Historic personal photograph of Hindenburg crew survivor Josef Leibrecht in bandages!
I have always had a keen interest in the Hindenburg disaster, so I am pleased to offer a personal snapshot belonging to an actual surviving crew member. Measures 4.5" x 2.75"and is in fine condition. Please see below for a view of the back that shows Leibrecht's autograph.
$195.00 plus shipping
"Josef Leibrecht was one of three electricians who flew on the Hindenburg's final flight, the other two being Ernst Schlapp and Chief Electrician Philipp Lenz. Leibrecht had served as an electrician on every one of the Hindenburg's flights, going all the way back to the ship's maiden flight on March 4th, 1936. On one occasion while in the United States in 1936, on the way back to the ship from enjoying a rather late evening in New York with some friends from Lakehurst, Leibrecht was involved in an automobile accident. As the Hindenburg was preparing to sail at dawn, a police cruiser pulled up, and two New Jersey state troopers escorted Leibrecht to the ship, fresh from the hospital and covered in cuts and bruises.As the Hindenburg approached the mooring circle at Lakehurst at the end of its first North American flight of the 1937 season on May 6th, Leibrecht was off watch in the crew's mess when he was ordered forward to the bow, along with 5 other crewmen (engine mechanics Walter Banholzer and Alfred Stöckle, cooks Alfred Grözinger and Richard Müller, and assistant cook Fritz Flackus), to help to trim the tail-heavy ship for landing. Leibrecht took a spot on a small platform alongside the keel walkway right at Ring 233, at the base of the stairs leading up to the mooring station at the tip of the bow. Suddenly, Leibrecht became aware of a "swishing" noise, and the stern of the ship dropped. He held onto an overhead girder for dear life and kept his eyes shut tightly as the ship seemed to stand on its tail and fire raced overhead towards the bow. For the rest of his life, Leibrecht would remember the awful screams of the men on the stairs ahead of him as they dropped from the ship one by one and fell to their deaths. "It seemed forever," in Leibrecht's mind, before the ship finally leveled out and touched the ground so that Leibrecht could finally let go of his handhold and stumble through the framework to safety.
Of the dozen men who were in the nose of the ship at the time of the fire, only Leibrecht and two others standing twenty feet or so behind him (Alfred Grözinger and elevatorman Kurt Bauer) survived. Leibrecht was burnt badly enough that he remained in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City for well over a month after the crash, and was still not well enough to testify to the US Commerce Department's Board of Inquiry when investigators visited the hospital on May 28th to interview other survivors. Leibrecht, along with fellow crew survivor Franz Herzog, was released from Lenox Hill in July or August of 1937 and returned home to Germany on the steamship Bremen. Leibrecht’s hands, badly burned in the fire, were still bandaged during his voyage home, and continued to be a problem for him for quite some time afterward. In fact, his injuries seem to have prevented Leibrecht from joining his crewmates aboard the Hindenburg’s sister ship, the LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin, when it began to make flights in September of 1938, almost a year and a half after the Hindenburg disaster. According to a letter written by Franz Herzog to one of his American friends in late 1938, “Leibrecht’s hands are so bad that he cannot work anymore. He has bought a little house near the Bodensee in Lindau and is living there.”
Josef Leibrecht did, however, eventually regain enough dexterity to work again as an electrician, although hands and forearms would remain badly scarred for the rest of his life. He lived out the rest of his days in his home town of Lindau, and passed away on December 18, 1994. He is buried in Lindau's Friedhof Aeschach."