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Richard Irwin Lester, Jr. Collection

Identifier: M675

Form of Material

The collection consists of “Feldposts”, letters from German soldiers, pre- and post-WWII postcards, Nazi propaganda publications, photographs and albums, and sample Nazi documents including police registration, “Workforce” appeal, travel requests, and personal surveys. Wilhelm Gehlen translated a large portion of the collection. Most of the documents range from the early 1930s to the mid-1940s.


  • early 1900s-1960s


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for use

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Reproduction of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Provision of photocopies or digital reproductions does not constitute permission to publish, distribute, provide internet access to, or otherwise display images of materials in this collection. Copyright is retained by the lawful copyright holder, and it is the responsibility of the permission seeker to contact and secure permission from the copyright holder. Where copyright permission is not granted, images are only for use in private study subject to the Fair Use exceptions made in U.S. Copyright Law.

Biographical / Historical

Armin Dieter Lehmann (23 May 1928 – 10 October 2008) was a Hitler Youth courier in the Führerbunker towards the end of Adolf Hitler's life, leaving shortly after Hitler committed suicide in 1945. He spent his post-war life in travel, tourism, and writing as a peace activist.

Wilhelm Reinhard Gehlen was a young boy during the war and was in the junior division of the Hitler Youth (DJV). He served with his village's anti-aircraft crew. Gehlen and his mother ended up in the middle of a battle zone during the Battle of the Bulge, which had a profound effect on him. As an adult, Gehlen joined the French Foreign Legion and fought in the Vietnam War, where he was wounded and briefly held prisoner after French surrender.

Lehmann and Gehlen authored several books about their experiences. Lehmann wrote In Hitler’s Bunker: A Boy Soldier's Eyewitness Account of the Fuhrer's Last Days and Hitler’s Last Courier. Lehmann also appeared in the historical short: Eyewitness to History. Gehlen co-wrote Jungvolk and Hitler’s Homefront. In 2015, The National World War II Museum interviewed Gehlen about his experiences.

Richard Irwin Lester, Jr.’s, company, Blue Heron International Pictures, produced Lehmann’s Eyewitness to History. After this collaboration, Lehmann and Gehlen entrusted Lester with their personal libraries.

Lester was a high school English teacher in Navajo, New Mexico. He spent time in Hattiesburg earning a master’s degree at The University of Southern Mississippi. He now resides in Florida.


9.25 Cubic Feet : 302A

Language of Materials




Material on Germany during Third Reich, donated in memory of Armin D. Lehmann and in honor of Wilhelm Reinhard Gehlen.


This collection consists of 23 boxes and is arranged alphabetically by subject.


Given by Richard Irwin Lester, Jr. in several accruals between 2019 and 2022.


Contents of the Collection

National World War II Museum Digital Collections

Richard Irwin Lester Jr. Collection
Collection processed by Amanda Abulawi and John Blackwell. Finding aid written by John Blackwell.
June 17, 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001