August Sander, part five
August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”.
August Sander became renowned for this work ‘People of the 20th Century’, in which he put together hundreds of portraits of people from different levels of society and occupational groups in a series of portfolios developed in a project spanning decades. The series is divided into seven sections reflecting the social structures and developments of his time: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). In 1945, Sander’s archive included over 40,000 images, but an accidental fire a year later destroyed most of them. Sander practically ceased to work as a photographer after World War II. He died in Cologne in 1964.
The world’s largest collection of work by August Sander, is located at Die Photographische Sammlung der Kulturstiftung der Sparkasse KölnBonn.
This portrait of an officer cadet is from the portfolio entitled ‘The Soldier’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ from series People of the 20th Century. The young man is awarded with a wound badge.
The Wound Badge (German: Verwundetenabzeichen) was a military decoration first promulgated by Wilhelm II, German Emperor on 3 March 1918, which was awarded to wounded or frostbitten soldiers of the Imperial German Army, during World War I. Between the world wars, it was awarded to members of the German armed forces who fought on the Nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War, 1938–39, and received combat related wounds. It was awarded to members in the Reichswehr, the Wehrmacht, SS and the auxiliary service organizations during the Second World War. After March 1943, due to the increasing number of Allied bombings, it was also awarded to wounded civilians in air raids. It was awarded when the wound was the result of enemy hostile action, with an exception being for frostbite.
The badge had three classes:
Black (3rd class, representing Iron), for those wounded once or twice by hostile action (including air raids).
Silver (2nd class) for being wounded three or four times.
Gold (1st class, which could be awarded posthumously) for five or more times wounded.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Wikipedia: Ranks and insignia of the German Army (1935-1945)
Wikipedia: Wound Badge