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George R. Allen collection of World War II memorabilia

Ms. Coll. 966

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Allen, George R. (George Rankin), 1919-
Title:
George R. Allen collection of World War II memorabilia
Date [bulk]:
1939-1945
Date [inclusive]:
1935-1950
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 966
Extent:
0.5 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language:
English
Language Note:
This collection contains material in English, German, French, Italian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Slovakian, and Russian. The bulk of the collection is in English and German.
Abstract:
George R. Allen (1919-1998) was a Philadelphian bookseller who served in the military intelligence during World War II and made remarkable discoveries in Hitler's mountain residence at Berchtesgaden. His collection of World War II memorabilia includes newspapers, leaflets, photographs, booklets, correspondence, and clothing accessories.
Cite as:
George R. Allen collection of World War II memorabilia, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

George Allen was born in 1919 and was educated in the public schools in West Philadelphia. Following the death of his father, William Allen, in 1935, his mother, Anna Detweiler Allen ran his father's bookstore, with occasional help from her children. In 1940, Allen graduated from Haverford College, where he studied Latin, Greek, French, German, and Hebrew; and following his graduation, he joined his mother in business. In 1943, Allen was drafted into the United States Army.

During the Second World War, Allen served with the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army as an interrogator of prisoners of war. As the war drew to a close in 1945, the Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC), which was entering upon the task of rounding up former Nazi officials in German territory, was sorely in need of individuals who spoke German. Because of his knowledge of German, Allen was assigned to the CIC detachment of his division. The detachment had the task of finding and interrogating Nazis in the areas to which they were assigned. In May, Allen's CIC detachment was sent to Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps, the site of a favored retreat of Hitler and a key site in Nazi operations.

Allen arrived in Berchtesgaden on May 5, 1945. Over the next several months the Germans who were questioned by Allen and his colleagues included a number of figures from Hitler's immediate milieu, such as his sister, his half-sister, his chauffeur, one of his personal secretaries, and his personal physician. The interrogations yielded information about the last days of Hitler, including his suicide and the events around it; the assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944; the death (also by suicide, as it was revealed) of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in October 1944; the structure of the Security Service ( Sicherheitsdienst) of the SS; and the movements and actions of the German High Command Operational Staff (Wehrmachtführungsstab) in the last months of war.

After George Allen's discharge from military service in November 1945, he returned to the family bookstore and headed it until the end of his life. He died on 20 November 1998. An obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer (25 November 1998) described Allen as "the dean of Philadelphia booksellers."

Scope and Contents

This collection of World War II memorabilia consists of newspapers, leaflets and booklets, ephemera, and photographs; and largely documents the propaganda efforts of the Allied Forces during the last two years of the conflict.

Series 1. Newspapers consists of eight titles; seven of which were produced by the Allies. The majority are in German and generally provide news of the progress of the Allied Forces in the war. These newspapers are arranged alphabetically by title.

The second series, Propaganda leaflets and booklets, comprises the bulk of the collection. These booklets and leaflets, again, largely produced by the Allies, and in particular the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (PWD/SHAEF), are mostly in German. Leaflets were air-dropped or artillery shelled to the German troops and provide information regarding the success of Allied maneuvers, the futility of continuing to fight a war that the Germans had essentially lost, and how to surrender. In fact, most of the Allied leaflets provide instructions for how to safely surrender to Allied troops, as well as ensuring Axis soldiers that they would be treated well. It appears that some of the Allied leaflets in this collection were not physically distributed, but instead were collected from the PWD. These particular leaflets accompany the German leaflets, but are in English and are mocked-up for publication with an empty frame where a photograph was eventually inserted. The Allied leaflets are arranged by the leaflet code located on the leaflet which indicates the organization which produced the leaflet. There are also Axis propaganda booklets and leaflets, most of which are in English. These are arranged alphabetically by title or first phrase on the leaflet.

Ephemera consists of a group of World War II, and largely Axis power, ephemera such as a bookplate from Gretl Braun (sister of Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun); armbands, epaulets, and insignia pins from Nazi uniforms; and money from occupied territories. Of particular interest is the National Socialist German Workers' Party membership book of and letter from Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893-1946), Hitler's Foreign Minister who was executed for war crimes following the Nuremberg Trials.

The final series, Photographs, consists of fifty photographs, mostly of Nazi officers and leadership. While some of these photographs are labeled on the back, the labeling is often unclear and abbreviated. There are fair number of photographs of Hitler shaking hands or speaking to officers and a few of Hitler speaking to groups or attending events, such as the signing of the armistice with France on June 22, 1940. There are several photographs of Hitler and his officers visiting his headquarters in Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn in Poland) shortly after the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate him. Individuals identified in photographs include: Karl Dönitz, Hermann Fegelein, Joseph Goebbels, Arthur Kannenberg, Wilhelm Keitel, Heinz Linge, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Erwin Rommel, Ferdinand Schörner, General Rudolf Schmundt, Albert Speer, and Vice Admiral Hans-Erich Voss.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2014 May 8

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Aleth Tisseau des Escotais

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use. At the time of his gift, George R. Allen stipulated that this collection should not be used for promotion or glorification of Nazism.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift from George R. Allen, 1988 November 6

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At University of Pennsylvania, Rare Book and Manuscript Library: Berchtesgaden Military Intelligence Records.

Separated Materials note

Two books are included with this gift but not housed with it: Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts by Alfred Rosenberg, inscribed by Hermann Goering, and  Friedrich der Grosse by Franzisco Agramonte with an Adolf Hitler bookplate.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Allied Forces. Supreme Headquarters. Psychological Warfare Division.
  • Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei.
Form/Genre(s)
  • Booklets
  • Insignias
  • Leaflets (printed works)
  • Memorabilia
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
Personal Name(s)
  • Ribbentrop, Joachim von, 1893-1946
Subject(s)
  • Psychological warfare
  • World War, 1939-1945--Germany
  • World War, 1939-1945--Propaganda

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Newspapers, 1944-1945.

Box Folder

Die Mitteilungen, American propaganda newspaper in German, special issue, 1945.

1 1

Frontbrief zur Kriegslage, American propaganda newspaper in German, issues, 1944 December-1945 February.

1 1

Frontpost, American propaganda newspapers issues in German, 1944 November-1945 February.

1 1

Nachrichten für die Truppe, Allied newspaper in German, 1944 November 17-December 13.

1 2

Österreichische Zeitung, Allied newspaper issue in German, published in Stockholm, 1945 January 15.

1 3

The Plebs, the National Council of Labour Colleges, in English, published in Scotland (includes article "The War, the Peace--and Germany," by Union of Democratic Control), 1944 November.

1 3

Politische Information, Allied newspaper issue in German, published in Stockholm, 1945 January 15.

1 3

The Reflector, German propaganda newspaper issues in English, published in Munich, 1944.

1 3

Series II. Propaganda leaflets and booklets, Circa 1939-1945.

a. Allied propaganda.

Box Folder
Booklets, circa 1939-1945.
Included
  1. Glas Pobede
  2. Volk am Abgrund (2 copies)
1 4
Leaflets, 7A-A, C, and E Series, circa 1939-1945.
Included:
  1. 7A-A 7: Deutsche Soldaten! Eüre Stünde is gekommen ...
  2. 7A-A9: Volkssturm
  3. 7A-A13: Tod im Elsass (includes English translation: Death in Alsace)
  4. 7A-A14: Botschaften der Militärregierung (includes English translation: Message of the Military Government)
  5. 7A-A15: Wer Zahlt Den Preiss? (includes English translation: Who is Paying the Price?)
  6. 7A-A72: Warnung!
  7. 7A-C10-: Frontline News-Letter for German Soldiers in the West (English translations of issues dating from 2nd Week of December 1944 to the 4th Week of February 1945)
  8. 7A-E7: 245.I.D Versprochen ...
  9. 7A-E10: 6.SS Viele von Euren Kameraden in der 6.SS
  10. 7A-E11: 17.SS Viele von Euren Kameraden in der 17.SS
  11. 7A-E13: 47.VGD Wegwiser für Landser
  12. 7A-E14: 257.VGD Verluste über Verluste
1 5
Leaflets, A.A. Series, circa 1939-1945.
Included:
  1. A.A.1: 150000 Deutsche Soldaten Kriegsgefangene in den Vereinigten Staaten, 1. Bericht-Allegmeines
  2. A.A.2: 150000 Deutsche Soldaten Kriegsgefangene in den Vereinigten Staaten, 2. Bericht-Verpflegung
1 6
Leaflets, AgG Series (shelled leaflets produced by the 21st Army Group in Western Europe which was formed by the British 2nd Army and the 1st Canadian Army, both under the command of Field Marshall Montgomery), 1944-1945.
Included:
  1. AgG 19: Das War der Plan (handwritten note, "The Bulge")
  2. AgG 19A: Eine Gelegenheit (includes English translation: An Opportunity)
  3. AgG 20: Das War der Plan (handwritten note, "The Bulge, Dec. 44"
  4. AgG 24: Lieber Kriegsgefangener als Leiche
  5. AgG 25A: Die Rundstedt-Offensive .. Eröffnet am 16. Dezember 1944 : am 16. Januar 1945 Kaputt
  6. AgG 25B: Die Rundstedt-Offensive .. Eröffnet am 16. Dezember 1944 : am 16. Januar 1945 Kaputt
  7. AGg 26A: Die Lage ... am 16. Januar 1945 (includes English translation)
1 7
Leaflets, BG Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. BG 151: Die [Bructe]: Herausgegeben von deutschen Kriesgefangenen in England, 1945 February
1 8
Leaflets, Feldpost, 1944 December-1945 March.
Includes
  1. Numbers 6 ("Sechste"), 8, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,19, 26, and 27.
1 9
Leaflets, G Series, 1943.
Includes
  1. G.72: Um Zeit zu gewinnen
1 10
Leaflets, CPH Series (Command Propaganda Headquarter [CPH] leaflets were dropped on German armed forces by members of the 9th American Army), 1944 October-1945 May.
Includes:
  1. CPH 10: Helf dir Selber, Dann helft dir auch..et au verso Wie gerïeten sie in Kriegsgefangenschaft ?
  2. CPH 11: Offiziers Mertblatt
  3. CPH 12: Jetzt aber rollen unsere alliierten Panzer nach Deutschland hinein
  4. CPH 13: Tagebucheintragung eines deutschen Oberleutnants
  5. CPH 14: Deutsche soldaten in Brachelen! Feuertod oder feuchtes grab (includes English translation: German Soldiers in Brachelen! Death in Battle or a Watery Grave?)
  6. CPH 15: Wurm in Kessel!
  7. CPH 16: Florian Geyer ist nur scheintot
  8. CPH 17: Feuer und Flamme (includes English translation: Fire and Flames)
  9. CPH 19: Einst. Jetzt (includes English translation: Once. Now)
  10. CPH 20: Plan und Resultat (includes English translation: Plans and Results)
  11. CPH 21: Die Letzten Reserven (includes English translation: The Last Reserves)
  12. CPH 22: Soldatenpflicht, Soldatenglück (includes English translation: A Soldier's Duty, A Soldier's Luck)
  13. CPH 23: Hannover, den 29 Dezember 44. Lieber Hans
  14. CPH 24: Zweifrontenkrieg
  15. CPH 25: Front
  16. CPH 26: Bunkerlinie umgangen!
  17. CPH 27: Gleiwitz, Kattowitz, Benthen
  18. CPH 28: Schlefier machen Schluss
  19. CPH 31: Lebendige ... Zielscheiben
1 11
Leaflets, CT Series (Command Team [CT] leaflets were disseminated by artillery shell by the First US Army, from the time of the battle for Aachen until the end of the war), 1944 October-1945 May.
Includes:
  1. CT-15: So ist es heute ... so war es gestern (three copies, one torn)
  2. CT-30: Ein erstes wort ...
  3. CT-31: So gingen sie zugrunde
  4. CT-32: Die Schwindelmühle
  5. CT-33: In der Zange
  6. CT-34: Hilfdir Selbst
  7. CT-35: Achtung--Lebensgefahr!
  8. CT-36: Drei Führer ... kein Reich!
  9. CT-37: Abgeriegelt
  10. CT-41: Anweisung zur Lebensrettung (two copies, includes English translation: Instructions on How to Save Your Life)
  11. CT-42: Die Strasse frei..fur die SS (two copies, includes two copies of English translation: Make Free the Street for the SS!)
  12. CT-43: Ein Monat Kriegsgeschichte
  13. CT-44: Himmler's Weihnachtsgabe für das deutsche Volk
  14. CT-45: Da ist das Ende !
  15. CT-46: Der Einmarsch
  16. CT-49: Dein Leben–Deutschlands Zukunft
  17. CT-50: Ueber die Oder und nach Berlin !
1 12
Leaflets, MD Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. MD 107: Die zeit des zögerns ist vorbei
  2. MD 113: Sieben tatsachen, die jeder wissen muss (three copies)
  3. MD 114: Das leben geht weiter
  4. MD 116: Das leben geht weiter
  5. MD 117: Sieben tatsachen, die jeder wissen muss (two copies)
  6. MD 118: Sieben tatsachen, die jeder wissen muss
  7. MD 207: 5 Minuten vor 12
1 13
Leaflets, MW Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. MW 107: Menschenhände gegen Stahl (two copies)
  2. MW 108: Soldaten der 3. Fallschirmjäger-Division: Durchhalten!
  3. MW 109: Achtung! Minen!
  4. MW 113: Aus der Hitler--Rede
1 14
Leaflets, PWB Series (Psychological Warfare Branch [PWB] leaflets were disseminated via artillery shell or air-dropped), 1944-1945.
Includes:
  1. PWB-28: Anweisung für die übergabe von bunkern Maschinengewehrnestern und anderen befestigten stellungen
  2. PWB-29: Anweisung zur Lebensrettung
  3. PWB-32: Anweisung für die Übergabe von Bunkern, Maschinengewehrnestern und anderen befestigten Stellungen
  4. PWB-33: Herr Major!
  5. PWB-35: Dringend! Warnung von der Amerikanischen Ari an die deutschen soldaten (includes English translation: Urgent! Warning from the American Artillery to the German Soldiers)
  6. PWB-36: Wie lange willst du noch für die Parteibonzen leiden?
  7. PWB-37: Wie lange willst du noch für die Parteibonzen leiden?
  8. PWB-38: Im Westen: Die Rundstedt-Offensive schlug fehl! Im Osten: die russische Dampfwalze ist im rollen!
  9. PWB-41: Die heutige Lage. Bericht Zur Lage
  10. PWB-43: Soldaten vom 915. Regt., 352. Volksgrenadier-Div.
  11. PWB-45: Deckung Nehmen!
  12. PWB-46: Während der Westwall bricht, rollen die Russen auf Berlin zu!
  13. PWB-47: Rückzug an allen Fronten
  14. PWB-48: Soldaten der 256. Volksgrenadier-Division: Es liegt an dir!
  15. PWB-55: Die Frontent in Deutschland
1 15
Leaflets, U.S.G. Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. U.S.G. 24: Wofür Kämpfen die Vereinten Nationen?
  2. U.S.G. 30: Dies geht Jeden an
  3. U.S.G. 37: Wenn die Partei nicht wäre -- gäbe es dann Krieg?
  4. U.S.G. 39: Warnung! Präsident Roosevelt an das Deutsche Volk
1 16
Leaflets, US/GB-ZG Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. US/GB-ZG61-1944: Grundsätze des kriegsgefangenen rechts
  2. US/GB-ZG90-1944: Grundsätze des kriegsgefangenen rechts (three copies)
  3. US/GB-ZG90-1945: Grundsätze des kriegsgefangenen rechts
1 17
Leaflets, WG Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. WG 3I: Comando Supremo Della Forza Alleata Di Spedizione (Italian) / Deutsche Arbeiter
  2. WG 4C: Vrchni Velitelstvi Spojeneckych Vojsk Na Evropske Pevnine (Czechoslovakian) / Deutsche Arbeiter
  3. WG 6D: Opperbevel Van de Geallieerde Expeditie Legers (Dutch) / Deutsche Arbeiter
  4. WG 6P: Najwyzsze Dowodztwo sojuszniczych sil EkspedYcyjnych (Polish) / Deutsche Arbeiter (two copies)
  5. WG 7D: Arbeiders (Dutch)
  6. WG 7I: Lavoratori (Italian)
  7. WG 22C: Cechum v Nemecku (Czechoslovakian) / Bekanntmachung
  8. WG 22I: Agli Italiani in Germania (Italian) / Bekanntmachung
  9. WG 22P: Do Polakow w Niemczech (Polish) / Bekanntmachung
  10. WG 22S: Slovakom v Nemecku (Slovakian) / Bekanntmachung
  11. WG 23: Die Wahl (two copies)
  12. WG 24: Einer Gegen Neun Wie lange noch?
  13. WG 25: Bericht aus Westdeutschland (includes English translation: Report from Western German)
  14. WG 26: In Sicherheit! (includes English translation)
  15. WG 27: Volkssturm im Einsatz! (includes English translation)
  16. WG 42: Deutschlands Zukunft: Roosevelt erläutert die Beschlüsse der Krim-Konferenz
  17. WG 1000: Front und Heimat
1 18
Leaflets, ZF Series, circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. Z.F. 1: Les armees alliés debarquent: Le général Eisenhower s'adresse aux peuples des Pays Occupés
1 19
Leaflets, ZG Series (ZG leaflets were largely air-dropped over Germany, but some were shelled to German troops), 1944-1945.
Includes:
  1. ZG 58: Die Letzten Wochen
  2. ZG 64: Das Ende
  3. ZG 65: Warum sterben-in den letzten Tagen des Krieges?
  4. ZG 81: Material-Schlacht! (two copies, includes English translation: Battle of Material)
  5. ZG 83: Die Entscheidung ist schwer (includes English translation, The Decision is Difficult)
  6. ZG 86: Ihr seid jetzt abgeschnitten! (includes English translation: You are now cut off!)
  7. ZG 88: 6 Arten, des Leben zu verlieren / 3 Arten, nach Hause zu kommen (includes English translation: 6 ways of losing your life / 3 ways of getting home)
  8. ZG 89: Kein Vergnügen (two copies, includes English translation: No Joke)
  9. ZG 91: Betreff: Spionage (includes English translation: Re.: Espionage)
  10. ZG 98: Der letzte Versuch (two copies)
  11. ZG 110: Wenn die rote armee in Berlin Stünde ...
  12. ZG 112 K: Zwei Worte die 850000 Leben retteten
1 20
Leaflets, uncoded, circa 1939-1945.
Included:
  1. 361. VG Division. Ein Wort zum Thema: Wozu das alles? (two copies)
  2. 708. Volksgrenadier-Division
  3. Adolphe Hitler (faux announcement for funeral--two copies)
  4. An die im Oberelsass eingeschlossenen Einheiten der 108., 189., 716. I.D. und der 16. und 708. Volksgrenadier-Division!
  5. Cherbourg ... ist nicht nur eine Stadt. Cherbourg ist der Anfang vom Ende
  6. Nach dem Fall von Sarrebourg, Zabern, Strassburg, Saint-Dié, Gérardmer, Belfort, Mülhausen, ein letzter Vernünftiger Ausweg
  7. On a oublié de vous dire ...
1 21

b. Axis propaganda.

Box Folder
Booklets , circa 1939-1945.
Includes:
  1. Des Führers Kampf in Frankreich
  2. Des Führers Kampf in Holland
  3. Des Führers Kampf in Norwegen
  4. Des Führers Kampf zur See
  5. For You and Your Comrades (in Russian)
1 22
Leaflets, circa 1939-1946.
Included:
  1. Benjamin Franklin's Prophecy
  2. Denke dran!
  3. Do you remember the Olympic Games in Berlin?
  4. Happiness Lost
  5. In Trust for To-morrow
  6. Invest in the U.S.A. Buy War Bonds
  7. Listen, Yank: Are You a Sucker?
  8. Longing for You, Waiting for You
  9. Only good Indian is a dead Indian
  10. Safe Conduct
  11. Sagacity Sam says ...
  12. When?
1 23

Series III. Ephemera.

Box Folder

Braun, Gretl, bookplate, undated.

1 24

Calendar in Russian, 1944.

1 24

Clothing and accessories (includes armbands and epaulets), circa 1939-1945.

1 25

Hitler Directs His War, promotional sign, circa 1950.

1 26

Money (largely from Occupied Territories), circa 1939-1945.

1 26

Pins and insignia, circa 1939-1945.

2 1

Psychological Warfare Branch, Italian Theatre Headquarters, restricted note, 1944 December 11.

1 24

Rheydt, label, undated.

1 24

Ribbentrop, Joachim von, letter to his mother-in-law (thanking her for portraits of his children and copy of Mein Kampf) and National Socialist German Workers Party membership book, 1935-1944.

1 27

Series IV. Photographs, undated.

Box Folder

National Socialist party leaders (50 photograph which include images of Adolph Hitler; Nazi officers; Hitler's butler, Arthur Kannenberg; signing of the armistice with France at Compiègne on June 22, 1940; damage to the Wolf's Lair field headquarters following the attempt on Hitler's life on July 20, 1944; and several unidentified events), circa 1939-1945.

1 28