Visitors to the Berlin Zoo feeding a Hippo, circa 1930.
Feeding the Hippos during wartime (note the uniforms in the crowd).
Courtesy of reader Lloyd Thomas: The Panzermann 'Ernst' wears the standard black tank crew uniform. His rank is private but he may have been a tank driver, ammunition loader, gunner etc. He wears the 'Panzerkampfabzeichen' or Panzer badge which recognized the achievements of Panzer personnel who took part in armoured assaults. He also wears the 'Verwundetenabzeichen' or Wound badge, Germany's equivalent of the Purple Heart, in black or 3rd class for those wounded twice in action. On his lapel he wears two ribbons. The 'Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse', or Iron Cross 2nd Class. The official criteria for the award was a single act of bravery in the face of the enemy, or actions that were clearly above and beyond the call of duty. Together and underneath the Iron Cross ribbon, he wears the 'Winterschlacht im Osten' ribbon or Eastern Front Medal ribbon for those who saw action on the Russian front. On the back of the photo with Ernst and son and those super lion cubs, it seems to read Ernst and Perbele - Persele? Not sure on this one, could even be a nickname. Dated July 1943.
Also courtesy of Lloyd Thomas: On the back of the photo of husband and wife it mentions their names 'Ernst and Hertha July 1943' Obviously in Berlin Zoo hence the stamp of 'R. Henemann, Berlin W 57 Winterfeldstrasse, 'Erinnerungen aus dem Berliner Zoo' - Memories from the Berlin Zoo His wife Hertha, to my mind, looks happy, proud and contented. The man she loves is home, alive and the sun is shining. Who could ask for more? As you can see, this photo is also dated July 1943. In darker ink at the top of the rear of this photo it reads; "gefallen am 31.8.1943 vor Kharkov" – fell (killed) on 31.8.1943 at Kharkov. Sadly, only one month after his happy visit to the Berlin Zoo, he was killed in action over a thousand miles from home. I can never look at these photos without feeling a little sad.
Courtesy of Lloyd Thomas: "Moving on to the Berlin Zoo Ausweis... I am thrilled to bits to have this in my collection. As you know, finding any kind of paperwork relating to the Berlin Zoo during the Zweiter Weltkrieg is next to impossible. I cant help hoping that 'Margarethe' made it through the devastating bombing of November 1943. I hope so." Many thanks to Lloyd for sharing!