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Petschauer family papers

Identifier: RB-8034

Scope and Contents

The majority of this collection consists of 7 paperbound manuscripts containing poetry, plays, and writings by former National Socialist German Workers’ Party members while they were detained in American prison camps. A portion of the poetry (including poems by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke) was collected from libraries in camps. Reportedly prisoners would read to one another from these works for entertainment. Additionally, there are banknotes collected in Germany, Dr. Erich Petschauer’s passport, notes for a speech, an Anti-American propaganda booklet, and an oversized genealogy family tree.

“Kultur hinter Stacheldraht?” (Culture behind barbed wire?) is a speech written about the future by Dr. Erich Petschauer while he was a prisoner.

Located in the back of “Gedichte VI” (Poems) are French-German vocabulary lessons.

The bulk of the collection is in German; donor Dr. Peter Petschauer provided information for the context provided in the descriptions. Translations of the folder titles may not be comprehensive.


  • 1920-1947


Conditions Governing Access

The materials from Appalachian State University Libraries' Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The nature of these collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. As a result, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Appalachian State University assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Erich Petschauer (1907-1977) was a first lieutenant in the SS (Schutzstaffel) for the Nazi regime during World War II (1940-1945). Petschauer was posted to a camp in South Tyrol, Italy, (1939-1943).

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Peter W. Petschauer taught Russian, German, and 18th Century European History at Appalachian State from 1968 to 2006. Dr. Erich Petschauer was his father.

Biographical / Historical

During World War I and the Interbellum, Germany faced an economic crisis. The population was hoarding coins causing acute monetary shortages. As a result, Notgeld (banknotes) were issued in bulk by banks, cities, and other locales, resulting in hyperinflation. More Notgeld was printed to meet the rising costs, and by 1921 Notgeld had inundated the country. The majority of these banknotes were printed in 1921; many of them were colorful and featured politics, folklore, and local buildings and scenery.


0.21 Linear Feet

Language of Materials




Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated in 2018 by Dr. Peter W. Petschauer, an emeritus professor at Appalachian State. It was accessioned as RB.2020.003.

Processing Information

Angela Ocuto Howell, 2022

Petschauer family papers
Angela Ocuto Howell
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository