These are brothers Rudolf and Hermann Benub, according to someone’s handwriting on the real photo postcard (RPPC) sent as field post in 1914. How old do you think they are in this photograph? I often find that young men dressed in a good suit back in the day could look older than they actually were.
The RPPC is addressed to soldier (Wehrmann) Benub, I assume Rudolf, who at the time was stationed in Minden. The text on the reverse says:
Brackel, October 17th, 1914
I’ve already written two times and received no reply. You also didn’t react to my photograph. Now I want to send you another one, hopefully you will receive this. Here everything is well. Hopefully you are too.
Regards from Hermann and wife”
I found a Rudolf Benub in the lists of German soldiers of WWI three times – in 1916, 1917 and 1918. In 1918 he is listed as “badly injured”. Did he come back from the war alive?
In the database of the German Soldiers’ War Graves (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V.) I found a Rudolf Benub, born in 1895 in Dortmund, marked as “fallen” in WWII. Could this be the same Rudolf that also fought in WWI? It is not too unrealistic, taking into account that this Rudolf would have been 19 years of age when WWI broke out.
It looks like the Benub brothers had a close connection to Dortmund. Brackel nowadays is part of Dortmund, as is Dorstfeld where Rudolf Benub was born. So I looked at the Dortsfeld birth records a little closer and found the Rudolf Benub above, born on April 30th, 1895, to parents Heinrich Benub and Luise née Stute. His father is listed as a miner.
Then I got curious – would I also find a Hermann Benub born to the same parents?
I did find a Albert Hermann Benub, born to the same parents on April 5th, 1891. Is this the older brother who writes the field post to Rudolf in 1914?
What made my research more complicated is that there seemed to have lived two different Heinrich Benubs in the same congregation, both listed miners and married to wives called Luise. But the maiden names of the wives were different. So for instance, I found a Hermann Benub who was born on November 11th, 1888, to parents Heinrich Benub and Luise née Gehrke. At first I thought perhaps Hermann’s mother had passed away and the father had remarried? So I looked further. I then found an older sister Caroline to Rudolf and Albert Hermann, born to the same parents in February 1886. So this overruled my initial thought that Rudolf’s father had re-married and confirmed my confusion that there must have been two miners called Heinrich Benub with wives called Luise.
Hermann signs off the field post with “Regards from Hermann and wife”. So in 1914, Hermann was married. I now looked at the marriage records of the congregation of Dorstfeld from around that time, but found no Benubs. Perhaps Hermann had moved to Brackel by the time he got married? So I looked through the Brackel marriage records, but no luck. So unfortunately I couldn’t find out who Hermann had married by the time he wrote to his brother in 1914.
The address books of Dortmund list a few Benubs between 1940 and 1965. One of the Hermann Benubs in the address books was a milk trader, another one owned a transport company. I cannot be sure which Hermann could perhaps be the one we are looking for, as the address books don’t list any other details, like age or family members.
Source: Dortmund address book 1940 (available on Ancestry)
Source: Dortmund address book 1950 (available on Ancestry)
Source: Dortmund address book 1960 (available on Ancestry)
Source: Dortmund address book 1965 (available on Ancestry)
I can’t say with 100% certainty that these are the Benubs from the above photograph. But it’s worth a shot. I wonder what their lives turned out as. If you recognise the brothers, please let me know!