German WWI Soldier’s Wallet Returning to Surviving Family

After almost a century, the wallet formerly belonging to German WWI soldier Herman Karl Ernst Musold will be returned to the surviving members of his family. Musold died in battle in or around the year of 1914, and the bullet that took his life penetrated his wallet containing coupons for pay, a German Iron Cross, and a photograph of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Aside from its existence as a WWI relic, the wallet had been in Musold’s family for over 100 years, the Mail Online reports.

A Royal Army driver discovered the German wallet amidst the battlefield sometime after Musold’s death, but the driver and his surviving relatives had difficulty in locating its owner. Using German archives to conduct a thorough search, Dennis Picton found Wolfgang Musold, Herman Musold’s grandson, living in Brandenburg.

The priceless bit of memorabilia resulted in joy from Wolfgang and the rest of his family, who delighted in having a relic from their family’s history serving in WWI, one of the most important wars in the history of the globe. Wolfgang’s location in Brandenburg may place him alongside other fascinating bits of German history, as his town has been alleged as Adolf Hitler’s burial place, as well as Eva Braun’s.

Dennis Picton and his friend, Ivor White, have been in constant communication with Wolfgang Musold to organize the wallet’s return to its rightful owners. Not only will the Musold family be receiving a family artifact of immense personal value, but the contents within hold historical value as well. The payment coupons and the photo of Kaiser Wilhelm II are both precious looks at the WWI zeitgeist, and the Iron Cross is a powerful symbol of Musold’s German military service. Such medals are often considered valuable no matter what nation or era they originate from; Ivor and Picton could have easily sold the Iron Cross for a decent sum if they had chosen to do so. Instead, their decision to do the right thing will have a lasting impact on the surviving Musold family.

Ivor White must have been taught this good will, as he was not the one to make the initial decision to return the German WWI wallet to its rightful owners. The driver who discovered the wallet in the first place—Vic Garside—was in fact Ivor White’s stepfather. While tracking down the family would have been more difficult during the actual war, White and Picton were aided by the existence of the internet, which was the medium of their search. Thanks to them, Wolfgang Musold will now own a piece of history straight from the pocket of the grandfather he never met.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE