In our house we watch a lot of documentaries and docudramas about WWII in Europe…or perhaps I should say that these shows are on because someone else is watching them and I am not paying much attention to them because I am cooking, knitting, or doing something more interesting.
These shows often feature the requisite scene of Nazi officers in the occupied chateau or manor, sitting around the dinner table drinking the owner’s grand crus and smoking his cigars. Less often they show noncommissioned officer and barrack scenes, but in quest of authenticity, these scenes do sometimes appear; after all, the Wehrmacht was not solely composed of high-ranking officers wearing Hugo Boss.
Recently, while watching these barrack scenes; I began to have doubts about my beloved armoire. Fleeting glimpses of furniture in the background looked suspiciously like the corner of my bedroom.
Not having a French version of the Antiques Roadshow to which I could drag my armoire I did the next best thing: I went online and began searching…and searching…and searching.
I typed any number of combinations of “ww2 armoiremilitaire allemand” and found pictures, lots of pictures. My formerly so-cute-full-of-history armoire had become a Wehrmachts Spind…yikes!
This armoire for sale has been fitted out with carved butterfly panels, much like the carved ships on my armoire, to hide the vents on the doors.
Back of the armoire with the butterfly panels. Note the military mark just below the vents
Back of my armoire...no military mark but same vents...
Interior of the armoire for sale, note the piano hinge on the door.
Interior of my armoire, same piano hinge on the door.
Latch detail on the armoire for sale.
Detail of my armoire where the original latch has been replaced with a decorative key lock. (which, according to the placement of the holes left behind, looks to have been similar to the latch on the armoire for sale)
After the German defeat, the French appropriated the things left behind by the Wehrmacht. I've seen blockhouses of the Atlantic Wall turned into museums, garages, living spaces. Why not?
Now I know that my armoire has a history, it is just isn't the history I originally imagined.