Karl Götz

Co. 54

Karl Götz


Karl Götz, son of the day labourer Karl Götz and his wife Kathariene, born Alberth, was born on April 28th 1894 in Darmstadt, which is a city in Hesse, Germany. Until the age of 14 he attended the “Volksschule“, a type of basic primary and secondary school in Germany and Austria.

After that he did an apprenticeship as a locksmith in Darmstadt, which he finished at the age of 17.

Until the age of 20 he continued his career at Schenk´s.

On September 28th 1914 he was conscripted into the army and joined 115th infantry regiment in Hesse (Leibgarde-Infanterie-Regiment (1. Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr. 115). There he received military training and after that he travelled as a recruit to Hamm and then to France. In an early battle he was wounded in his left thigh, so he was transferred to a reserve military hospital, but later returned to the battle field.

Back on the field he was buried by a shell explosion and after treatment in a field hospital, was transferred to Furtwange(n). From there he returned to his battalion and was educated at the machine gun detachment 65. He then went with this battalion to Deberitz and later for the third and last time to the battlefield in Romania.

On December 27th he received the Hesse bravery medal. Due to his ordeal of being buried alive, he wasn’t able to handle the strain and so was transferred to a field hospital. Later, he was transported to reserve military hospitals in Zweibrücken, Liegnitz and finally to Sandbach and to a pulmonary sanatorium. From there he was referred as incurable to the reserve military hospital in Darmstadt. There he was treated for a longer period of time and was discharged on July 22nd 1917 with annuities. Because he was not able to carry out a job, he returned to his parents, who still lived in Darmstadt. Meanwhile (24th July 1917) his health worsened so much that he needed to stay in bed, on doctor´s orders. He died finally on August first, due to breathing difficulties.

First Letter

I just wanted to inform you how I am here in France. We left Harm on February 17th (at 9 am) and arrived here in Nebla (or Nael) at 12 o´ clock, and were greeted by the royal household. At 3 pm we arrived in Fosch and received 120 cartridges and arrived in the evening at 7 pm in Fanfart.

There we were stationed in the cellar, and then one day in the trench, where we had shelters that we crawled into on hands and feet. On February 28th, maybe a Sunday, we had marching practice. We left at at 8 o´clock and returned at 12:30. At midday, around 3 pm we were inoculated (on the chest) against cholera, while the “bodyguard band“ (Musikkapelle der Leibgarde) played for us some really nice songs.

In the evening at 7 o´clock we started our march which lasted for four days. When we arrived there we got attacked and shells smashed directly in front of us. The place, where we´ve been on standby, was called Fanfart, and is a half hour away from the trenches. On the night of the 28th we dug out a complete trench. We began at 8 o´clock pm and finished at 2am. On March 4th at 8 pm we entered the trench. At this time I had just been posted for four days to a listening post, which was just 300 meters away from the German trench and only 50 meters from the French trench. Every two hours we took turns at the listening post, and it rained and snowed and was so cold that our feet almost froze. The French were ready and terribly calm. Here and there shells were smashing into the field, the French were even bombing their own villages. One village burned the whole night.

This morning at 8 o´clock we marched from Fonges and arrived at Ruyn at 12 pm, were we took up quarters. (tomorrow we’re leaving) (crossed out) We need to stay here for six days. You can send me a few thin socks. We get 1/3 of a loaf of bread, you can send me something to spread.

Greetings to all of you, and to professor Dorch and Mrs. Mätzger.

Sending to you.

Adress: K. Götz Gardefüsilier
Infantry regiment 115/ France
18 ArmeeK. 3 Batallion
25 Division 11 Compagnie 10 Corp.

Second Letter

From the trench, June 2nd 1915

Dear parents!

With this letter I want to thank you for the two parcels you sent me. In one was the wallet, in the other the honey. If you want to, you can send me really thin socks and a needle with yarn, because I don’t have it anymore. When I can leave the trench, I will go the photographer to see if he’s finished with my pictures, so I can send you one.

Greetings from here,
Your son Karl Götz

Field postcard
To: Family Karl Götz
in Darmstadt

Hannah Politycki

"Leben ist vergänglich, doch die Achtung und Erinnerung bleiben"

"Life is transient, but the respect and recollection remain"

My name is Hannah and I'm 16 years old. I live in Frankfurt a.M. in Hesse/ Germany and I'm visiting the 11th grade, with the main classes Spanish, Biology and History.

I was one of the German students who had the chance to participate in this amazing and special project! In the "official" blog you can read more of my texts regarding this project. I had the honour to adopt and represent the German soldier Karl Götz, who died in WW1.

Directly on the first day I presented my soldier and I was positively surprised about all the feedback and the resulting conversations about my soldier and what the project means to me/us. I felt myself in really good hands, surrounded by really lovely people! Also, the language barrier disappeared after a few hours (obviously English isn't my first language). At lunch time we got to know the Irish students and got into conversations. About the project, the cultural differences, and about our daily lives and interests. By doing for example, a scavenger hunt together, we got to know each other better and the situation got more and more loosened.

The project has such a unique intention, what we, I, realized really fast. Though on the cemeteries we also realized something different, what we haven't had expected the project will show us: How German and Irish students react differently being on the cemeteries, how we felt being there in Flanders and what different significance WW1 has in different countries. (On the official blog you'll find an own text about that). While the Irish students reacted really emotional, we Germans, me included, were more... neutral.

Maybe that could seem like the project haven't had affected me in the way it should. It's difficult to explain, but it gave so much to all of us, but to everyone something different. But definitely I learned in these 4 days, we've spent in Belgium, a lot! Being on the cemeteries (especially with this amazing group) was such a unique experience I will remind for a really long time! I did not only learn about WW1, rather more about me personally, Ireland, and the things that seem so natural to us! Also, I'm really grateful that I got to know so many amazing people! How you all interacted with us, the conversations we've had, was something what made the trip in another way so awesome and unforgettable!