Note on reverse : "Stefan Schmalz".
Studio portrait of Landsturmmann Schmalz wearing a heavy, woollen Petzmantel or overcoat.
These items were distributed in limited numbers to areas of the front with colder climates. No regulations existed until 1918 to describe the cut and design of these coats, so a wide variation of patterns can be seen in period photographs. The coat was large enough to be worn over the regular greatcoat and would cover the wearer's accoutrements.
In July 1807, following the Treaty of Tilsit, Brzeziny was transferred to the Duchy of Warsaw and after June 1815, became part of the Russian Congress Poland to 1916.
During World War I, Austrian and German armies were very active in the region. The Prussian General Karl Litzmann won an important battle here against the Russian army and earned the nickname "the lion of Brzeziny". From November 1916, with Poland mostly occupied by Austrian and German arms, the autonomous Regency Kingdom of Poland (Królestwo Regencyjne) governed the area until the declaration of the Second Polish Republic in 1918.