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Soldbuch Portrait Photos updates Posted on Thu, December 08, 2016 11:20PM

Many people have asked me what Soldbuch photos should look like. Before 1943, there were no Soldbuch photos for the Heer, SS or Luftwaffe. Most Soldb├╝cher issued 1939-44 had photos added in 1944. They simply used whatever photos were available. Many soldiers never got photos. I posted a new article with some examples of original Soldbuch photos.

Creating a Roster for a WWII German Reenactment Unit updates Posted on Thu, December 01, 2016 12:46AM

Many people have asked me how to create a correct period type roster for their reenactment group. I have posted this information online in countless groups but until now I have not sat down to put all of the necessary information in one place. I’ve just got a new article up that contains all the details necessary to complete this project: where to get the binder, a printable PDF for period type binder labels, another PDF for the page that had to be filled out for each soldier, plus scans for reference, the translation of the form, and information about how to fill the form out. Every reenactment unit should have a clerk and every reenactment clerk should consider maintaining this type of record, it is a great thing to have.

At the Gap

Living History Posted on Tue, January 26, 2016 01:22PM

I’m leaving today for the event at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA, and won’t be back until Sunday. I can’t ship any orders until next week. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Letter from a customer

Rubber stamp projects Posted on Tue, December 15, 2015 10:11PM

I wanted to share this nice letter from the Zeitgeschichtliches Museum Mannheim thanking me for a set of reproduction stamps I created for an exhibit. I take pride in making reproductions that are truly museum quality.

“Dear Chris,

we received our order of WW2 copy
rubber stamp set today.

Again we are very pleased with your
work as it is excellent.

The stamp will be used in our Museum
exhibit to show what kind of

stamps were used in the Mannheim area
during the time of WW2.

We also appreciate that you
questioned us why and what for we needed

the stamps, so you know what will be
done with them and that you do

not open doors for fakers.

Again, thank you very much for your
great work!”

SS Uniform Maker Stamps

Rubber stamp projects Posted on Mon, December 14, 2015 06:04PM

Here are a couple of rubber ink stamps I made for marking uniform items manufactured in SS facilities. I have designs for many different WWII uniform and equipment stamps, copied from originals. E-mail me at for any custom stamp for marking reproduction items.

The Schreiber Impression in Living History: a guide for beginners

Living History Posted on Sat, August 08, 2015 02:17AM

I’ve been having a busy summer and the new In Trenches web shop is still not ready for its debut. In the meantime, I wanted to post this new article. Every reenactment group needs a clerk to issue identity documents and other paperwork. This article is a guide for people interested in this unique specialty impression, it contains tips for how to get started and ideas for the practical application of this skill in a living history context.

Changes coming soon updates Posted on Sun, April 19, 2015 09:41PM

In Trenches launched in 2009 as a source for reproduction WWII rubber stamps. At that time I never could have imagined the worldwide demand for these products. I am pleased to announce that I will be expanding the In Trenches product line to include reproduction documents, period office supplies and other replica and original personal and equipment items. In the coming weeks I plan to launch a brand new, vastly improved web site! Please check back soon!

Vacation updates Posted on Thu, February 26, 2015 11:39AM

I’m leaving to go on a short trip and will be back on March 10. I will have limited e-mail access while I am gone and I will not be able to design, make or ship any stamps until I am back. I’ve been really busy making stamps lately and I am sure I will be busy when I get back!

Schreibstube, Fort Indiantown Gap PA January 2015

Living History Posted on Wed, February 04, 2015 05:18PM

Some photos from a Schreibstube. This was a collaborative effort between people from different groups. Larger versions of these photos here.

Paperwork for a living history impression

Living History Posted on Tue, January 06, 2015 04:35PM

I am often asked what would constitute an ideal set of paperwork for a first-person persona in reenacting. My answer is always that the best paperwork that a reenactor can carry
is paperwork that he understands and that he can relate to his persona. The
Soldbuch is the crux of personal paperwork and knowing what is written
in there and what everything means is a key step in a first person
impression. The flap in the back of the Soldbuch is a good place to keep
things like period photos, most are small and fit in there easily.
Anything that you can understand and explain and build a story around
will be better to carry than even perfect reproduction paperwork if you
don’t know what it means or how it relates to the character you

the realities of war, there were an endless number of variables regarding
what paperwork was carried. There were regulations, of course, but these
regulations seem to have been more or less widely disregarded, and much
of what was actually carried on a day-to-day basis seems to have
depended heavily on such variables as personal preference, unit or type
of unit, area of operations, etc. It seems like there were few hard and
fast rules as to what was carried and what was not, what was retained
and what was discarded. The Wehrpass was not supposed to have been
carried by the individual soldier but some soldiers went into captivity
carrying these so this must have happened at some times, for some
reasons. I have a Wehrpass of a man from Hamburg who was a prisoner of
the Americans, the book contains a wide variety of smaller IDs and
paperwork including a certificate attesting that the man’s Soldbuch was
destroyed by enemy action, this may be why he held on to the Wehrpass.
Having said all that, here are my personal conclusions based on my
studies of more or less untouched paperwork groupings. Others may have
come to different conclusions.
As stated, this was the basic individual ID and is the cornerstone of
personal paperwork from a reenactment perspective. Some soldiers were
issued Merkblaetter which were small leaflets about topics including gas
warfare and various ailments, these leaflets were supposed to have been
glued into the Soldbuch but the majority of original Soldbuecher,
including many books issued early on and carried throughout the war on
all fronts, do not have these (even when other various documents are
still associated with the Soldbuch) and so their issue was either rather
limited or the mandate to keep these in the Soldbuch was widely

ID DOCUMENTS: Soldiers were issued many different kinds of lesser ID
documents which were issued right down to Kompanie level in some cases.
This category can include things as simple as small signed and stamped
paper scraps attesting that the soldier belonged to a particular unit,
as well as various kinds of photo IDs such as the military
driver’s license or the Dienstausweis, and all kinds of passes and
DOCUMENTS: Soldiers do seem to have retained various kinds of travel
documents such as the Dienstreiseausweis or the Wehrmachtfahrschein even
when the travel was completed, for whatever reason. There were also
documents that permitted soldiers more or less free travel in specific
areas for specific purposes, these also seem to have been retained.
There were also passes to enter certain cities, some of these were valid
only for a specific occasion, others were valid for longer periods.

DOCUMENTS: Some have stated that award documents were to be kept in the
Soldbuch. Based on my studies, I do not believe that award documents
were carried in the Soldbuch most of the time. No doubt they were
carried in the field for a period immediately after issue, but the
official entries in the Soldbuch would seem to make carrying the
associated documents redundant.

FROM HOME: Regulations stipulated that letters from home were not to be
carried in the field to deny the enemy any intelligence contained
therein. In reality, soldiers did keep and carry these, sometimes
accumulating large numbers of them when circumstances permitted. I feel
that these are a must; Feldpost was second only to ammunition in the
supply system, getting mail from home was an important feature of the
life of the Landser.
STUFF: By this, I mean really personal. Many soldiers carried small
booklets in which they would record addresses. Keeping records of mail
sent and received was also common. Some soldiers kept journals in these
small notebooks. They seem to have been very common. Photos of loved
ones were also carried by very many soldiers.

I find lots of stuff in paperwork groupings that were intended to be
discarded but that were kept for whatever reason. A page from a
calendar, a little piece of newspaper, a blank form or a receipt for hay
or for cabbage, perhaps these were used as bookmarks, perhaps they had
some personal significance known only to the soldier, or maybe it was
just pocket trash. Some companies would even send advertisements in
various forms to soldiers at the front and sometimes the recipients
would hold on to these.

STUFF: Many soldiers seemed to have carried documents related to their
civilian lives, even when these documents would seem to have been
useless at the front. Insurance cards, post office box receipts,
paperwork regarding bank accounts, or similar stuff.

paperwork that you can carry is limited only by your imagination. I
have held many untouched paperwork groupings as carried by German
soldiers and have never found one loaded with Reichsmarks and porn as
carried by so many reenactors. It is far more common to find a couple of
plain-looking pictures, a local provisional ID or travel permit,
perhaps a letter from home or a certificate relating to the soldier’s
civilian life, and a scrap of paper with seemingly random notes, their
significance lost to time.

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