I bet he thought he looked older in his suit, the boater hat and the walking stick. I bet he couldn’t wait to grow up, look like his buddies, earn his own living, look tough.
I came across two photos of Wolfgang Kraft from Bayreuth, Germany, in another “blind” photo lot I purchased on ebay. Both of the real photo postcards (RPPC) were addressed to his cousin Paul Kutschenreuter.
The first photo shows Wolfgang with his two friends. He sent his best regards to his cousin’s family, complained about having too little time to write and asked his cousin to send him a photograph as well. He marked himself with an “X” in the photograph.
The second RPPC was written on November 28th, 1915, in the midst of WWI. Wolfgang was 16 years old at the time. He wrote to his cousin about Wally’s husband who had been stationed in Serbia, and since October 11th they had had no news of him. I don’t know who Wally (probably short for Walburga) was to Wolfgang, he refers to her as “our Wally”. Perhaps his sister?
Wolfgang himself joined the troops in May 1917. From his military records I could gather that he was born on February 13th, 1899, in Bayreuth, to parents Georg Kraft and Ida née Kutschenreuter (here you see the connection to his cousin Paul of the same surname). Like his father, Wolfgang was a factory worker and lived with his parents in Burg 13, in Bayreuth, at the time of his draft.
Wolfgang saw his share of terror for sure. He participated in the battles of Flanders in August 1918, the war front that finally broke Germany. I am not a military expert, which is why I cannot tell you more about his rank or his functions in the army. But according to the military records available on Ancestry, Wolfgang fell into captivity of the Brits as a prisoner of war.
Source: Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv on Ancestry
I cannot know for sure if and when Wolfgang was released from captivity. But I’d like to believe that the Wolfgang Kraft living in Bayreuth in 1930 and 1950 is our Wolfgang. He is listed in the Bayreuth city address books as a weaver.
I hope life turned out good for Wolfgang, despite his stolen youth. If you know Wolfgang or his descendents, please let me know!