Frisian Collector is a collector of WWII US militaria. My collection is mainly focused on items used by the US Army during the liberation of Western Europe. The reason I have chosen for this collecting theme will be described later on. First a short introduction.
My name is Hilmer and I am living in Friesland (Frisia), or Fryslân as we call it in our Frisian language. Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands. My hometown is located nearby the provincial capital Leeuwarden. When I wrote this, I was twenty-one years old.
The beginning of my WWII interests were encouraged when I was thirteen years old by playing the game Brothers in Arms. Shortly after, I began reading stories about the fighting in Europe and I heard several family stories which made my interest bigger and bigger. Even so big that one year later I started collecting all kinds of small items which had something to do with WWII and my first mannequin consisted of reproduction clothes and equipment. After a couple of years, thanks to other militaria collectors, I realized it was impossible to collect all different kinds of items mixed with reproductions and make a proper collection. There were many items of which I did not even know where exactly they were used for. So, at the age of seventeen, I decided to sell most of the items (including all reproductions) and specialize my collection by collecting items used by the Armed Forces of one particular country which fulfilled an important role in the liberation of Western Europe: the United States of America.
My choice to collect US militaria was made because I am fascinated in how the US showed its inexhaustible industrial capacity and economic power after the declaration of war of Japan and Germany. Their outdated army became one of the most advanced armies in the world which was equipped and dressed for every possible combat situation. The US soldier, wherever he was, was even supplied with his favorite drinks, sweets and other refreshments from home.
As said before, the bulk of my collection will be focused on the US army that participated in the liberation of Western Europe. Because this is still a large topic I have chosen to collect items from one particular infantry division which has made an important contribution in the liberation: the “Fighting 69th” Infantry Division. This choice was made because I did not want to choose a division which is already given lots of attention by other collectors and most importantly because of the photo shown below.
This photo has always been fascinating to me. The historic friendly encounter at the Elbe River seemed a symbol of peace and friendship between two powerful countries. Nowadays we know none of this was true. Besides, this photo is one of the most well-known photos of WWII but the 69th Infantry Division is a relatively unknown division; only famous because of this photo and the historical East-West link-up. Through this website, I want to tell and show what was going on before the link-up; a purpose I want to accomplish by showing items and ID’ed groupings related to the 69th Infantry Division.
Besides the 69th Infantry Division my collection will also be focused on items related to military “free of tax” issue and Coca-Cola.
Military “free of tax” issue is an interesting topic regarding cigarettes, tobacco, cigars, playing cards and beer which could be offered tax free to US servicemen serving overseas or in Alaska and Hawaii. Items which are possessed, perhaps in small amounts, by almost every US militaria collector but yet there are still some questions unanswered; especially concerning the free of tax stamp.
And last but not least is the third and final topic about Coca-Cola. For me, Coca-Cola is (besides a delicious soft drink) a symbol of the globalization of American culture which has come to Europe during the liberation. It exemplifies that at the end of WWII there was only one winner; the US had almost no civilian losses, their country was still intact and they became one of the most powerful countries in the world.
The goal of this website is to share and receive information by showing my collection to fellow collectors and other people who are interested. All the information I gathered about the items is summarized and placed on this website, together with some highly detailed photos. Collecting authentic items from WWII is of great importance but retaining the information is perhaps even more important, the details which makes the item special are often unknown.
By Hilmer Dantuma | Published March 2018