Ostheim mobels out and uniforms in – that’s what happened in manfred greck’s house in fliederweg in ostheim in 1986. Living room, dining room, bedroom and eventually the hallway became a museum. Even the basement and the garage were not spared from the collector’s passion of the man from ostheim. Today, manfred greck is, as he says with a smile, "getting on in years". Age and health force him to slowly empty his museum house.
Over the years, greck has collected 360 exhibits, mainly uniforms – not counting the numerous pictures and documents. "My collection is unique in germany and should come into good hands", he says. His goal is to find interested parties in rhon and grabfeld who will take over his collection.
Thuringian grabfeld was also ideal from his point of view. A town on the former german-german border, for example romhild, was also worth considering, as was bad konigshofen, where the museum for border gangers has been established since 2006.
Landlords in the armed forces
Greck’s passion for collecting began in 1985. At the time, he and his wife inge were landlords in the army canteen in wildflecken. From time to time, uniform pieces were left lying around unclaimed. "We’ll keep them for a while, you never know how you can use something like that", said the grecks. At that time, no one could have imagined that the collection would one day become such an impressive collection. First uniforms came from french, english and american troops. Naturally also from the bundeswehr. The troop training area wildflecken was a training area for the nato.
One special item is the so-called "affenjackle" (monkey jacket), which is what soldiers once called the service jacket of the german armed forces, says the collector from ostheim. One uniform after the other was added, and room after room in the greck house became a museum.
New collection area
With the opening of the inner german border, manfred greck had discovered a new collecting area. Today, therefore, he has not only uniforms from all over the world, but also numerous exhibits from the army stocks of the NVA, the former german democratic republic. A small field cake with crockery and cutlery belongs to it.
Opposite in the corner is a portable toilet. Manfred greck: "in the old days you went into the woods with a spade, today you have something like this with you." Field beds, equipment and many other things are in view.
Even earlier radio with solar power
Then manfred greck reaches into the uniform jacket of an american soldier and has a small black radio in his hand. Crank it several times, and the device is working.
"Look, this was already possible with solar", laughs manfred greck and points to the solar cells on the back of the device. Such devices were dropped by american troops in war zones to inform the population. The tour of the uniform house in ostheim is above all a journey back in time to the "cold war".
If you turn into fliederweg in ostheim, you can see the german flag flying on the mast from far away. There is a guard house underneath. A soldier’s dummy with a scissors telescope sits at the entrance to the house.
Instead of a bell, a field telephone
You can’t find a doorbell, but you can find a field phone. After the cranking, manfred greck at the other end of the line is happy about the visit. In the former living room there are uniforms from GDR times, in between an original black-red-gold border post, as it once stood at the german-german border, a piece of border fence and signs "caution border".
In the next room again uniforms and military insignia. "This is the former "dining room, laughs manfred greck. It shows service medals from england, belgium, slovenia, the bahamas, greece, russia and the federal armed forces. Over each uniform hangs the respective letter of the embassy that sent the uniforms – free of charge, he notes.
The family home is equipped with uniforms up to the roof. Private space, such as a living room, bedroom or study, no longer exists. This was also the case in the former bedroom. There is only the bed. Manfred greck answers the question about his private utensils with a reference to the locker behind the uniforms. "They are on wheels and can be pushed away so that I can get to my things." On the tour of the house, there are medals, certificates, scrolls and awards.
About 900 guests last year
The number of visitors shows how popular the private museum is: about 900 guests visited last year. But the ostheimer is also flexible and, if requested, on the road with an NVA vehicle. "Soldiers used to use them on the column route, now i do my tours from time to time." What is to become of all these exhibits? Manfred greck doesn’t know it yet, but he is sure that someone will find someone to take over this extraordinary collection.