An In­dian in Dres­den

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

Search­ing for a hint or clue for that ob­ject of de­sire re­mained elu­sive for quite some­time. We searched end­lessly, for that which led to an In­dian 101 Scout of­fered for sale. Whilst on the 101 As­so­ci­a­tion’s Site, I read their ‘For Sale’ sec­tion, find­ing an in­com­plete ‘29 Scout project lo­cated in New Zealand.

On speak­ing with its owner, it was re­vealed that ne­go­ti­a­tions for its sale were in progress, but not com­plete. The ques­tion of in­ter­est arose, an of­fer was sub­mit­ted, due con­sid­er­a­tion was af­forded, only to be in­formed my of­fer had been re­fused in favour of an­other. Dis­ap­point­ment again raised its ugly head. I’m for­tu­nate to have my good wife Lisa on side, who shares equally my pas­sion and zest for bikes. This failed trans­ac­tion re­turned again and again to my thoughts. He­si­tantly, I made con­tact with the ven­dor, who re­mem­bered my in­ter­est in the bike he sold. I then said, if any prob­lem arose with the sale, I’d be still very in­ter­ested in its pur­chase, to which he as­tound­ingly replied, ‘I also have a re­stored In­dian Scout I’d like to sell, and have not yet set a price.’ Karma led me back to the ta­ble, for good cause.

Coin­ci­dently, it was es­tab­lished, we were both mem­bers of The 101 As­so­ci­a­tion, which helped form a bond be­tween us. A price was agreed on and the pur­chase made. Shortly af­ter pay­ment, an en­ve­lope ar­rived in Aus­tralia. On ac­cess­ing its con­tents, I found a com­pre­hen­sive dossier, re­lat­ing to the bike. In­ter­est­ingly, its dossier, at length, was not dis­cussed dur­ing its sale; an as­tound­ing one at that. It con­tained early pa­pers, per­tain­ing to the bike, by Her­bert Bal­dauf in the city of Dres­den, Ger­many, and was is­sued with Li­cence plate num­ber 11-18009 (11 be­ing Ro­man nu­meral for two). It con­tained the orig­i­nal In­dian Mo­tor­cy­cle Own­ers man­ual, in Ger­man text. There was also a typed pa­per, yel­lowed by age, the Ger­man Deal­ers ‘Schebler Carb’ oper­at­ing in­struc­tions, and on the bike’s tool­box, a cop­per plac­ard, stamped with the Ger­man Dealer ‘Karl Ap­pel’. The orig­i­nal owner, Her­bert Bal­dauf, pos­sessed the bike for 46 years in to­tal, us­ing it as a daily rider. It was his pri­mary busi­ness ve­hi­cle, with an at­tached Dust­ing Prospect Stan­dard Des­patch Model M side­car. His trade was the restora­tion of An­tique Light­ing, where one im­me­di­ately imag­ines those or­nate chan­de­liers grac­ing stately build­ings. Mr Bal­dauf’s busi­ness logo re­mains upon the Dust­ing’s side. A quick cal­cu­la­tion was made. The bike was in Dres­den, be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter WW2; ‘im­pos­si­ble’, I thought, most prop­erty was de­stroyed or looted.

I ex­am­ined the dealer’s plate again, and en­gine and VIN num­ber were stamped upon it, match­ing its cases and en­gine. There was more pa­per­work – more than ex­pected -and what sur­faced next was as­tound­ing. Ger­man reg­is­tra­tion pa­pers en­dorsed with Nazi Ger­man Swastikas em­bla­zoned clearly in ink, upon the aged yel­low cer­tifi­cates, which were stamped 1937 and 1953 re­spec­tively. It all matched, but why no en­dorse­ments for the in­be­tween years? It led me to sus­pect the bike may well of been con­cealed, as in times of con­flict it is quite com­mon for peo­ple to se­crete their prop­erty, for fear of it be­ing con­fis­cated for of­fi­cial use; a ‘war ef­fort’ so to speak. I imag­ined a base­ment area, with per­haps a false wall, or even a ce­ment tomb, with am­ple dry des­ic­cant; the mind bog­gled. His­tory shows that Dres­den, a town fa­mous for its cups, saucers and other pottery, was heav­ily bom­barded by Amer­i­can and Rus­sian al­lied forces. It may well be the bike’s place of se­cre­tion was one of few stor­ages not de­stroyed when Bri­tish bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs and the Amer­i­cans dropped 23,000 tons. The Ger­man sur­ren­der/ armistice saw much looting, but against these odds, it’s here to tell its story of War and Wall. Af­ter the armistice, set­tle­ment had it, Dres­den was lo­cated on the Rus­sian side of the Wall, as Ger­many was di­vided be­tween East and West, with ac­cess be­tween this di­vide pro­vided through ‘Check Point Char­lie.’ In 1977, some 46 years af­ter its pur­chase, ‘War and Wall’ was sold to its sec­ond owner, Ger­hard Ull­mann of Bautzen, a small town next to Dres­den, within the Com­mu­nist Rus­sian Red Zone. Ger­hard was a Tool­maker and avid vin­tage mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­ast, who set about with the bike’s cur­rent state of restora­tion in 1977. Mr Ull­mann even raced the bike at var­i­ous sports events. In 1989, the wall came crash­ing down, and en­abled the re­u­ni­fi­ca­tion of East and West. Sta­tioned on the Rus­sian side of the wall, in­ter­est­ingly enough, was a young aspir­ing KGB agent, Vladamir Putin, an avid gath­erer of in­tel­li­gence. It may well be why the doc­u­men­ta­tion shows no en­dorse­ments, be­tween 1937 and 1953. The mind bog­gles, as these were un­doubt­edly trou­bled times, en­veloped by much un­cer­tainty, con­fu­sion, law­less­ness and dis­dain. Cau­tion at all cost was im­per­a­tive and pre­vailed, where in­deed, the safe­guard of one’s bike was paramount, even by con­ceal­ment!

Orig­i­nal dealer’s plate.

The trades­man’s combo.

Cheer up, you’re free now!

LEFT Orig­i­nal Ger­man lan­guage hand­book. BE­LOW 1937 reg­is­tra­tion cer­tifi­cate. BE­LOW RIGHT 1953 doc­u­ments.

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