This German real photograph vintage postcard has to be one of the most moving that I own. It was produced by Photochemie, a Berlin company with their own printing plant and appears to be a bromide print judging by the overall matte surface but light, almost metallic-looking tarnishing around the edges of the central image. The theme of being forsaken on this card is a frequent one on early vintage German postcards, but more often than not they deal with the temporary separation of sweethearts, rather than death and loss.
Whilst the postcard is uncirculated and therefore undated, its divided back and the clothing give us a few clues as to when it might have been produced. Germany introduced the divided back in 1905 and from the style of the traditional clothing which looks more Austrian than German I would say that this card is no later than 1914-15 and beginning of the First World War. This is, I hasten to add however, only a guess. If anybody has any other suggestions, please drop me a line in the comments box!
The words on the card are from the second verse of the Carinthian folk song Forsaken (or rather Verlassen Bin or sometime simply Verlassen), written by Austrian composer Thomas Koschat (1845–1914) in 1862. Koschat formed the Koschat Quartet (Rudolf Traxler, Walter Fourness, Georg Haan and Clemens Fochler) and was apparently rather well known in Europe and the US where he toured extensively. Outside Europe he may not be a household name, but certainly most people will be familiar with the music for this song which was adopted for James Montgomery's hymn The Lord is My Shepherd.
Thanks to the Hymn Studies blog I managed to find a translation of the original folk song which fits the image on the card perfectly .
Forsaken, forsaken, forsaken am I;
Like the stone in the causeway, my buried hopes lie;
I go to the churchyard, My eyes filled with tears;
And kneeling I weep there, Oh, my love, loved for years.
A mound in the churchyard, that blossoms hang o'er;
It is there my love sleepeth, to waken no more;
'Tis there all my footsteps, my passions all lead;
And there my heart turneth, I'm forsaken indeed.
I promise to post something cheerier next time round! In the meantime enjoy listening to the music in the video at the end of this post or click here to view on YouTube.
Find more vintage postcards at Marie's Cpaphil Vintage Postcard Blog and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.