Franz Fahrentholz was born in 1900 in the small town of Altrüdnitz (Today: Stara Rudnica) on the banks of the Oder River. He served in the First World War during the end phases of 1918 and was lucky to have missed the horrible bloodshed seen by the men only a few years older than him. From early 1932 Franz was an employee at the AEG Cable Works in Berlin Schöneweide. Franz continued to work there throughout the war, leading teams that produced items directly linked to the war industry and used slave labour.
Franz was not immune to the war effort in another form, defence. These large structures of the AEG were prime targets for Allied bombing raids. The large buildings on the banks of the river Spree would have been an easy target from above.
By July 1941, Franz was sent an order to report to a large gym hall in Berlin-Neukölln to be considered for military duty, he was found fit for duty in the Landwehr, also known as a home army. Although he was not sent to a home army unit he could have been called up anytime. By early 1943, Franz was ordered to take his Wehrpass and report for a further inspection, by June he was enlisted into a home guard Anti-Aircraft unit known, Heimatflakbatterie 28/III. Franz was trained on a captured French light machine gun, the FM 24/29 and received instruction on an anti-aircraft searchlight (Flak-Sw 36 – 60cm). The 60cm searchlight was operated by one person and was built on a small turntable equipped with a seat and trailer, it allowed for a 360-degree reach and was deployed very fast. If an allied aircraft was spotted and followed with such a search light it would mean the spotters firing had a clear target to aim at.
Franz was given the rank of Flakwehrmann, which was a civilian rank given to those that completed a standard course designed in 1943. The objective of which was to train civilians on anti-aircraft related equipment for the purpose of defending the home front. On successful completion of the course the rank of Flakwehrmann was reached and the soldier was awarded a civilian badge. The badge was worn on the left side of the lapel, the eagle of the Luftwaffe holding the swastika inside the cog symbol the symbol for German workers.
He fought with: 1st Flak Division, Leichte Flak Abteilung 979 (o) Stationed at the Berlin Tempelhof Airport.
By April 1945 during the advance of the Soviet army, Franz was found on the banks of the Landwehr Canal on the Maybachufer in Berlin Neukölln. The Maybachufer a 1.47 kilometre long street with one side running parallel to Canal.
Comments: an extremely rare set for central Berlin, the wounding tag completing the picture on what happened to him.