My favorite war photo—then and now

Posted: May 9, 2019 in 1945, Germany

Well, this one was a bit of a challenge. My father wrote on the back of this photo, “Luchow, Germany.” That’s John Andrews on the left and Dad on the right. As John’s son David once said about this photo, “It looks like the two of them won the war single-handedly.”

So we thought it would be fairly easy just to go to Luchow, a few miles north of Salzwedel, where we are staying, and locate the town square, where we would find the building in the background. We figured the remains of the statue would be gone. This is where the men spent the week before the end of the war. They were assisting the 29th Division with the processing of German POWs.

We drove to Luchow this afternoon, found the town square—but the big building didn’t match up at all. Hmmm. Luchow is a lovely ancient town, quite large, but we couldn’t find an information office or a museum. We had parked the car in front of some shops, and something told me to try an optometrist’s shop.

With photo in hand we went in, and Ed showed it to the man at the desk. He took a quick look and said, in perfect English, “No, that’s not here. That is in Dannenberg, up the road.” Now, what are the odds of finding someone who knew that? All these lucky encounters are getting a little weird.

So of course we got back in the car and drove to Dannenberg. It was a pretty drive of about 10 miles on country roads.

The town was bigger than we expected, so we drove around for a while looking for the main square. We spotted the information office, so I went in, photo in hand. The young woman at the desk took one look at the photo and said, “Follow me, I’ll show you.” We stepped outside and she pointed to the building at the end of the short street. She laughed when I told her the story behind the photo.

Note that the building has gone through some renovations over the past 74 years. Note also that I had a slightly different photo.

The town square, Dannenberg, Germany

  1. Pat Raymer Macchiarolo says:

    What an adventure you’ve had – so exciting!

  2. LOUISE BROOKS says:

    Great story and just amazing that you found the building!

  3. Ed sutcliffe says:

    What a great experience this has been

  4. That’s great! Who was the man in charge of taking all of these original photos? Was it something he was told to do or did he do them on his own?

    • Andrea says:

      We think a lot of the men had cameras, including Dad and John’s buddy from San Antonio, Harold Goerges. We can’t figure out how they got the film developed. We were sent many pics from the families of the men, and there are quite a few duplicates. Seems when they got them developed, they had copies made and shared them.

  5. Vickie Unangst Gratton says:

    What a wonderful adventure you are having Ed and Andrea. I am enjoying these finds with you. Was very moved by Papa Baggen’s butcher shop.

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