German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) Postcard Collection Browser

This tool enables you to search, sort, and browse a collection of 380 postcards written by Ernst Franke, to Charlotte (“Lotte”) Fink, the woman he later married. The cards were written between 1914 and 1917, and feature ships, people, and scenes from Germany’s Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine), around the time of World War I.

This collection browser tool is still being updated to include the full collection. You can follow the progress of the project and subscribe to updates on this blog. The index page (or catalog page) for this postcard collection specifically is here: WWI German Navy Postcard Collection.

If you have any questions or would like to contribute to this project, please contact me through the blog site. Your comments on the blog posts are also welcome (in fact encouraged!) — especially if you can contribute additional information, translations, transcriptions, or corrections.

INSTRUCTIONS: Use the control bar at the top to search for text, choose a language, filter by subject, sort, or change pages. Click on the green title bars to display or hide the detail view of the postcard.

  1. admin’s avatar

    there´s one problem I perceive that´s, really, an import from Germany:

    English does not use the German “Umlaute”, i.e. the “double vowels” like ä, ö, and ü and the “German sharp s” = ß

    To be “correct” with your browser you will have to decide, in my opinion, to write, e.g. “Großer Kurfürst” (correct German spelling) or “Grosser Kurfuerst” (approx. correct pronunciation).

    There´s, by the way, a nice sailor´s story referring to that problem.
    In 1965, Germany ordered three guided missile-armed destroyers from the US which were built by Bath Iron works, Maine.

    The names (in sequence) were to be “Lütjens” (an admiral), “Mölders” (a fighter pilot) and “Rommel” (no explanation necessary).

    The first crew arriving in Maine found their ship named “Lutjens” and had the nameplate corrected.

    The second crew arrived at a ship named “Molders” and had the nameplate corrected.

    The third crew arrived at a ship named “Römmel” …

    Greetings, Urs


  2. admin’s avatar

    looking back on my recent posts, I find that I have to correct myself, at least partially.

    “Großer Kurfürst” or “Karl der Große” is a more recent way to write.

    The ships´nameplates did, as far as I know, not contain the letter “ß”, but showed “GROSSER KURFÜRST” or “KARL DER GROSSE”, i.e. only capital Letters where a “ß” may be mistaken for a “B” and was, therefore, not used.

    I do not know huh – question to the Forum smiley – how the name was used in official writing/documents, where the name was not written in capital letters, but in a normal way. It may even have been changed during the older ships` lifetime, e.g. “Karl der Große”`s between 1900 and 1916

    Gruß, Urs


  3. Tony Gade’s avatar

    Marine Ship Post – DVI postcards – sent from Charlotte Amalie 10.01.1914 to Germany. It is sent postage free to Germany via the German Marine vessel – franked with 5 pf covering local postage. Unfortunately I can not read what ship (no.) The postmark I can read: Kais Deutsche Marine-Schiff Post ….? And finally, can you help where I can find an overview of German Marine ships from the West Indies – no. and name?
    I can sent a scan of the postcard…..



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