The Heritage Society presents A View from the Trenches: The Oberwetter World War I Collection. On view February 21 – April 28 in The Heritage Society Museum Gallery.
Images of war are powerful: buildings crumbling, bridges blown to pieces, roads destroyed, and the men in uniform marching through it with their weapons of war and destruction.
These are the images photographed by a Texas man fighting in France during World War I. A soldier with the 23rd Engineers, Austin Oberwetter used his camera to capture his experience. Oberwetter not only shows us destruction, but also the faces of the soldiers and the conditions they had to endure. His collection of photographs is totally unique, and at the same time, very familiar to those who study the history of World War I.
Each picture tells a story. Not just because Oberwetter wrote a caption for many of them, but because the images are powerful and realistic depictions of a war that occurred one hundred years ago.
Just over 116,000 American military personnel died during World War 1 from a variety of causes, including influenza, combat and wounds. But men like Austin Oberwetter survived, making a life for himself and his family in Houston. And now his collection of photographs lives on in an exhibition which presents the soldier’s view of World War I.