My Opa Karl was an officer in the German Army in World War I. He earned the Iron Cross and the Honor Cross, as my mother said, "the latter one saved his life". When he was taken to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, he carried with him in his coat pocket a copy of a document from former President Hindenburg. This showed that my Opa had served his country and earned the Honor Cross. He was released from Buchenwald after 3 weeks. Opa's brother, Julius died in Buchenwald. In all, 30 of Opa Karl's relatives died in the Holocaust.
My father's father served in the German Army in World War I. The following is a letter from my cousin Peter Jacobsohn, that explains the military history of our grandfather:
I have the military pass of Adolf Samenfeld. Much of it is hard to read and interpret but I will give you what I can. The pass was issued in 1902 when he was 18 years old. He was born on 1/25/1884 in Diepholz which at that time was Prussia. It seems that at age 18 he joined a reserve or local military unit. He was in fact a member of "Konigliches Kommando des Oldenburg Infanterie Regiments Nr. 91". He was cited for expertise in weaponry. In 1907 it appears that he was drafted into "Infanterie Regiment Herzog Friedrich Wilhelm von Braunschweig Nr. 78". Further the military pass indicates that he served with "Infanterie Regiment 74 Kompanie 7" from 1914 to 1918. In other words it seems he served for the duration of the war. A newspaper article that was attached lists battles of the war where they must have been in action. Most are unfamiliar to me but would mean something with a! little research. However, they did serve in some well known venues -- Verdun, Reims, Somme, and Argonne. Someone with a better knowledge of German may be able to extract more detail, but I think this is the gist of it. I hope you find it of interest and can use it to enhance your web site.
More from my cousin Peter:
I am glad it all worked out. I forgot to add that my mother spoke about how ill her father was when he came home from the war and how they spent alot of their time tending to his needs. He was exposed to the nerve gas that was used during the war. Interestingly, my father's father who also served was similarly afflicted. My mother also said that Adolf was a cook. That may have been so but I have to believe that he did more than cook. He was awarded an Iron Cross and to my recollection that was given for battlefield accomplishment. It is quite possible that he did more than cook but never spoke of it. Many combat veterans are reluctant to speak of their experiences to avoid bringing back bad memories. In any event we will never know the full story.