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Cold feet? Not with these!


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Desert Rat

Great Images Rich,

And fantastic items for your collection. I saw in many Documentaries the German Army on the Russian Front wearing these.....!

They died in their tens of thousands due to the cold/ and with their feet through frostbite at minus -40 +++ degrees!

These look brand new, but despite that....What a great item to own. I am sure anyone (except you) would be very, very lucky to find a pair of these today...!!!

Thanks very much for showing us on MCN.......Best to you.

Desert Rat/ Ian

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  • 11 months later...

Wow, Rich.
I did not realize that you have a pair of these straw boots until just recently.

German Strohstiefeln are proberbly some of the rarest of the rare of the German Sonderbekleidung today. Very few are known to exist today.

Having said that, I do have a pair of these myself, also found in Germany.
I had to unpack them, and take som pictures after seeing your pair.

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And as with much of the stuff that we collect, there is a really sad story behind the items themselves.
These boots were mainly produced in the Jewish Litzmannstadt (Lodz) ghetto, before the population there was sent to  Auschwitz and Chełmno and murdered in August of 1944.

I found a series of actual color pictures, from the production of Strohstiefeln in the Litzmannstadt ghetto.

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I have tried to enhance the sign at the entrance, and written in the top line written on the sign :

 

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Here, the women are making the straw braids, that the boots are made of:

 

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And from the production of the boots:

 

 

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Storage and transport of Strohstiefeln in Litzmannstadt:

 

 

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Most of the straw boots that are in existence today, are owned and preserved by museums.
These are not really collector-friendly items, and must be stored and kept very carefully, as they are very fragile. (Almost 80 year old straw, tends to become very brittle and does not respond well to handling and being moved around.)

The Imperial war museum in London do have a pair of these in their collection:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30100844

Edited by Björn
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Davejb

Had I know what these were when I was a boy, I would have got my dad to bye some of these, Back in the 60s there was a market called Portebello in London, there was a trader that had about 20-30 of them on his stall and was only saying that they were cold winter boots, they wer,nt even described as being German, but they were the same as you and Richard have shown, and at that time I can now see why they were descibed as such, I dare say that no one new what they were, or who made them,if people had known then , I dont think there would have been many sales for the guy selling them, where he got them from God only knows

 

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Thanks Dave.
Interesting to hear about the straw boots at the Portobello street market.
So then it could also be possible that a pair or two of such straw boots might surface in the UK as well in the future...
Most people does not have the slightest idea about what these kind of boots are (if they saw them without learning about them or have studied period pictures).
The guy in Germany from wich I bought them, had no idea what they were, exept that they are very old straw boots.
In fact I think that most people, collectors and even museums who posess a pair of these, does not know about the tragic and heart-wrenching story behind the people that produced them in the first place.
 

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Davejb

I,m pretty certain that I saw a pair in a small museum in Bastone, a few years back, there were other bits  and bobs in there , like Helmets made into cooking pots and watering cans, even FJ helmets that had holes in them for strainers, that near broke my heart

 

 

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Richard Auld

Bjorn, love the pictures, I have seen a couple of them before somewhere. I like the second to last as it looks like they have teated the soles of the boot, perhaps with Tar or shuch like?

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Davejb

Possible Richard, but I have not seen any in the UK on sites or at fairs and such, for an a very long time, and to be honest those ones I mentioned were the only ones I had seen in the UK, there might be ones in private collections though, and you would need to be damn lucky to find a pair now

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Afrikakorpsrat64
On 25/04/2020 at 03:18, Björn said:

Most of the straw boots that are in existence today, are owned and preserved by museums.
These are not really collector-friendly items, and must be stored and kept very carefully, as they are very fragile. (Almost 80 year old straw, tends to become very brittle and does not respond well to handling and being moved around.)

The Imperial war museum in London do have a pair of these in their collection:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30100844

 

Ive never had a chance to get or feel a pair. are they Heavy? Thanks for sharing the history and photos @Björn!

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  • 4 months later...
Desert Rat

Brilliant Images Bjorn,

Strange they are though, but wearing these I am sure they were very good for halting the frostbite on the Russian Front. Bloody hard slog through the snow with these on.....but i am sure protected the feet pretty well.

Best Wishes to you and your family....Ian/ Desert Rat

 

Edited by Desert Rat
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