WWI German Facial Dueling Scars – Mensur Scars and WWI Portraits


Apologies for not posting any interesting original material in the past few weeks, I’ve been busy dealing with the holidays and the celebrations that inevitably pop up at this time of year. Today’s blog post will be about a topic I’ve become fascinated with over the course of the past two years. Have you ever wondered why stereotypical WWI German media characters from WWI always seem to have a large scar on their face? Ever wonder why they always seem to be on the cheek and always are attributed with men of high status such as generals and higher ranking officers?

Well, recently I was able to purchase on eBay  an inexpensive photo ($4.99) on eBay that perfectly personifies the image of a young WWI German soldier with a prominent facial scar.

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Mensur Scar (New photo to collection)

Was this scar the result of a bad shaving accident? In fact, the answer is exactly the opposite; this left cheek scar is the result of a deliberate action.

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Ouch!

After a solid night of internet research, I was able to cobble together an answer regarding the odd number of facial scars associated with late 19th and early 20th century German and Austrian soldiers. The Dueling Scar!

Male (upper class) students who were members of fraternities of major German and Austrian universities during this time were often engaged in academic fencing which at times would, at times, become a duel between competing fraternities. These individualized duels between students eventually became a badge of honor among fraternity members – taking a blow to the face showed courage and was a lasting reminder of the fraternal bond. Since these boys were often from a higher class, it was no surprise that many eventually became officers during WWI. This act was well know during the time and eventually became banned around the time of the outbreak of the war. The ban was lifted when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Many of the German officers of WWII had these scars given the fact that they were in university prior to WWI.

Skip ahead to 2:50 to see the duel in action!

 

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Otto Skorzeny with Mensur Scar

 

 

 

Incredible WWI Photo Grouping – 90th Division in Verdun, France – Field Graves, Trenches and Destruction


Bantheville Center of Town

Nantillois Cemetery 32nd Division

Grave of 27 Officers and Men of Co. A – Captain Debario, 1st Lt. Cole, 1st Sgt. Lindsey

Dugout Near Anceville

Baby Carriage Found in German Front Line Trenches

German Front Line Trenches Occupied as 2nd Btn. P.C.

Trench Near 2nd Battalion P.C.

Villers-Devant YMCA

Villers-Devant Division German Munitions

WWI Photo – New Jersey Hero Receives Croix de Guerre – Crashes Plane in the Marne River


 

I purchased a large WWI photo album last month that was compiled by a young girl following her brother’s exploits in France.  Apparently Franklin M. Martin (Jack) of East Orange, NJ was fluent in French and was assigned as an interpreter on Pershing’s staff.  He became interested in flying and joined the 803rd Aero Squadron where he was in charge of map making from the air.  He was awarded the Croix de Guerre after he was shot down and landed in the Marne River.  After swimming across he was able to deliver his maps!  A great series of interior studio shots capture Franklin wearing his newly awarded CDG.  His friend is wearing a Distinguished Service Cross and is sporting a wound chevron.  Note the leather arm brace and private purchase lace up boots.