Tag of WWI soldier returned 100 years on

The fate of a German soldier killed in World War I has been uncovered almost 100 years after his death.

Tag of WWI soldier returned 100 years on
Italian battlefield researcher Joris Dell'Asin hands over World War I identification tag in the soldier's home town. Photo: DPA

Johannes Templiner’s identity tag was discovered at the remains of a burial cross by a battlefield researcher in the Italian Dolomites in 2006. And researcher Joris Dell’Asin has now tracked down the soldier’s German descendants to tell them about his find.

Dell’Asin travelled to Nassenheide in Brandenburg two weeks ago to hand over the identity tag.

Templiner was a young carpenter before he enlisted, his 77-year-old great-niece told reporters on being handed his tag.

“It was a very emotional moment” said Manfred Telm, the supervisor of the department of planning in Nassenheide.

Spurred on by the discovery, the 57-year old travelled to Clauzetto, the Italian village where the researcher found Templiner’s identification. “He not only found his identification tag, he also found cutlery too”, said Telm. And the discovery has led to further searches in the area.

Since returning from Clauzetto, Telm has set up a project for trainees and schoolchildren in Nassenheide.

They have examined parish registers and death certificates, and searched for commemorative stones for victims of World War I at an old war memorial site.

“We found between 42 and 46 commemorative stones”, Telm said. “The project has given history a face.” The results of their research will be documented in photos, wall charts, a chronicle and a survey map.

The project has also garnered attention from further afield. Impressed with their findings, the German Federal Agency for Political Education has offered to sponsor the project, and the Braunschweig state museum wants to take over the project.

“It fits in well with our concept of how memorials can be created educationally,” explained a spokeswoman.

SEE ALSO: World War I in colour photos 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.