Q: I bought this plate at a house sale. It says “Deutschwehr Basar, 1916,” the initials “I.M.,” and an MZ Austria mark on the back. It’s believed to have been sent to the German American Society before the United States got involved in World War I, to be sold at auction and the money raised used to help Germans back home in the war effort. It would have come from a wealthy family.
A: The eagle on this plate is similar to the Imperial Eagle used on the coat-of-arms used by the German ruler. The words “Deutschwehr Basar” translate as “German Military Bazaar.” The Deutschwehr was a charitable organization started by German-Americans to help widows and orphans of German and Austrian-Hungarian soldiers during World War I. The Philadelphia Deutschwehr and the Hilfsfond (Relief Fund) organized a bazaar to raise funds for the relief of “the widows, orphans and Red Cross of the Central Powers of Europe” in 1916. It was held in Convention Hall in Philadelphia from April 24 to May 1, 1916. The United States entered the war a year later. The Central Powers included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire.