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I pried the photo off the page and found that it was labeled Bild Nr.
26, and that it provided an informational paragraph about the Alpensteinbock, which read in part, “Die Erhaltung dieser hochgebirgstrecken in den Alpen danken wir dem Schweizer Zumstein und dem König Viktor Emanuel II. So many conflicting spirits now seemed to haunt this object, which apparently served more as a hobby album than as a reference book. ) who, sometime around 1938, collected and painstakingly pasted in all 125 of these animal pictures. A rudimentary Wikipedia search on the tobacco companies involved in publishing many similar propagandistic works brought up the fact that the Third Reich was known for harsh anti-tobacco policies, which complicates things even more.
For each animal there was a mysterious mathematical equation, which, after some investigation, I found to be somehow related to the creature’s jaw measurements.
It occurred to me that the photographs of Aus Wald und Flur were pasted in by hand, some poorly aligned or insufficiently attached.
I turned to page 39, where a photo of a regal Alpensteinbock was loose at one corner.
I found Aus Wald und Flur: Tiere Unserer Heimat at a Berlin flea market one summer afternoon several years ago, and I remember talking the vendor down to eighteen Euros for it.
One look at its cover and I knew it had to be mine: a palate of washed-out spring and olive greens, dusty browns, and goldenrod fills in the delicate pencil drawings of an overwhelmingly lush forest scene in which, among other things, a mountain goat glares judgingly down at a grazing wild boar, a flying squirrel dives headlong from the pine trees in avoidance of what appears to be an air-born weasel, a wolf dejectedly lumbers in the background, panting, and a wild hamster stands erect in tuft of glowing wheat, apparently shrieking about the immanent danger surrounding it, or perhaps singing the praises of the diverse landscape.
It is strange to think of the animalization of human beings during the Nazi regime in relation to Aus Wald und Flur, which is premised on being about actual animals. I could also interpret Aus Wald und Flur as an element of the ‘back to nature’ movement, along with the Wandervogel and other nature-oriented establishments.
According to John Alexander Williams’ study Turning to Nature in Germany: Hiking, Nudism, and Conservation 1900-1940, the nature movement was not necessarily retroactive and nostalgic, as it is often perceived, but in fact a progressive means of dealing with changes in societal and industrial structure.There is a black and white photograph of the author available for purchase online called “Portrait of German zoologist Ludwig Zukowsky”; in the picture, Zukowsky is holding a chimpanzee. The entire first fifth of Aus Wald und Flur is completely devoted to species of deer, introduced in the first chapter with the title Vom König der deutschen Wälder.In this Lob of the Hirsch, “der Krone des deutschen Wildes,” Zukowsky provides multiple full-page illustrations of antler varieties, hoof tracks, and skeletal structures, a visual foray of tremendous detail afforded to no other species in the book.A large portion of the deer text, captioned “Hie guet Weidwerk allewege!” Weidmann und Weidwerk im Dritten Reich is dedicated to the Third Reich’s efforts (headed by Hermann Göring, who, among other notorious roles in the Reich, held the position of Reichsjägermeister) to preserve the history of German Jagdkultur, and the implementation of Jagd- und naturschutzgesetze.A young buck gazes wistfully across the page in a photo captioned “Kapitaler Bock ‘im bett,’” and below, Zukowsky explains: “Früher was die Jagd ein Vorrecht der begüterten Klasse.