German Army Map of Spain 1:50,000 (1940-1944)

Beginning in 1936, a newly-formed German military mapping agency produced a large number of topographic map series covering all parts of Europe at various scales, as well as much of northern Africa and the Middle East.

This organization started out as a back room department of the German Army General Staff, focused on military contingency mapping. But, given the murderous goals of the Nazi regime, it quickly morphed into something else, a military mapping agency which provided planning tools for the Nazi leadership to wage a war of conquest, marked by atrocities and unspeakable crimes.

Berkeley’s Earth Sciences and Map Library owns 20,000 German topographic sheet maps produced by the German Army General Staff’s mapping agency, the Directorate for War Maps and Surveying [= Abteilung für Kriegskarten- und Vermessungswesen]. The Berkeley Library obtained this historically significant collection by participating in the World War II Captured Maps depository program of the U.S. Army Map Service.

A presentation by Wolfgang Scharfe, a geography professor at the Free University of Berlin, at the International Cartographic Conference in Durban in 2003, sheds light on the history of these military map series published by the Directorate for War Maps and Surveying. Scharfe looked at one particular topographic map series covering Spain, published in 2 editions between 1940 and 1944, Spanien 1:50 000.

German military cartographers mapped Spain at different scales. The Nazis saw Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s fascist regime as an ally, but Franco wisely remained neutral during World War II. Initially, the German military mapping  of Spain can be seen as part of an effort to bring the Franco dictatorship into the Second World War as a German ally. One goal was the capture of the important British base at Gibraltar, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea.

Bay of Algeciras

The Bay of Gibraltar, also known as Gibraltar Bay and Bay of Algeciras, identified on the German sheet La Linea-Gibraltar as Bucht von Algeciras. It is located at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, near where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. The sheet is overprinted with the Spanish Lambert Grid, obtained by German military cartographers in an undercover intelligence operation.

The Berkeley Library set of the German Army Map of Spain 1:50,000 consists of 901 sheet maps, accompanied by 3 index maps. It includes two editions of many topographic sheets which cover specific areas of Spain. First Special edition [= Sonderausgabe] sheets were issued between 1940 and 1944, while the second Sonderausgabe sheets were chiefly issued in 1941.

The source map data for the German military maps came from a Spanish map series, the Mapa topográfico de España en escala de 1:50,000 issued by the Direccion general del Instituto Geográfico Catastral y de Estadı́stica.

Scharfe explains that map specialists of the Army Planning Chamber [= Heeresplankammer], the Berlin-based production platform of the Directorate for War Maps and Surveying, copied the Spanish map data. The first edition of this map series (895 published sheets) only contained the Spanish map data. The maps show drainage, roads and trails, railways, vegetation, and other physical and cultural features.

Sheets of the second edition (612 sheets), however, were overprinted with the Spanish Lambert Grid, a geodetic grid which would allow German troops to use the maps to accurately rain down middle and long-range artillery fire on precise locations.

Madrid sheet

Detail from the Madrid sheet of the German military topographic map series Spanien 1:50 000, published by a military German mapping agency, the German Army General Staff‘s Directorate for War Maps and Surveying.

The German military cartographers were able to acquire this secret Spanish military grid data for their own sheets, before that data even appeared on Spanish military maps. This was the result of a German undercover intelligence operation. German agents were able to draw on contacts established when the Nazis aided the fascist Franco dictatorship during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) by sending German troops to Spain, the so-called Legion Condor.

But the story does not end there: Scharfe relates that in 1943, irregular Spanish soldiers raided a German Army depot in Nazi-occupied southern France. They removed sheets of the German Army Map of Spain 1:50,000 with the secret Spanish military grid data. Spanish officials started an official inquiry which undoubtedly further undermined trust between the fascist Franco regime and the Nazis. Spanish diplomatic demands for explanations registered in Berlin proved unsuccessful.


Picks for Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month, a celebration of the strength and diversity of people with disabilities. Check out these picks of memoirs, fiction, and essays written by disabled writers .

Interested in memoirs? Don’t miss these:

Check out these novels featuring main characters with disabilities:

If you’re interested in essays and nonfiction works, try these:



Now available: Open educational resource of Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining

Last summer we hosted the Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining institute. We welcomed 32 digital humanities researchers and professionals to the weeklong virtual training, with the goal to empower them to confidently navigate law, policy, ethics, and risk within digital humanities text data mining (TDM) projects. Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining (Building LLTDM) was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Since the remote institute in June 2020, the participants and project team reconvened in February 2021 to discuss how participants had been thinking about, performing, or supporting TDM in their home institutions and projects with the law and policy literacies in mind.

To maximize the reach and impact of Building LLTDM, we have now published a comprehensive open educational resource (OER) of the contents of the institute. The OER covers copyright (both U.S. and international law), technological protection measures, privacy, and ethical considerations. It also helps other digital humanities professionals and researchers run their own similar institutes by describing in detail how we developed and delivered programming (including our pedagogical reflections and take-aways), and includes ideas for hosting shorter literacy teaching sessions. The resource (available as a web-book or in downloadable formats including PDF and EPUB) is in the public domain under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication, meaning it can be accessed, reused, and repurposed without restriction. 

In addition to the OER, we’ve also published a white paper that describes the institute’s origins and goals, project overview and activities, and reflections and possible follow-on actions. 

Thank you to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project team, institute participants, and staff at the UC Berkeley Library for making Building LLTDM a success.

[Note: this content is cross-posted on the LLTDM blog.]

 


2020/21 Art Practice & University Library Printmaking Award Winner: Ezra Sato

GALC Website

Ezra Sato is an Art Practice major at the University of California Berkeley. His visual and written work is often experimental and emerges from a desire to play— of wanting to entertain himself throughout the process and to engage with his prospective audience. While he has been drawing from a young age, he started taking it seriously as a practice in high school and has continually worked to maintain that skill.

Two of Ezra’s prints, I MET A GHOST WALKING BACK FROM THE FOG and (Cross-section), have been added to the Graphic Arts Loan Collection, and are available to students at UC Berkeley to borrow. Below are some thoughts on the prints from Ezra.

Ezra Sato print FOG                    Ezra Sato print Cross-section

I don’t know that I have much to say about these two prints beyond the fact that I enjoyed producing them and that I hope they can be similarly pleasurable to observe and sit with. The joy of making art, for me, is often in the revisions— when I’m able to hone in on some detail or apply a method that’ll make the image “complete.” Something that I love about the process is that there is a record of the image as it was being worked through in the form of test prints and prior editions. While those artifacts of the process are not available here, please consider what they might be and play around.

The Art Practice & University Library Printmaking Award is given to the undergraduate student in the Department of Art Practice who has demonstrated an astute understanding of printmaking techniques, as well as an advanced ability to express themselves through the medium of printmaking. This award was established in 2018 by the Department of Art Practice and the University Library, and is given to one or two students each academic year. 

GALC Website


Summer reading: The Fifth Season

Book cover for The Fifth SeasonThe Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin

In this first book of the Broken Earth trilogy, the world—which may be ours, or may be a different one—is in a constant state of tectonic upheaval. Cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are so regular that humanity has come to expect regular apocalypses, and plans accordingly. Stability, such as it is, is maintained by orogenes—people with the ability to manipulate the earth, who are reviled, feared, and enslaved for their powers. How everything got this way, and what it will cost to change it, is the subject of this incredible trilogy.

N.K. Jemisin shows us what is possible when the culture of speculative fiction breaks its self-defeating habit of focusing on stories written by, about, and for heterosexual white men. Suddenly, the genre is free to do what it is best at: questioning the assumptions with which we build our daily lives, and showing us what we can do to change them.

JESSE LOESBERG
Web Designer
University Library

This book is part of the 2021 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Read this book on Overdrive. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!


From the Oral History Center Director — July 2021

From the Oral History Center Director — July 2021

I recently had the pleasure of watching a new documentary film, The Sparks Brothers (2021), which details the solidly unconventional musical career of Ron and Russell Mael, lifetime stalwarts of the band Sparks. This film has everything one might want from a rock and roll documentary: rare footage of live performances, insightful commentary from artists influenced by the band (Beck, Bjork, Weird Al), and a narrative charting several artistic ups and downs. You might watch it and think that you caught an episode of “Behind the Music” (without the cliche visits to Betty Ford) or This is Spinal Tap (the new wave remix). But the thing about this film that really caught my attention — and got me thinking about our work at OHC — is how revealing and edifying a full life history can be (as is done with The Sparks Brothers as well as with many of our oral histories).

Album cover
Sparks in Outer Space, 1983

Growing up in California in the early 1980s, Sparks originally came to me as another hip, ironic, proudly nerdy Los Angeles new wave band. Surely the first song of theirs I heard was “Cool Places,” an absurdly upbeat synthpop song performed with and co-written by Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go’s. I saved my pennies and soon purchased the album (Sparks in Outer Space) and loved most every song. I followed their career through another few albums then, as teenagers do, moved on to other bands and sounds. To me Sparks remained in my memory as a genre-band — a very good one, but still one of a particular type. 

Watching this full-life documentary, however, upset my own memories of this band. It revealed parts of their lives (including telling moments of their childhood) that were unknown to me. It showcased their early years as a Zappa-like freak band, their move to England where they earned fans as glam-rockers, their burgeoning interest in synthesizers and ultimately their collaboration with synth-god Giorgio Moroder, and finally their return to Los Angeles and reincarnation as a new wave band. The film also details the years since the 1980s, which took the pair in even more esoteric musical directions while continuing to win new fans, garner critical accolades, and stage frankly amazing artistic achievements. After watching this video, I am now eager to dig deeper into their music and thus discover bits of pop music past that thus far had been hidden to me. New music need not emanate from this day and age after all. 

This is one of the reasons that I think the life history interviews we do at the Oral History Center are so incredibly valuable. When we conduct this type of oral history (ten hours or more with a single individual) we not only have the opportunity to ask the obvious questions (“tell me about the research that led to your Nobel Prize?” “What was it like to win at the Supreme Court?”), we are afforded the freedom to explore the lesser known aspects of a narrator’s life. With the additional hours of interviewing, we can document the narrator’s family background, upbringing, and education. We can detail early career moves that maybe didn’t amount to much but which taught crucial life lessons. We can document failures as well as successes. In my interview with Herb Donaldson, the first gay man appointed as a judge in California, I also learned about his side job as a coffee importer and roaster who gave key advice to a certain coffee shop getting started in Seattle (yes, Starbucks). With former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, I got a fascinating account of his establishing a new health system in rural Uganda. And in my in-progress interview with famed Newsweek and Vanity Fair reporter Maureen Orth, there’s a lengthy description of her two years in the Peace Corps. While perhaps not what these people are best known for, these “other projects” not only provide great insight into the individual but often offer useful insights into historical events. Sometimes you think you know the whole story, or at least the most important part of that story. But when you read — or conduct — life history interviews, you soon learn that all parts are important and those less regarded can be the most surprising. 

In this spirit of uncovering less known accomplishments, I want to pay tribute to Bancroft staff who recently retired. At the end of June we witnessed the departures of Bancroft Director Elaine Tennant (also a renowned scholar of German literature and culture), Deputy Director Peter Hanff (also a recognized expert in all things Wizard of Oz, which he detailed in his oral history), finance manager Meilin Huang (also the savior of the Oral History Center on many occasions), and photographic curator Jack von Euw (also an excellent curator of many Bancroft exhibits). We bid farewell to these four esteemed colleagues. We hope that retirement adds several new and interesting chapters to already very accomplished lives.

Find these and all our oral histories from the search feature on our home page. You can search by name, key word, and several other criteria.

Martin Meeker, Charles B. Faulhaber Director, Oral History Center


Read at Home: New in OverDrive for July

OverDrive is a UC Berkeley Library service for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks. You can access books online, download them to a device, or read them on an ereader such as Kindle. OverDrive is available to current UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. How it works: Simply log in with your CalNet ID, and you can start borrowing!

You can also download the Libby by OverDrive app to access OverDrive from your mobile device. For more information, visit the OverDrive help guide.

Check out some of July’s new arrivals here:



August 2021 OHC Book Club Pick: Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Anna Sale

Good news for all of you book club fans out there! The Oral History Center is pleased to announce the pick for our Summer 2021 Book Club: Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Death, Sex & Money podcast host, Anna Sale. Anna is also a podcast and audio instructor with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s Advanced Media Institute.

Book Cover

And there’s more! Anna Sale will be joining us for our virtual book club discussion! 

We’ll be welcoming Anna as our special guest on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 from 2-3pm PST via Zoom.

If you’d like to join, please send an RSVP to Shanna Farrell at sfarrell@library.berkeley.edu. Once you’ve RSVP’d, Shanna will send you the Zoom information.

You can find Let’s Talk About Hard Things online, at your local bookstore, and at your local library. We look forward to seeing you in August!