This postcard was issued, as it is written on the back, to promote the release of a book titled “Zwei Schweizer dem Tode entronnen”, two Swiss escape dead. The subtitle was “Bei den Alliierten”, with the allies.
The publisher was “Graphische Kunstanstalten F. Bruckmann AG München”.
Abbildung aus dem demnächst erscheinenden sensationellen Buch:
” Zwei Schweizer dem Tode entronnen”. – Bei den Alliierten
The image on the front shows a group of men in civilian clothes as well as men in French uniforms.
The caption says these are new recruits of the French Foreign Legion at a fortress in Oran North Afrika.
Two soldiers are even identified marking them with small crosses as x Sergent, Martin and xx Adjudant, Henry.
Very faint underneath the name of Sergent, Martin is written “25 Jahre Legionnaire”
Festung Oran Nord Afrika
(Der wahn ist kurz, die Reue ist lang.)
Jahresgehalt frs 18,25
Kost u. logis frei
Copyrights to the picture are claimed in German language bij C. von dem Busche Zürich 1913.
Rep. verb C. von dem Busche Zürich 1913
Very likely this postcard was published during the First World War.
Images of recruits, the location
Images of recruits of the French Foreign Legioen are always somewhat rare irrespective of the period and that already makes this postcard rather interesting.
The original photograph looks somewhat retouched but this might also be an effect of the printing techniques available at the time. Especially the light gray background almost looks as if it had been drawn with a pencil.
The indicated location appears to be correct. The background of the image matches perfectly with this detail of a postcard showing the “Caserne des Isolés”, also knowns as “petit fort Ste Therese”.
Distinctive features like the stairs, the half-round window of the smaller building on the left led to a positive identification.
The advertised book
So far no book with the indicated title or similar title could be found.
Suggestions are welcome.
The newspaper article
What could be fairly easy traced back to its origines, thanks to Gallica, is the newspaper article that was also quoted on the back:
As indicated it came from a newspaper called “La Bataille Syndicaliste” Paris 26nd of march 1914.
The original is in the French language. It was the newspaper of what might be best translated in English as the French branch of Revolutionary Industrial Unionism.
Revolutionary industrial unionism, or syndicalism, was a broad international movement dedicated to organizing all workers into single, unified labour organizations designed to overthrow the capitalist system by means of industrial actions, including the general strike.
I assume they would also have a fairly anti-militaristic attitude, hence the publication of abuses in the army.
All Colonial troops are Foreign Legion
Noticeable about the quoted article is that it is actually not about the French Foreign Legion but about an event that happened with the 2e compagnie de march du Sénégal during a campagne in “Afrique occidentale”.
The men who wrote in the letter about the event quoted in the article was Clairon J.L. MAECK, his address in mentioned
He wrote that he served 5 years with the 2e and 1re Zouaves and after that another 6 years with the 2e étranger.
For the average layman, not familiair with the distinct differences between the various colonial units, all became easily mixed up, leading the collation of these abuses all being addressed to best known unit in the colonial French Army the French Foreign Legion.
For the German Propaganda this did not matter at all, they were more than willing to put it out of context on a postcard and made Clairon J.L. MAECK a legionnaire with 15 years of service.