Poplar Bluff Veterans Museum seeks information on German soldier's keepsakes

Butler County museum mystery
Published: Jun. 7, 2016 at 5:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2016 at 10:24 PM CDT
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Hoff is from Chodov in the Soklov District of what is now The Czech Republic. (Source: Sherae...
Hoff is from Chodov in the Soklov District of what is now The Czech Republic. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A German soldier's keepsakes found in a Poplar Bluff museum.

Now, the curator is asking for the community's help.

The goal - to get these items back to his family.

The curator at The Poplar Bluff Veterans Museum says it's been an eight year mystery.

Who is Earnst Hoff, what happened to him, and where is his family now?

"It took a veteran to snoop through and say, 'Hey! This is important,' said museum curator Mike Shane.

Mike Shane joined the Poplar Bluff Veterans Museum eight years ago, and while going through some boxes he found a surprise.

Herbert Larsen was a paratrooper in WWII, and in a box of donated items Shane found something that Larsen was holding onto.

"Amongst his personal effects was these letters."

Letters and pictures belonging to who he knows as Earnst Hoff.

His goal is to get these mementos back to Hoff's decedents.

Hoff is from Chodov in the Soklov District of what is now The Czech Republic.

"He wasn't a card carrying Nazi. You had no choice back then," Shane said.

The letters are from his wife Helena and his mother.

"For you, my dear Earnst, as an eternal souvenir from your Helena," a note said.

Hoff had a young son as well, Peter.

Shane worked for years to find a translator, and was able to find someone just two months ago.

The letters are far from political.

The talk about his missing brother Albert, in the Luftwaffe.

They mostly talked about the cows and the pigs.

Describing the seasons of his town changing.

A town about as big as Poplar Bluff.

"We got a lot of sweetheart pictures," Shane said.

Shane wants to know how the men connected overseas... and what became of Hoff.

"What did happen to our little German there. Did he survive? Did he go home? Was he P.O.W.?" Shane said.

That's what Shane calls him 'his little German soldier.'

He says - he wants to reconnect the keepsakes with any family he can.

"If somebody had Grandpa's pictures, you know, from Korea or Germany, I think they would appreciate seeing them again too," said Shane

Shane has tried to contact The Czech Embassy, but has not received a response.

If you are related to Herbert Larsen or have any information on Earnst Hoff get in touch on Facebook.

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