Featured Stein: January   2011
~  Commemorative WWI Submarine Service Stein ~
by  Ron Hartmann
This ˝ liter pottery stein is a fascinating piece of WWI history. The raised design with dark blue background depicts armed sailors standing amid floating mines, artillery projectiles, an anchor and other accoutrements. In the background sits a submarine or Unterseeboote. Under the stein's handle we see a large gun turret with two cannons. Two flags flying in the wind complete the scene.  Across the top front of the stein reads, “Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein” (Dear fatherland, put your mind at rest). This is a line from a German patriotic anthem "Die Wacht am Rhein." This song has its origins in the historical conflicts with France and was particularly popular in Germany during the First World War. 
There are life rings surrounding 1914 Iron Crosses on either side of the stein. The left ring is inscribed “Gott war mit uns”  while the one on the right is inscribed “Ihm sei die Ehre”. Read together, they translate as "God was all around us, to Him be the glory". The stein’s lid also displays an Iron Cross surrounded by a floral theme. The three crosses seem to be copied from the German War Medal of the Franco Prussian War of 1870. The medal shown below, has the same cross, same quotation, and also shows the Imperial crown and Kaiser Wilhelm's initial.
This stein was purchased on eBay a number of years ago. No maker’s identification can be found on the stein, but a mold number 2402 is clearly displayed under the stein’s handle. Although the stein looked authentic, I sought the help of Master Steinologist Art Maethner to confirm the authenticity of this unusual stein. Art confirmed that the stein was indeed a post-WWI stein honoring those brave souls who served in the Imperial German submarine service during the war. Not many of these undersea sailors survived those early days of undersea warfare.  

At the start of World War I, Germany had twenty-nine U-boats in service. When the armistice became effective on 11 November 1918 all surviving German submarines were surrendered. Of the 360 submarines  built, 178 were lost, but not before sinking more than 11 million tons of allied shipping.  From this it is clearly seen that in those early days of submarine warfare, it took brave souls to serve both on and under the sea. This is why this simple pottery stein is so fascinating; it is truly a piece of history!
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