WWII Emergency Tools
Bowl + Lid
Ribbed Bowl 1
Ribbed Bowl 2
Ribbed Bows 3
Chess Board + Pieces
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
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
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 -
Apprenticeship Training Book
Apprenticeship Completion Dokument
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