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theplummeter

Weird WWII memorabilia question

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I'm really not sure who to ask about this stuff, so I'll throw it at a group of random skydivers and see what y'all think.

Last year my grandmother passed away, two years after my grandfather did. They left several residences including a gigantic chunk of land in the middle of nowhere where they lived after WWII.

After they died, my parents and my aunt auctioned off a ton of ranch supplies and later decided to sell the entire property. My family went and packed up personal items including a few boxes that no one had opened until a few nights ago. My family had gathered for the holidays and we pulled them out of storage to go through them and divide the items between relatives.

My grandfather spent five years in Europe during WWII serving in the 7th Cavalry and later in the infantry (I think 9th Division, not sure). He never spoke about the war to anyone after returning, including my father and brothers.

When we opened the boxes two nights ago we found a ton of leftover war stuff, including arm bands, medals, belt buckles and other items covered in Swastikas and issued by German armed forces. I'm assuming they were kept as trophies, but can't confirm anything, and don't know why they would be saved. Obviously I can't ask the source, and don't know anyone with whom to discuss it.

The bottom line is that I don't want to hold onto any of the stuff, but am not sure what to do with any of it. Friends have commented that there is a huge market for it, but the thought of selling it to some neonazi to be worn as a badge of honor is disgusting. A few of the items have names, but I'm not sure how to go about contacting anyone, or that they would want to be contacted. Would it have any value in a museum, and if so does anyone have any idea what museum and how to contact them? Should I just dispose of it as I really don't want it in my house?

I'm open to any input. Maybe I could just sell the medals for their weight value and burn the rest.

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there are few WWII vets left, they all have stories stored away in the attic in boxes, the fact that no one has asked them about their life is sad, these are proud Americans that just did their duty, they are humble beyond belief

if you know a vet, sit with them, ask them about the war, encourage them to open up those boxes and share their experiences, have a digital recorder, the story will be incredible

there are plenty of history museums that can tell you about the contents and how to properly dispose of it
Give one city to the thugs so they can all live together. I vote for Chicago where they have strict gun laws.

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What Bill said!

The artifacts are part of you grandfather's story in the war. Personally, I would keep the items together with his other memorabilia for the time being until a little more can be found out about them and how they might fit into his story. May be nothing special since many WW2 servicemen acquired a lot of this stuff as souvenirs, etc., but maybe there is an interesting story behind them. Although your grandfather didn't say much about the war, with a little research there may still be a story to be put together. Another option would be to donate or sell to a reputable war museum. Even some holocaust-related museums may be interested. There also are serious private collectors who have historical interests in these items other than using them for "neo-nazi" purposes (which would be the least of my worries with this stuff if you do a little research.) I agree that there would really be nothing special about any particular items without some personal context and they may as well be sent to a collector or museum.

My father brought back a small collection of Nazi military regalia which he acquired during the war. He gave most of the items to me when I was a kid in the 1950s and I actually sometimes used the little pennant-type flag while playing "war". Only when I was a little older did I question how an aircrew member (who had never set foot on the continent) had acquired this stuff. Turns out a crew member on their aircrew had a brother in the infantry who shipped a trunk full of this stuff to him. He was a bit jealous of the guy on the base who painted much of the nose art on the planes. That guy was the type of guy who was always finding a way to make money by wheeling and dealing, etc. (Every base had one of these guys and my dad's uncle was one of them at a fighter base during the war.) When the box of artifacts arrived, Dad's crewmate thought he had a money-making deal and he then sold most of the stuff to guys around the base, or as in my father's case, lost some of it in poker games, etc. After most of the items were gone, a letter followed instructing the brother to ship the stuff back home to the States. Too late! Now, my items are kept with Dad's other artifacts from his service along with the story. Not all that interesting to anyone else, I suppose, but it does offer a another personal glimpse of life during his time there.

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Whatever you do with it don' t throw it away. I collect currency and coins as a hobby and the stories of real history being disposed of drives collectors crazy. I'm headed off to work right now but I'll do some checking when I get home for some names that will be able to give you some recommendations. One of the best stories of almost losing history was a museum disposing of hundreds of cancelled Western and Atlantic Railroad currency notes. The janitor confirmed the museum was throwing them out and pulled them from the trash. They sell for $20-25 ea. now and are historicaly related to "The Great Train Chase" and the first recipients of the Medal of Honor.

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I'd suggest donating it to a museum. There are quite a few of them around.
You could start with your local American Legion or VFW. They would be able to point you in the right direction.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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The box I opened was filled with newspaper clippings my grandmother saved and a box of dated handwritten letters that went back and forth between my grandparents. They wrote each other almost every day from the day he left to train at Fort Riley, Kansas until his return and detail both what was going on in the war effort and what my grandmother was dealing with managing a ranch in Nebraska. I will carefully read those and keep them until it's time to pass them on to my kids.

I just don't want to hold onto the Nazi stuff.

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I would suggest you contact his old unit if they still exist (7th Cav does). If they have a museum, donate what you don't wish to keep. Keep what you think you should. The next generation of your family should see some of this stuff, particularly if you can add a bit of story to it.
DOOG
Muff 846
All you people are here to make sure I have a good time.

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doog

I would suggest you contact his old unit if they still exist (7th Cav does). If they have a museum, donate what you don't wish to keep. Keep what you think you should. The next generation of your family should see some of this stuff, particularly if you can add a bit of story to it.




This is a good option. The unit would benefit from the historical artifacts and it would help preserve your loved ones legacy. War trophies are apart of war and should be displayed so folks don't forget.
Propblast

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