Paul Pomerantz in the Alps, Sometime in the Mid-1940s

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My grandfather, Paul Pomerantz, would have been 100 years old today. He passed away in early 2010, just shy of his 92nd birthday. My grandmother found this picture a few years ago. It stars him in his Army uniform and trench coat, some middle-aged Alpine man in what appears to be lederhosen, and the Alps rising in the background. I’m assuming this was sometime in 1943 or 1944, which would put Paul in his mid-twenties. To the best of my knowledge, he served at the rank of Lieutenant.

I wish I’d had the opportunity to ask him about this picture when he was still around. Does he remember the name of his friend in the lederhosen? Did he have a dog tethered to him, sitting outside the frame? Where exactly was this – Austria? Northern Italy? Southeastern France? Switzerland? At what point in the war was he even in the Alps? I don’t recall hearing a vignette like this mixed in with his war stories. I need to re-listen to what I did record a few years before he passed away. For now, though, take this as a tribute to a hell of a guy on the centennial of his birth.

On the outside chance that this post does somehow find the eyes of anyone who knows something that I don’t about that picture, please get in touch with me. Falls man kennen mehr Informationen über das Bild (besonders mit dem Mann, der steht Rechts im Bild, oder der Standort des Bildes), bitte rufen Sie mich an, oder schicken Sie ein Nachricht bei Email/Sozialen Medien. [Thanks to Mimi Thomas for the translation.]

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Interesting Thought on Objects in Place and Time

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Because the victors write history and their narratives are saturated with prejudices, historians are going to emphasize things to prove their point of view. I’m concerned with the truth in all its complexity. No written account… has ever satisfactorily explained how Hitler would come to power and dominate… a country that had the first social security system in the world and the most educated, civilized people on earth. It remains and will forever remain a mystery. I figured that if you went back and studied the artifacts of the time you might understand how this preposterous thing occurred. You know, glasses, chairs, tables, rugs, and telephones don’t lie. In contrast to historical narratives, you can’t make them lie, because their purpose, their function, and their design are clear.

– Mitchell Wolfson Jr, major Floridian philanthropist, and the world’s top collector of Nazi and fascist artifacts (and Jewish, as inversely unsurprising as that is), in conversation with Gregory Maertz, 1998. Quoted from the collection Acts of Possession: Collecting in America (2003, Rutger University Press), edited by Leah Dilworth.