Friedrich Paul Vater

Friedrich Paul Vater / 1909 - 2000

Discovery of the Unknown Artist

Wood Carving Jewels

Lumberjack Tool

Common Mallard

Miracle Block

Earth Toad

Tricky Vagrant

Beauty Queen

Hunting Virgin

Greek Philosopher

Street Musicians

Bass Player

Singing Entertainer

WWII Emergency Tools

Miracle Chain

Decorated Bowl

Multiple Game

Bowl + Lid

Ribbed Bowl 1

Ribbed Bowl 2

Ribbed Bows 3

Chess Board + Pieces

Ram Heads

Table Clock

Desk Lamp

Maitreya Buddha

Friedrich Paul Vater was born on April 6th, 1909 as the son of a miner and his wife in the German village of Ziegelrode, nowadays Ahlstorf, in the municipality of Mansfeld-Suedharz in Saxony-Anhalt. 

There, he attended for eight years the local village school where one teacher did his best to educate in one classroom about ten students aged six to fourteen. 

His mother died early from cancer and his father moved with his second wife, his son and two daughters to Hamburg, where he worked as a common worker - until his retirement - in different companies of the local oil and gas industry. 

Friedrich Paul did not have choices for a higher education and took the chance to become an apprentice at a wood carving master. There he studied enthusiastically for more than three years (April 1923 – October 1926) and added a fourth year as apprentice of another wood carving master (October 1926 – October 1927). He passed all tests and examinations with top grades. But due to the kind of industry, the upcoming inflation, and the global economic crisis that ended the Golden Twenties, he was not able to find any job in his wood carving profession. 

So, he decided to learn another profession, expecting better job opportunities, and became a bricklayer. But after finishing this education in October 1930, the global economic situation was not better, and he remained jobless - not able to generate even a tiny income. 

But he did not give up and started a third professional education at one of Hamburg’s Technical City Universities to become a civil engineer. There he took his final examination on March 1st, 1937 and managed to get employed as a civil servant at Germany’s state railway association (Deutsche Reichsbahn, later Deutsche Bundesbahn, nowadays Deutsche Bahn) on September 1st, 1937. There he stayed and worked life-long to his retirement - on June 1st, 1971 - as a technical officer, responsible for parts of Germany’s railroad track-safety and track-performance system. 

In 1940, he was called up by the German army to help as a railroad engineer, keeping the troop's supply chains going. He returned only in 1948 from Russia, where he had been held as a prisoner of war, and where he had started to carve first chess pieces using his "Pocket WWII Emergency Tools".

He never abandoned his love for wood carving and continued to aim for highest ambitions. He spent nearly every evening, every weekend, and most of his holidays, developing new ideas, designs, skills, and completing new works. Everything he did was handcrafted, and he never used any kind of supportive electrical device. 

This website presents Friedrich Paul Vater’s complete wood carving work, displaying 24 pieces. In addition to wood carving, he was a great, enthusiastic photographer of nature and environment. He married in 1939 and had one son (Fritz Paul Vater), born in 1940. During his whole lifetime, he never gave away or sold any of his works.

In his late days, he suffered heavily from a stroke which hit on December 23rd, 1986, which partially paralyzed him, and from which he never recovered. He finally passed away on March 27th, 2000. Fulfilling his wish, his urn was solemnly bedded to eternal rest - under the astonished eyes of hundreds of seals - resting in the bright sunshine - on a near sandbank - above the incoming tide - south of the island of Sylt - to the North Sea’s floor. 

" G E S E L L E N S T Ü C K "

I v y - L e a f   B o w l

- 1 9 2 7 -

Birth Certificate

Death Certificate

Apprenticeship Training Book

Apprenticeship Completion Dokument

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