Family identifies German WWII photos found in Muskegon

Posted at 9:02 PM, Mar 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-12 22:29:58-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. -- After a woman found a couple of old photos inside a suitcase she bought at a thrift store in Muskegon, finally someone has come forward saying the pictures belong to them.

It turns out the family that the photos belong to are immigrants from Germany.

The family said that they don't have too many old photos left, so they are extremely grateful to have them back.

Herbert Christensen, 70, said that he was just 11-years-old when his family moved from a post World War II Germany to Muskegon, and those photographs are some of the only keep-sakes he had of his relatives overseas.

"They said, 'Herb have you seen Fox 17 has a article on a lady that found some pictures in a blue suitcase,'" said Christensen.

Fox 17 first showed you these mystery photographs found inside a donated suitcase purchased at the Muskegon Rescue Mission Thrift Store last month. The woman who bought it called up Fox 17, hoping to find the owners.

Christensen saw the story, and realized he must have left the photos in the piece of luggage. He said that this must have happened after cleaning out his mother's belongings, after she passed away last year.

"That the pictures were in that side pocket, which I didn't know was in the suitcase. I thought I cleaned it all out because the suitcase was full of pictures, and I took them all out. I thought I did," said Christensen.

Christensen, who was born in Germany, said that the pictures are of his grandmother and grandfather.

Family keep-sakes are hard to come by for Christensen, who moved to the United States in the mid 1950's after his family wanted to escape the damage left behind from World War II in his native Germany.

"A lot of playgrounds, everything was in ruins you know. Most of the buildings were, it was bad," said Christensen. "Everybody wants to come to America. That's the way it was.

Christensen's father also fought for Germany in World War II, and was killed in the line of duty just before the war came to a close.

As a proud Vietnam veteran himself, Christensen said that he's thankful that the woman who found the photographs took it upon herself to find who they belonged to, helping him remember his Germany heritage.

"There aren't too many pictures, so definitely want this picture and that soldier," said Christensen.

Christensen plans to get the photos back within the next few days.