An important acquisition consisting of a collection of personal effects of a German Bomber Pilot who took part in the First and Second German Blitz over Malta in 1942 while based in Sicily has been made by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna.
The importance of this acquisition stems from the fact that it is varied and complete and belonged to one of the enemy raiders from one of the elite units which were used against Malta during World War Two, the Kampfgeschwader 54 “Totenkopf”. The collection consist of clothing, orders and medals, flying equipment, personal records and other effects used in the course of action against the island by Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Hans Hassemer.
Of note there are a number of photographs contained in a photography album that show one of the squadron planes flying over the silhouetted islands, others showing damage sustained by the island’s defences and others show parts of the coast and terrain as they appeared from one of the aircraft during a bombing raid.
Hans Hassemer was awarded the Iron Crosses First and Second Class, the Luftwaffe Honor Goblet, the Eastern Front Medal, all three Bomber Front Flying Clasps in bronze, silver and gold and the wound badge. He was killed on the 10th of May 1943 and lies buried at Motta Sant’Anastasia, Catania.
This acquisition was made possible through a generous contribution made to FWA by the The Alfred Mizzi Foundation. The collection is being placed on permanent display at the Lascaris War Rooms as part of the interpretation about the air war in Malta during the period 1940 – 42.
The Lascaris War Rooms itself is a massive underground space excavated by the British during the war to offer additional accommodation space for the personnel who worked in the nearby underground War HQ that runs under the Upper Barracca Gardens in Valletta. Late in 1942 it started being converted into a full-blown modern War Headquarters from where the last stages of the air war over Malta were fought and the invasion of Sicily was direct between 9th July and 17th August 1943. FWA is currently working on a large-scale exhibition on the latter to mark its 75th anniversary. This is to be located within the Lascaris War Rooms and is to be completed this year.
The presentation was made by Christopher Briffa, Trustee of The Alfred Mizzi Foundation to Mario Farrugia, representing Fundazzjoni Wirt Artna.