German Personal Experiences: Unidentified Boy (late 1940s- )

Figure 1.--Here we see an unidentified German boy on a wonderful wooden scooter. He wears a plaid shirt with a Pterer Pan collar and Lederhosen. Note the tassles on his kneesocks. I think that means that mother or grandmother knitted them. He wears "T-bar" sandals. This is a style that was most common in England, but we see them being woirn in Europe as well. The photograph is undated, but we would guess it was taken after World War II in the late 1940s.

Here we have a charming German family snapshot. The photograph not only shows clothing trends, but a wonderful wooden scooter the boy is riding. Here we have no actual information on a German boy. There are so many interesting aspects to this snapshot that we have added this boy to our personal experiences page. The boy is riding a great wooden scooter. He wears dark Lederhosen with a haltar. We believe that the photograph was taken in the late 40s, in part because wearing plaid shirts with Lederhosen was not common before and during World War II. We note he is wearing hime knitted kneesocks with decorative tassles.

The Boy

This German boy is unidentified. All we know about him is what can we seen in the photograph. He looks to be about 7-years old. We would guess that he has begun school. He looks to be playing around his home. Note the very substantial house in the background. This and the fact that he is smartly dressed suggests to us that he came from a well-to-do family. Note that he is wearing Lederhosen with a halter. This suggests to us that the boy is from Bavaria. Ledehosen were not unknown in the rest of Germany, but they were mich more common in Bavaria than any where else in Germany. The wonderful scooter also suggests affluence.

Plaid Shirt

Plaid shirts were not common in Germany until after the War. They became a popular shirt to wear with Lederhosen during the Allied World War II occupation. This was in part because Bavaria was in the American occupation zone and American soldiers often wore colored shirts when off duty. By the 1950s it was very common to see Lederhosen being worn with these plaid or checked shorts (often red). You also see them in the mail order catalogs.


Lederhosen were a pants style commonly worn in Alpine areas, especially Bavaria and Austria. As the NAZIS promoted folk culture the popularity of Lederhosen began to spread in other areas of Germany. It was during the Allied World War II occupation that Lederhosen began to be more commonly worn outside of Bavaria. I'm not precisely sure why this was. I wonder if the Heimat films that became popular after the War were a factor. Lederhosen were very popular in Germany during the 1950s, but began to decline in popularity as jeans became increasingly worn for leisure wear.

Closed Toe Sandals

I am not sure in which country they first appeared or just who was responsible. As they appear to have been most popular in England, they may have been developed there. Sandals for school were so common that they were called school sandals in England. They were also popular for play and casual wear until sneakers became more accepted in the 1970s. The wearing of sandals, including closed-toe sandals has varied considerably from country to country. We note them worn in many European countries, although they were not the dominant footwar style. We note a Czech boy wearing single-bar sandals or trap shoes at school in 1922, Most of his school mates are barefoot or wear heavy boot-like shoes. This includes such factors as style and color of sandal as well as age and gender of children wearing them. In some countries they were worn by both boys and girls, although styles and color could vary. In other countries they were more commonly worn by girls and some younger boys. We do not note boys commonly wearing closed-toe sandals in America after World War I. Here there are few exceptions, such as a dancing class in Chicago. There are also differences within countries. Sandals have been, for example, more commonly worn in the American South than the rest of the country. Climatic factors probably explain this.


Note the tassels on the boy's kneesocks. We suspect this means that they were hand knitted. A reader writes, "I can't recall seeing German boys wearing tassels on their kneesocks like the boy here. As a teenager I traveled in Austria and Germany during the 1950s. I think the boy's mother must have knitted them to give an elegant touch." HBC has seen kneesocks like this before, mostly in the 1940s and 50s. A British reader writes, "Could these tassels be attached not to the socks but to a "tie" - strips of cloth used to keep the socks up before elastic garters were common (or maybe due to a shortage of elastic postwar?)." HBC would say that the fashion look was the primary factor here, but we do not know if the were part of a garter to hold up the socks. We suspect that holding up home-knitted socks were a special problem. These knee socks with tassles do not seem to have been very common. We have noted these tassels being added to other garments such as blouses, jackets, and sweaters--primarily for youngr boys. We have also noted this in other countries.


I recall scooters when I was growing up in America during the 1940s. I never remember, however, a wooden scooter. A German reader a little older writes, "This is really a very nice photograph. I myself had such a scooter in the late 40s after Wprld War II. Do you know what the little wooden arrow at the vertical stub is for? There was a little knob behind to switch it horicontally, to the right or to the left, when the driver wants to go in a right or left curve. Early training for correct driving!" We do not yet have a scooter page, but we have some information on the vehicle page and plan to create a scooter page soon.


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Created: 10:38 PM 4/28/2005
Last updated: 8:14 PM 9/24/2009