing the book would not have the rubber stamp of the unit that originally issued the man his dogtag, so the EK inscription will be hand-written in these cases as well.      
A Note on German Dates:
The Germans indicate their dates in the following order: day, month, year, with periods separating the numbers.  Sometimes a roman numeral will represent the month, ie.. 19.XII.44 for December 19th, 1944, although this form was used more in letter writing and less often seen in Soldbuchs.
 

Illustration 3

Soldbuch Page 1: Here is a fairly typical example of entries on the first page.  This particular Soldbuch was issued by the Reception Company of the 107th Grenadier Replacement Battalion during the summer of 1944.  Erwin Jastrau eventually wound up in Volksgrenadier Division 559.

Note how the Soldbuch number "5593" (Item 1) and the dogtag number "5793" (Item 5) do not match.  The unit that issued this book obviously issued more dogtags than Soldbuchs.

Also note how the promotion dates in Item 3 are all the first day of a month.  The long serial number on the third line in this block is a US Army Prisoner of War number.  This man was captured by the Americans late in 1944 or early 1945.  The man's blood type (Item 6) was put in with red pencil.  Everything else is in dark blue ink, except for the promotion entry to Unteroffizier, which is in black ink.

The Wehrnummer (Item 8) contains the following information: Berlin II was the recruiting office that registered him.  Berlin had a total of 10 such offices, each indicated by a Roman numeral.  The first two numbers indicate Erwin's year of birth, so he was born in 1906.  The second number, 47, corresponds to the military registration police precinct.  The last two numbers, 8 and 8, pertain to the location of Erwin's file on the induction roster sheet.
 

Item #6 is the soldier's blood type.  This is most often put in with red pencil and occasionally with red ink or inkstamp, and sometimes with regular blue or black (gray!) ink.  RH factor was unknown then, so the blood type will simply read A, B, O, or AB, without the "+" or "-" we have today.

Item #7 is the soldier's gas mask size.  This will be a number between 1 (the largest) and 3 (the smallest).  A man with who got a size 3 mask has a really small face -- this size was normally only issued to female auxiliaries.

Item #8 is the soldier's military service registration number.  This number was given to the man when his Wehrpaß was issued to him, and theoretically it followed him until retirement.  There are usually 5 elements to this number:

1.  The first element is the name of the Wehrbezirkskommando (recruiting subdistrict headquarters).  A complete list of these offices will be published in the next part of this article.
2.  The last two digits of the year of birth
3.  Number of military registration police precinct (or in some really large cities, a number corresponding to the first letter of the family name.)
4.  Serial number of the induction roster sheet (Wehrstammrollenblatt).
5.  A number from 1 to 10 indicating the man's place on the above sheet.

Example: Hamburg III 14/38/4/7, for a man born in 1914 and registered in the third recruiting office of Hamburg.
 

A Note on Soldbuch Corrections:
If an entry was changed (like a lost dogtag), or negated (like a unit change or equipment reissue), the old entry was crossed out using a straightedge and pen or colored pencil.  These strike-outs are often done in red ink.
      As we have already mentioned, Soldbuchs were sometimes lost or destroyed.  For these second-issue books, the term Ersatzausfertigung will often be printed or written across the very top of this page, and often stamped with the seal of the unit that issued it.  Rather than the entire word, sometimes just an "E" or Ersatz is printed, and sometimes the term Zweitschrift (copy) is used.
 
 
 Page 2

Item #9 is the owner's birthdate, indicated in the usual German fashion.

Item #10 is the place of the owner's birth.  In the case of small towns or cities with the same name, accurate placement is aided by locating the town in the "vicinity" of a larger city or "region".  The town will occupy the top line, and the additional reference (if necessary) will often be on the second line.  For the small town of Riedendorf listed in Illus. 4, the clerk noted the town's Kreis (region) to pinpoint the location: Mährisch - Schönberg  (Schönberg in Moravia).  Another convention, of course, was to locate like-named cities on a river, i.e., Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt an der Oder.  Larger cities needed no aid to location: Stettin, Berlin, Hannover, etc..

Item #11 is the holder's religion.  The two most common entries are, of course, either "kath." (catholic: 96 books), or "e.v." (Protestant: 116 books).  Protestants predominate, but large numbers of Catholics lived in the south and south-west.  The eastern regions could be either.  There is one "religion" which did not survive the war: most of the officers and career NCOs have "gttgl." or "gottglaubig" listed as their religion.  "Gottglaubig" was the term Nazis used for people who believed in God but rejected the regular organized churches.  It was the "politically correct" religion, especially if one had aspirations.  15% of the books examined listed this religion, and almost without exception they belonged to early-promoted NCOs, officers, military police, or ex-Nazi government employees.  5 books had the term "gttls." or "gottlos" (non-believer, or atheist) as an entry.  Some books specify r.k, r. kath. or röm. kath. for Roman Catholic.  We are told that at least one book is known to have "Lutheran" as am entry, but the book was unavailable for study so we cannot verify this first hand.  Lutheranism is a form of Protestant faith and as such was covered under evangelisch.  In addition, "kath." can be confused with "luth." when Sutterlin script is used.  See the entry listed as item 11 in illustration 4 and you will see what I mean.

Item #12 is the owner's trade.  This will always have something in it, even if the owner was a 17 year-old draftee in late 1944.  "Student" appears in only 5 of the books examined, and all of these belonged to officers or officer candidates.  The vast majority of German youth would have been taught a trade after leaving primary school, and thus would be listed as a tradesman or been apprenticed as a tradesman by the time he reached draft age.  If he was still in school, he was enrolled in some program of college-type higher education and would not have a trade.  The likelihood of a college student remaining an enlisted man was remote.  "Tradeless" men would normally be listed as some sort of laborer.  Everyone worked.  The following are the most common occupations, or most typical form of name for the occupation (ie., Bauer is the same as Landwirt, and such terms as Landwirt Helfer just means "farm laborer"):

Landwirt (farmer) Arbeiter (laborer) Kaufmann (salesman)

There were very few men belonging to the specialized technical trades.  Interestingly, German technical trades often have very specific names, like "Kompressor Führer" for compressor operator, or "Dreher" for lathe operator.  In the subject group, there were no tool makers, mill operators, grinders, electricians, plumbers, draftsmen, or welders.  There were a few Mechaniker (mechanics), but these were in motorized units.  Most of the books examined belonged to men in the combat arms, especially the infantry, which would not have gotten men with skills like these.

Skilled workers were needed for war production, so many skilled tradesmen were not drafted at all; if they were drafted, they would probably have gone to technical units, not the combat arms.  Here is a sampling of the less-frequent occupations listed in our sample, again, all from the combat arms:
 

Dreher (lathe operator) Pol. Beamter (police official) Buchbinder (bookbinder)
Schneider (tailor) Weber (weaver) Schreiner (cabinet maker)
Postsekretär (postal sec.) Metzger (butcher) Bäker (baker)
Bergmann (miner) Mauer (mason) Maler (painter)
Winegärtner (vine dresser) Schumacher (shoemaker) Friseur (barber)
Gürtler (belt maker) Zimmermann (carpenter) Schmied (smith)
Drucker (printer) Kellner (waiter) Dekorateur (decorator)
Schreiber (clerk) Steinmetz (stone mason)

There is an interesting mistake that was fairly common to this entry.  The heading Stand, Beruf, was supposed to mean "profession or job".  Almost 10% of the books examined showed that the men filling them out rendered the German word Stand in another meaning: martial status.  In addition to the man's occupation, these books have led. or ledig (single), or v.h. or verh. (married) somewhere near this heading, usually either above or below the heading itself.
 

Illustration 4

Soldbuch Page 2: The birthdate in Item 9 conforms to the typical German practice: Alfred Langer was born on March 8, 1925.

His birthplace in Item 10 is also typical, with the town Riedendorf on the top line, and the region on the line below (see explanation in text).  Alfred Langer was Catholic and his civilian occupation was a salesman.

Note the German "not applicable" symbol used in Item 15.

Alfred had one distinguishing characteristic which was noted (Item 19).  He had a "scar on his left eye".  As it turns out, the picture in his book does not show the scar on the eye itself, but rather through the eyebrow.

The shoe-size entries are not typical in that both the length and width are filled out.  Many times neither are filled out, or more often the length and not the width.  The clerk used the German sizes here; Langer had a size 7½ foot.  This was a small size, even for someone who was only 5'7" tall!

The notarization portion of this book is very typical (Item 22).  The date of issue is an inkstamp, with the stamp being indexed to the proper date.  Below that, the unit name is stamped.  The large, flourishing signature of the unit CO is illegible, as usual, and put in with blue pencil (everything else on this page is in grayish pen or dark blue stamp-pad ink).  The CO's rank and title (Captain and Company commander) is on the bottom line.  The unit seal stands off to the left in its proper position, and the location of the unit (Augustow) is stamped in the most common position, above the seal.

Item #13 is the owner's height in centimeters.

Item #14 is the shape of the man's face.  The most common entries here are rund (round) and oval.  Voll (full, or fat), schmal (narrow), and länglich (oblong), had five examples apiece.  One description reads "normal", whatever that was supposed to indicate!

Item #15 is a description of the man's beard.  Of course, the vast majority of the books have "keine" (none), or that peculiar symbol the Germans used for "NA" that looks like a percent symbol (•/•).  One book, however, has the entry Schnurbart (mustache), and sure enough, the picture of the man shows him with a little Hitler-type brush mustache!  Another book has the entry here of Ja (yes)!  The photo shows the typical clean-shaven Soldat, so I guess "Ja" meant that he could have grown a beard if he wanted to!

Item #16 indicates the owner's body type.  The most common entry here is schlank, meaning "slim".  Another fairly common entry is kräftig (rugged), or mittel (medium build).  A less common entry is muskulär (muscular), and one book contains the body description voll (full-bodied, or "heavy").  One book for a 5' 11" man had groß-schlank (big-slim) for a description.  There were probably other seldom-used terms as well.

Item #17 is the owner's hair color.  Only one book in our study used schwarz (black) as a hair color.  Either there was a lack of black-haired soldiers, or Dunkel, (dark) or dunkel braun were the preferred terms.  Of course, braun, dunkel blonde, or blonde are the most common entries.

Item #18 is eye color.  Nothing unusual here.

Item #19 are "other distinguishing characteristics".  If the owner wore glasses, then "Brillenträger" was written in.  Other common entries include Narbe (scar), Brandnarbe (burn scar), Blindarmnarbe (appendectomy scar), or Leberfleche (liver spot), followed by a location of the feature (except for the appendectomy scar, of course) ie., Narbe r. Knie (scar on right knee).  A less common but interesting entry is Narbengesicht (scarred face) which would apply to someone whose face is was scarred by acne, chicken pox, etc..

Item #20 is the man's shoe size (length and width).  There were two different systems of shoe sizing in use during the war: one system is loosely identified as the "European" shoe size, the other is "German".  Both are found in the books, with no apparent trend over the course of the war -- you are just as likely to find one as the other, early in the war or late.  The length sizes are equated in the following table:
 

USA "European" "German"
size 7½ 40 27
size 8 41 27.5
size 8½ 42 28
size 9 43 28.5
size 9½ 44 29
size 10 29.5
size 10½ 45 30
size 11 30.5
size 11½ 46 31
size 12 47 31.5

Oftentimes, the shoe length is filled out but the width is left blank.  Later-war books often left both spaces blank.

Item #21 is where the man signed his name, in its natural order.  Some men, obviously conditioned to sign their name in the official manner with last name first/first name last, signed their names in this fashion instead of in the regulation manner.

Item #22 is the area where the new Soldbuch was "notarized" by its issuing unit.  The most common arrangement here is the following: on or around the first dotted line is the date that the book was issued.  This was either written in or put in with a rubber date-stamp.  Beneath this, put in with a rubber stamp, is the name of the unit that issued the book.  Even in cases where the man received his dogtag and Soldbuch from the same unit (in which case the unit-name would be the same one indicated on the dogtag), the stamps for the unit on this line and on the EK line on page 1 are almost never the exact same stamp.  This is a clear indication that most recruits were not issued their dogtags and Soldbuch over the same counter.  The units that did appear to use the same stamp were usually small training units, like Infantry Signals Replacement or Infantry Pionier Training companies.  Of course, if the book is a replacement for a lost or ruined one, the unit on the dogtag will not usually be the same unit that issued the book, and the unit that issued the book would naturally not have a stamp with the name of the unit that originally issued the dogtag on it.  The unit name on page 2 is almost always put in with rubber stamp, even in many very early-war books; apparently some priority was given to making these stamps first.  There are a few books, however, especially 1939-vintage ones, in which everything on page 2 is hand-written, except for the unit seal.

Below the unit stamp is the signature of the issuing unit's commanding officer, usually written á la doctor-signature (i.e., impossible to read), and below that, the officer's rank and position, i.e. Oberleutnant u. Komp. Führer (1st Lt. and Company Commander).  This rank / position entry is usually put in with a rubber stampThis measure prevented forged signatures.  The unit seal is put in to the left of these entries.
 

In addition, 106 of the books, or about 42% of the sample group, have the station or training unit location written or rubber-stamped above the seal.  See illustration 4.

In re-issue books, there is also usually an entry which reads "d. Übertr. a. d. alten Soldbuch", or "sowie der Übertragungen aus dem alten Soldbuch" (transcribed from the old Soldbuch).  This of course insinuates that the old Soldbuch was available to transcribe!  A different entry used for the same purpose states Ersatzausfertigung für in Verlust geratener Soldbuch (replacement for lost Soldbuch), which was used when the old book was not available.  Either of these entries were usually put in the same place, just above the line of text preceding the unit-notarization section at the bottom of the page.

          
De-Nazified Books:
Most collectors are familiar with Soldbuchs that have all of the swastika-wreaths under the eagles filled in with ink or pencil, erased, or scratched out.  ID was required for all Germans by the occupying forces after the war, and the Soldbuch was the only ID many ex-soldiers had.  The books could be used as temporary ID as long as all the swastikas were obliterated.  These "de-nazified" books were therefore also used as post-war ID!

 


Sources:
- The Exploitation of German Documents, Military Intelligence Division, War Department, Washington, DC. 1944.
- Information or books provided by: Barry Smith, Rich Clement, Vince Milano, Marchall Wise, Al Becker, Sal Marmon, and Kenny Watlow.

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