ALBUM FOR JOSEPH - A pictorial chronology of his life from 1927-1977

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00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 06.01
I had the good intention of starting this project in time for the 80th birthday, but then, any time is a good time. It is an attempt to present chronologically what pictures we have available on Joseph Ratzinger from the time he was born to the time he is named a cardinal in 1977. I use the cut-off simply because there are thousands of pictures of him as cardinal and we have barely scratched the surface ,so that's not as manageable as the more finite number of pictures before then.

However, please continue to post your contributions in our regular photo threads, and let me worry about re-posting them here, because I can go back any time to put or insert a picture in the right chronological order.

I will attempt to present a chronological account in pictures of Benedict XVI's life until the time he becomes
a cardinal in 1977. But let us start with what we know of his parents.


Last September, before the Pope visited Bavaria, the German newspaper BILD came out with the story that
Joseph Ratzinger, then a middle-aged policeman, had advertised in a Catholic magazine for a bride (see ad, right).

The newspaper also published these pictures
of Papino's parents in their youth:
Papa at age 20, and Mama's earliest known
picture, undated

The following pictures are from an article that Palma found, which tells
the history of the house where Joseph's mother was born on January 8, 1884,
and what it looks like today.
Maria's mother, also named Maria Peintner, apparently conceived
her out of wedlock, and she came from her town in Val Pusteria
in the southern Tyrol to Muehlbach in Bavaria, where the owner
of this house gave shelter to unwed mothers until they delivered.
The article also says the senior Maria Peintner had been born
out of wedlock herself.

A family picture of the Peintner-Riegers, and Maria, who would become
the future Pope's mother, is identified as the lady seated on the right.

It appears from a reconstruction done by a local researcher last year,
that Maria Peintner came to Rimsting as a 6-year-old but by now her mother
had married a baker named Rieger, with whom she had five more daughters
who were all born in Rimsting. It is not clear, but Rieger may have been
Maria's father as well, because the book refers to him as the 'Pope's
grandfather' who was apparently religious enough that he campaigned
successfully for Rimting to become a parish which it became in March 1906,
101 years ago.

I will post a summarized translation of the rest of the text from Palma,
as it consists of two articles related to the Pope's mother -
one about Muehlbach, the other about Rimting - and a third one
about his father, which is equally sketchy.

This is an undated picture of Joseph Ratzinger Sr.

The brief information provided comes from the city archives of Munich.
He was born in Passau in 1877 and apparently joined the local police force
in Passau in 1899. Then at age 25, he joined the Royal Bavarian Gendarmerie
Corps, which he served for the next 35 years.

During that time, he was assigned to 14 different posts, and it seems that
this was a practice followed in order to prevent the police officers
from establishing relations with special interests in the places where
they served.

Some of his assignments are mentioned: On July 1, 1911, he was transferred
from Koenigsee to Aibling; in 1915, he was sent to Ostermuenchen, then
Kolbermoor where he was promoted to deputy police chief (or its equivalent).
Next he was assigned to Soechtenau, where he served three months until
he was moved to Sauerlach which is now part of Munich.

Joseph Ratzinger's file contains a letter of permission from the Gendarmerie
Main Station in Altoetting dated October 29, 1920, granting Ratzinger
the "authorization to marry" his fiance Maria Rieger. They were married in
Pleiskirchen om November 9, 1920.

From the Mass card commemorating her death, we know Maria, their first
child, was born in Pleiskirchen. I do not recall reading anywhere were
Georg was born, certainly not in Marktl.

And this is as far as we have of our Joseph Ratzinger's pre-history.
I shall add and update to it as we get more information.

Just for orientation:


00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 08.01



Today was auspicious day because Ratzigirl came upon two pictures
from the exhibit on the Pope's life at his 'birth house' in
, though they are watermarked here.

This was the picture we all thought might be baby Joseph,
but the caption that comes with it says: Midwife Emilie
Schneidemeier, who, among other babies, also helped deliver
Pope Benedict.

The caption on the second picture says: "Photo in the Geburtszimmer [birth-room]
in 1929: Joseph Ratzinger is held by the hand by his sister Maria and brother Georg."

Above is a 'clean' version of the picture subsequently captured by Benevolens from the RAI video.

What beautiful children! Their Mom also obviously took great pains with her children's clothes.
Look at Maria's dress (and her necklace with a locket), and the bow collars on the two boys, and
tiny Pepperl's jacket that couldn't have been bought at a store but specially tailored for him!

RAI-1 obligingly cropped and enlarged Pepperl for posterity.
If he's not the baby with midwife Emlie in the picture,
then this is the earliest picture we have of Pepperl so far!

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 08.33
Make my Day!!!!!!
You just made my day, Teresa!!!! I've been pondering a lot lately about whether or not there are any photos of Papa as a small baby - and so have Nan, Clare and Bood!!!!!! We were all convinced that there must be at least one!
And now we have it!
Mille, mille grazie! Danke tausendmal!!!!!!

Mary x [SM=g27811]
The article, which appeared while I was sitting here, fills us in with more details, for which I'd been hoping.
In the family photo of the Peintner-Riegers I'm confused as to who is who. Is the Maria on the right, seated, Papa's mother or his grandmother? Plus, if there were five more daughters when Maria Peintner Senior married Herr Rieger- who is the boy and who is the young man?
Papa and his brother used to spend holidays in the Pustertal [Val Pusteria] didn't they? Because it was the original home of their mother?
I'm really getting more interested than ever in this and I hope that more details come to light.
Thanks very much indeed to Palma and Teresa!
Mary x [SM=g27811]

[Modificato da maryjos 27/04/2007 12.25]


The Maria seated on the right is the Pope's mother; she would have been the oldest of the sisters. Unfortunately, there is no information as to the men and boy shown in the pic...And Yes, the brothers (and Maria before she died) obviously summered often in the South Tyrol region (including Bressanone) because of the maternal link. TERESA

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2007 20.42]

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 10.59
Teresa, this is a great thread!
A big thank you to U for ur tireless effort!


My pleasure, SingaporeConvert! TERESA

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2007 20.39]

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 14.21

You just made my day, Teresa!!!!

[SM=x40792] [SM=x40792] [SM=x40792] [SM=x40792] [SM=x40792] [SM=x40792] [SM=x40792] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] indeed you have made my day too! Thank you Teresa!!!

Nan, you can imagine what it was like to come upon Ratzigirl's post last night. Speaking of 'making my day'! Now we know these two pix come from teh Marktl exhibit, who knows what other treasures we can look forward to??? TERESA

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2007 20.38]

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 19.12
Thanks for posting this thread Teresa! [SM=g27811]


Ellen, it's a great pleasure doing it, obviously, and your banner A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN expresses what Papino is for all of us, and anything we do for him. TERESA

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2007 20.27]

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 20.00

What an adorable looking little baby!

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 21.06
I am so sorry
I find the photo on the kna-bild file.
I am so sorry but the woman in the photo is not his mother and probably the baby is not him.


Maria , Joseph and Georg in 1929


[Modificato da =Palma= 27/04/2007 21.16]


The caption reads:
Midwife Emilie Schneidemeier, who,among others, also helped deliver Pope Benedict.

Thanks for the precise information!

The caption on the second picture says:
"Photo in the Geburtszimmer [birth-room] in 1929:
Joseph Ratzinger is held by the hand his sister Maria
and brother Georg."

I shall go in and make the changes in the original post.

THANKS A LOT, PALMA. If you can find other pictures from the Marktl exhibit, please post them with the captions as you did this one.


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/04/2007 21.41]

THANKS AGAIN, PALMA, for the new pictures below.
I have typed in the caption translations.


Pictures from the Marktl exhibit:

2 Mass cruets on their matching salver -
used by Georg and Joseph Ratzinger
when they played 'priest' as children

Chaplain Josef Stangl, who baptized Joseph Alois Ratzinger
at the church of St. Oswald on April 16, 1927, at 8:30 a.m.

Display panel from Marktl Geburtshaus exhibit.
I am happy to say we seem to have all the pictures
seen on the panel, including the portraits of the parents
when they were older (I will post these at the right chronological time.

Enlargement from the family photograph in the post below,
I have already re-posted this beside the 'original.'


[Modificato da =Palma= 28/04/2007 7.30]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 28/04/2007 21.44]

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 21.30
Beatrice took the picture of the house where the Ratzingers lived in Titmoning (it is
a bank now), and the marker which says "In this house lived - from July 1929 to
December 1932 - Joseph Ratzinger, since April 19, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI."
Right, the church in Titmoning.

"With an architecture heavily marked by the Salzburg style,
Tittmoning remains my childhood's land of dreams...
The police station - and hence our living quarters -
occupied the most beautiful house on the town square...
It is true that the beauty of the facades concealed
living spaces with little comfort to speak of...
Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones

Left, Tittmoning today; right, a 1767 representation.

His nursery class picture in Titmoning.
Pepperl would have been 3 years old, going on 4.
These pictures came out in Der Spiegel.


Another videocap from RAI by Benevolens.
Hard to know if it was later than the above
nursery school pix or around the same time,
so I will stick it here until we know better.

The photo below was labelled "The Ratzinger
siblings - Maria, Georg and Joseph - taken in
the year 1930", around the same time as the
picture above. One of the pictures exhibited
Incredibly, the larger version of the photo,
which RAI-1 used later, was taken on the same
occasion but is obviously a different snap!
Again, RAI obligingly gives us a Pepperl crop.



[IMG] [/IMG] [IMG][/IMG]

Joseph Alois Ratzinger, 1931. Maklara gave us the enlargement from the small clipping on the right which reads:
"Joseph Alois Ratzinger (in circle) was four years old in this 1931 family picture. His father (second from right)
was a police officer. His mother is standing next left to her husband. His sister, who was 9 at the time, also
named Maria like her grandmother and mother, is the girl in the light-colored dress, and the boy seated on the left
is brother Georg. The photo was first published in the book 'Poetisch und herzensgut' published by researcher
Johann Nussbaum." [who did the research cited in the earlier post about the house in Muehlbach].


And as luck would have it, Palma just found this enlargement of Mama and Papa Ratzinger
from the group picture, on the ZDF site.

"Father decided, toward the end of 1932, to change locations once more.
In Tittmoning, he had smiply said too much against the brownshirts
From Milestones

00venerdì 27 aprile 2007 21.57
Awwwwwww, such a cute little boy!!! [SM=g27821] [SM=g27821] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800]

Don't worry, there must be a pic of baby Joseph out there somewhere! [SM=g27811]
00sabato 28 aprile 2007 07.54
I was SO excited - it's not FAIR!!!!!
I was sure it was him as a baby. I guessed the lady was the midwife because of her uniform, but I really thought it was him.
However, take heart!!!!! Either we shall find out it really IS him or somewhere, someone WILL find a pic of him as a baby. Surely Big Georg has at least one!!!!
We won't give up!

00sabato 28 aprile 2007 20.43
What a brilliant idea this thread is - thanks ever so, Teresa! [SM=x40800]

Someone will eventually unearth a photo of baby Joseph no doubt...
00sabato 28 aprile 2007 23.45
ASCHAU-AM-INN, 1932-1937

Hauptstraße 21 in Aschau a. Inn. Hier lebte Joseph Ratzinger mit seiner Familie
in der Zeit von 1932 bis 1937

#21 Main Street in Aschau am Inn. Joseph Ratzinger lived here
with his family from 1932-1937.

"In December, shortly before Christmas, we moved into our new home in
Aschau am Inn, a well-to-do agricultural village consisting of large imposing
farms. Mother was pleasantly surprised by the lovely living quarters
assigned to us. A farmer had built a country house that was modern by
the standards of those days and rented it to the rural police. We were
assigned the second story, and there we found all the makings of a cozy home..."

From Milestones

Schulweg von Joseph Ratzinger in Aschau a. Inn, Schmiedweg,
hier Niedermaier-Kinder vom Schmiedweg mit Lehrerin Frl. Dobler

Joseph Ratzinger's path to school along Smith's Way.
Shown are Niedermaier children with their teacher Miss Dobler.

Altes Schulhaus in Aschau a. Inn, hier ging Joseph Ratzinger von 1933–1937 zur Schule .
Old schoolhouse in Aschau. Joseph Ratzinger went to school here from 1933-1937.

Im Klassenzimmer in der Volksschule Aschau a. Inn mit Lehrerin Fräulein Fahmüller;
Joseph Ratzinger - Ausschnitt aus einem Klassenfoto während seiner Schulzeit in Aschau a. Inn

Classroom in the Aschau public school with teacher Miss Fahmueller;
right, Joseph Ratzinger- cropped from the classroom photo.

Klassenfoto in der Aschauer Volksschule mit Lehrer Joseph Fersch.
Joseph Ratzinger sitzt in der 1. Reihe, 2. Bub von links

Class photo in Aschau public school with teacher Joseph Fersch.
Joseph Ratzinger is seated in the first row, second boy from the left.

Does anyone have a date for this most famous of child pictures?
I think it was before his First Communion so I'm putting it
here, provisionally.

Aschauer Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt -
hier feierte Joseph Ratzinger seine Hl. Erstkommunion am 15.03.1936

Aschau parish church of Mary's Assumption.
Joseph Ratzinger had his First Communion here on March 15, 1936.

Joseph Ratzinger - Erstkommunion in Aschau a. Inn (erste Reihe, Sechster von links)
Joseph Ratzinger - First communion (first row, sixth from left)

Schulklasse mit Joseph Ratzinger,
2. Reihe, 3. Kind von links mit Lehrer Franz Bernböck

Class photo with Joseph Ratzinger,
second row, third child from left, with teacher Franz Berboeck.


All photos here, except for the 'knapsack' picture and the cropped enlargement from the last class picture are from the aschau a. site. I have not had a chance to check through the photos taken in Aschau by Beatrice and Simone to see if they have any other photos we could use on this thread.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 29/04/2007 11.05]

00domenica 29 aprile 2007 00.21
If I'd been a little girl in that school, I'd have grabbed him as my boyfriend!!!!! He was a real knockout even as a little boy!!!!!! [SM=x40793]

Date of the photo of him "Off to the sweater Mutti knitted!" - I would say 1933, as he looks about six. Perhaps it's been posted somewhere else with a date.....

And the baby photo: I think it IS him! I know it sounds daft, because the baby is so small, but there IS a resemblance - the amount of hair, which tallies with the hair he has in the 1929 photo. Could be wishful thinking.......

Thanks so much for all this thought-provoking information!
[SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794] [SM=x40794]
00domenica 29 aprile 2007 00.31

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 29/04/2007 0.38]

00domenica 29 aprile 2007 02.43

I read somewhere that he was 5 years old in that photo with the sweater, knapsack and sweet smile. Also, Maryjos, I agree. That baby with the midwife is him. Looks exactly like him.

00domenica 29 aprile 2007 09.38
Awww, little Joseph is such a cutie!!!! [SM=x40800]

I wish I could have spoiled him with candy, teddy bears, and books about the lives of saints. [SM=x40790]
00mercoledì 2 maggio 2007 15.16
According to the ZDF documentary, the pictures of the siblings with the cat, etc., date from 1935,
and Catholic Press Photo says the family picture was taken in 1938 (such a cute - and serious -
pre-teen!)- but based on the way he looks, I think these pictures are, at least chronological.




The following pictures come from a ZDF video
documentary on THE YOUNG RATZINGER (from birth
to his ordination as priest). He continues
to seem like a boy among his fellow teenagers.

1939 group photo is #9 in this slide show:
ZDF took it out of .gif format since I first posted it
and I don't know how to lift a picture from an Adobe
Flash presentation.


The caption here says it was taken one year before he was
called up for service. He is standing, second from left.

The next photo 'available' is the famous one of young Joseph
in uniform - ZDF dates it 1943.

And the next two are from the ZDF docu again - I've been able to enlarge it a bit below:

This one was taken outside the barracks
of his anti-aircraft unit near Munich (1943).
He is second from left.


And this is the only picture we have seen so far of Joseph
as seminarian - taking a walk through Traunstein with
his friends. Dreamboat walking!

00giovedì 3 maggio 2007 00.03
Is it?
Teresa - the photo in front of the barracks was shown in the RAI-documentary as well, and - right or wrong - they zoomed in on the person right in front, on the right hand, with his hands in the pockets. I know we've had some arguments about this pic before, I think on the RFC. But isn't it strange that two different people in this pic are given the identity of Ratzinger? I wonder if anyone has ever asked HIM about it. I'm beginning to wonder if we'll ever know for certain! [SM=g27833]


Dear Crotchet - I hesitated about referring to that long-ago dispute in the RFC, but since you brought it up, I stick to the identification of ZDF which 'found' the photo to begin with. Magnification and enlargement of the photo (easily possible on the computer but not reproducible as enlargements - not with my limited competence or software, that is) shows that it's the second figure from the left that has Ratzi's face, and I think RAI zoomed in on the wrong person. Has anyone asked the Pope? I don't know. TERESA

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 03/05/2007 0.23]

00venerdì 4 maggio 2007 02.22
So that's him, correct? (I don't have my glasses on lol)
He looks so very young! [SM=g27831] I wonder how old he was.
00venerdì 4 maggio 2007 10.33

00sabato 5 maggio 2007 01.16
Ohhhhhh ok. [SM=g27811] Both boys have the same style hair, and both still look pretty young. No wonder I got confused! [SM=x40798]
Thanks Palma!
00mercoledì 9 maggio 2007 14.50
More, more......
More, more of these exciting photos, she weakly cries!
That one of the three of them - boys in sailor suits,Maria in pretty dress - is new to me. Maria must have been about 17, Georg 14 and elfin-eared Joseph was 11.
And, yes, he does look younger in those photos where he's pictured with other teenage boys.
Surely there are some more from the years immediately after the war, when he was a seminarian. OK - where is this Hilda Brauer lady?
If I'd been a student with him, I'd have had my box Brownie camera pointed at him all the time! [SM=g27829] [SM=g27829] [SM=g27829] [SM=g27829] [SM=g27829]

[Modificato da maryjos 09/05/2007 14.50]

00mercoledì 9 maggio 2007 20.35
Re: More, more......

Scritto da: maryjos 09/05/2007 14.50

More, more of these exciting photos, she weakly cries!

[Modificato da maryjos 09/05/2007 14.50]

Here's more, Mary!

Screenshots from the recent RAI documentary:




[SM=x40800] [SM=g27838]
00giovedì 10 maggio 2007 00.59
O thanks benevolens!! What a CUTE child he was!! What a treasure trove of early photographs ... and what a poppet, a little doll-baby. SMUACK!! SMUACK!!! Could anything be more adorable?
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00giovedì 10 maggio 2007 12.11
OMG!!!!!!!! [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800]
I TOTALLY agree with Clare, what a little sweet faced honey he was!!! He's soo CUTE!!!! [SM=g27821] [SM=g27838] [SM=g27836] [SM=g27821]
00giovedì 10 maggio 2007 17.15
Made my day again!!!!!!
Benevolens, Bood just alerted me to the new photos - oh how I wish we had seen the RAI documentary here! But at least we have these mind-blowing screen captures. Thank you SO VERY MUCH!!!!!!!
Yes, what an adorable little boy he was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He looks cheeky too! And I bet he was, as all very bright children can be. No wonder his mother doted on him so much!!!!!!!
I'm surprised Maria and Georg weren't jealous, but they weren't. They adored him too and cared for him.
Oh, this thread really is developing so well!!!!!!
[SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800] [SM=x40800]
Luffly!!!!! Choyful!!!!!!
00domenica 3 giugno 2007 17.16
Papa on receiving his venia docendi as a university professor...

00martedì 5 giugno 2007 18.37
He IS young, isn't he, for a professor. And handsome [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816] [SM=g27816]
Thanks, benevolens and all for great photos!! Lov'em!!!!
00martedì 5 giugno 2007 19.56
Wow benevolens! Great post. He looks so young! Anyone know how old he was in that pic as a professor? And the caps of him as a baby: very cute!
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