Found Photos

Found Photos – Lake Lugano, 1945/46 – By Christoph Traugott

October 11, 2020

This photos were taken by unknown (as yet) World War II Servicemen and women, likely from Peoria, Illinois going for R&R time at Lake Lugano, Italy. Lake Lugano is a glacial lake which is situated on the border between southern Switzerland and Northern Italy. And on the same trip, a ski outing, staying at the Park Hotel, Alpenhof in Switzerland and Adler Hotel & Erica Schweizerhof, in Lugano, Switzerland.

The servicemen were with the logistical unit of ADSEC or ADSEC/COMZ (Technical Corporals and Sergeants), “The Advance Section, Communications Zone”, European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA), 1944 to 1945. ADSEC was responsible supplying the advancing army, with ordnance and munitions; operated field hospitals, and supplied the front-lines with much needed blood, they also provided transportation of oil and gas, and were instrumental in the detail supply planning for Normandy.

The Normandy Invasion (Operation Overlord or D-Day), was the Allied invasion of western Europe, launched on June 6, 1944, consisting of simultaneous landings of combined U.S., British, and Canadian forces on five differing beachheads in Normandy, France.

Samples, of found film negatives, much damaged & fused 120 and 135 roll film, restored as best could.

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  • Reply
    October 11, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Love these posts with historical events knowledge and photos (old history prof. cum lawyer here)! Please keep these coming! While I love camera and film geekery it is the stories photographs tell regarding the subject that is my first love. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Loving the shots in these articles so far. To me that’s what photography is about. A time machine that transports you back to a different time and place long since forgotten, capturing those details of everyday life as it was. Great series Hamish keep up the good work and a big thank you to you and all your contributors.

  • Reply
    Chris Pattison
    October 12, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Fascinating images and story Christoph. How did you come by these photographs?

    • Reply
      Christoph Traugott
      October 12, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      Jr’s Mini Mall, a local antique store, located in Pekin, IL (near Peoria), got a big trailer-full lot of military items, flags, patches, bayonets, uniforms, etc. and with it came a whole box of misc. collector pictures (World War I, Korea and WII). I hit up all stores within a 100 mile radius, on constant lookout. I digitized the prints lots, these from much damaged roll film, not found in the best of ideal conditions, and many frames too far gone, but did manage to cull a majority at least.

  • Reply
    theo vervloet
    October 12, 2020 at 10:13 am

    very interesting example of how pictures can tell a quiet moment of of rest after the front of an ugly war. Nice memories or?

    Congrats for posting this;

  • Reply
    October 12, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Interesting images. It’s new to me that Switzerland allowed foreign soldiers to go on holidays during World War II. The country was neutral and did everything to avoid to get mixed in the conflict. I assume that the skiing images were taken somewhere else in Switzerland, as the climate in Lugano is very mild and almost mediterranean.

    • Reply
      Christoph Traugott
      October 12, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Yes, possible a train trip to maybe Airolo or Andermatt, and likely nearby the Park Hotel, Alpenhof, but unsure of the actual skiing locations.

    • Reply
      October 12, 2020 at 10:20 pm

      It is quite possible that Swiss towns and resorts were willing (or enthusiastic) to have foreign visitors who would spend foreign currency. After all, despite neutrality, Switzerland had been surrounded by warring nations and suffered severe disruption of their tourist. And consider: even though US service personnel were poorly paid back then, they were really well paid compared to soldiers from any other country.

    • Reply
      Laurence Kesterson
      October 12, 2020 at 10:24 pm

      I’m guessing that the photos in Switzerland were taken post-war. A lot of US servicemen stayed in Europe for quite a while before they could ship home.

      • Reply
        Christoph Traugott
        October 13, 2020 at 2:24 am

        Yes, think so too, looked at more evidence, and several others seconded, such contradicts provenance and other documentation, with fixed dates, in other samples, plus prints with handwritten dates penciled in, but often can be after-the-fact recollections, by third parties.

  • Reply
    Michael Wirth
    October 18, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Considering Milan was not liberated until late April, 1945, it is unlikely these are pictures from 1944. Without Milan, there is really no access to Lake Lugano. There is however an interesting book en titled “Our Leave in Switzerland American Soldiers 1945/46”, so it is likely from this time period. Foreign airmen (including US) landing aircraft in Switzerland were also placed in POW camps, and the last of those were not repatriated until May 1945… so 1944 is unlikely.

    • Reply
      Christoph Traugott
      October 19, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Hey much thanks for the history…

      Contradicts the documentation and provenance but those things are often after-the-fact recollections. And you made the case.

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