Places of Interest: Allied-Occupied Germany

Allied occupied Germany, c 1947. The black square outlines the portion shown in the map below.

(click to enlarge) Places of interest within Allied-Occupied Germany. From the North, going southward: Marburg, Fulda, Giessen, Butzbach, Echzell, Friedberg, Budingen, Hanau, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Bensheim-Auerbach, Mannheim, Ettlingen. Gaggenau-Bad Rotenfels, Augsburg.

In the period immediately following Germany’s surrender in WWII, German territory was split into zones occupied by different Allied powers for administrative purposes. British, French, Soviet and American zones were established. All of my Latvian ancestors fell into the American zone, located in the German states of Hessen, Bavaria, the northern part of Baden-Württemberg, and the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven.

Germany remained occupied like this from 1945-1949, but Allied powers kept military bases in many German cities for many years, during the Cold War period especially. The American Army still has forces stationed in Germany today (as they do around Europe). The US army’s headquarters in Germany were located in Frankfurt am Main, a city which was the site of a large airport (the one that Arvids Akerfelds flew out of in 1957).

Two such American military bases that are of interest to my Latvian ancestors were located in Mannheim-Käfertal and Ettlingen. Karlis Vinakmens, in the 7566 LSCo, and Arvids Akerfelds, in the 7132 LSCo, were stationed at both. The bases were called “Kasernen”. “Kaserne” is the German word for “barracks” (a “barracks” refers to a permanent housing for military troops, being either a complex of housing units, or one large building).

The military accommodations in Mannheim were large, and known as “The Benjamin Franklin Village” and consisted of several different barracks: Taylor Barracks, Sullivan Barracks, Funari Barracks, Spinelli Barracks, Coleman Barracks, and Turley Barracks. These buildings, along with an American high school and middle school located in Mannheim have been in use since 1947 and are still in use today, scheduled to be vacated by 2014.

In Ettlingen, the Rheinland Kaserne was home to American troops and support from 1950-1995, and prior to this was home of many displaced persons from the end of the war up until its use as a military facility. It is a large grouping of buildings. The facility is still standing today, it’s historical buildings have been turned into housing units, a high school, private offices, a research laboratory, a movie theatre and sports centre, pubs, and a park and children’s playground.

Much information is easily found on these kasernes with a quick Google search, but very little of the information pertains to the Latvian Labor Service. I am still very underwhelmed at the amount of information available about what the Labor Service men were all about.

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5 thoughts on “Places of Interest: Allied-Occupied Germany

  1. Pingback: US Army Labor Service | A Latvian Canadian Story

  2. I looked over all your research in amazement! What a huge volume of work you have accomplished. Congratulations.

    Your website came up as I am trying to locate the manifest of the USAT Gen. C. H. Muir’s August 1949 crossing for a friend. The same crossing your ancestors made. Could you please direct me as to where to get that passenger list? It would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks, and continued success with your work—you are a real inspiration!

    • Thanks Nancy!!!
      I’m glad you like it!
      I obtained a copy of the passenger list of the General Muir from the International Tracing Service (See my post by the same name!)
      I can check my copy for your friend’s surname if you wish? I’m not sure if it’s the full ship’s list, as it’s only 3 pages. But it’s a start, and if you wait for the ITS to respond you could be waiting for months!
      Also, many passenger lists can be found on Ancestry.com, but you probably already knew that! :)

  3. Thanks for the info. I haven’t been able to locate the manifest any place. I have given the info on ITS to my friend, but the names he is trying to locate are LIPINER & MANDELBAUM. husband and wife for both names and each family with two teenage children. It would be terrific if you happen to have them. astonishing really!

    all your work continues to fascinate (and exhaust) me. it has to be a act of love.

    • Hi Nancy,
      Sorry, I did not see those names on the Passenger List I have… there are a lot of Lipiners and Mandelbaums on Passenger Lists on Ancestry.com. Do you know first names? I can take a quick look for you if you like…

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