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United States/Covers & Postmarks : WWII US diplomats detained in Germany

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Rhinelander
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Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
27 Aug 2009
08:01:54am
I am moved now, but still sitting amidst unpacked boxes and chaos. The worst: This is not the permament solution as we need to sell our place in NC first, before then buying something here (and move again).

In any event, a first exploration to a local Antique mall yielded the following interesting item:

my picturefront

Now you may think that does not look too impresssive, so I suggest flipping it over:

my pictureback

It is correspondence (just the envelope no letter) from an American Diplomat interned in Germany during the war. The cover shownhas the German return address "Nord-Amerikanische Diplomaten Gruppe," but I have others with the english "Member of the American Official Group in Detention." I did some research on it over the internet. A group of about 140 American Diplomats, Journalists and few others fell into German hands when the "free" Vichy-France (with which the US still maintained diplomatic relations) was occupied by Germany after all. They were interned in the German spa town of Baden-Baden in a 5-star hotel, the Brenner's Park Hotel, which had shut down operations during the war. After about a year (obviously there was not enough high ranking brass among them) they were freed in a prisoners exchange.

The cover travelled outside the regular mailstream in diplomatic pouch via the AMerican embassy in Lisbon with the Swiss legation acting as intermediary. Censorship was in Berlin (letter 'b' in sealing tape and censor marks - have a list for those markings if anyone is interested). I don't collect this area. Collect a lot of postmarks of which we have none here ;), but could not resist. The lot had seven from the same sender that travelled from Germany to US -- all very similar -- and one in the opposite direction as well as one diplomatic pouch cover from Saudi Arabia.

(Message edited by rhinelander on August 27, 2009)
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Bobstamp
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29 Aug 2009
01:28:20am
re: WWII US diplomats detained in Germany

Wow. Just wow. That's the kind of item that keeps cover-collector radar constantly scanning. Some of my best items have come not from stamp shops or bourses, but antique stores, flea markets and junk shops. Anyway, your cover is really a wonderful artifact. Congratulation.

Bob

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www.ephemeraltreasures.net
Avi
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31 Aug 2009
01:17:50pm
re: WWII US diplomats detained in Germany

Ahhhhhhhhh! the history behind an envelope! That's what really interests me, more than the silly "un-washable" stamps of now-days.
Maybe I am a fool but always think the message this or that envelope carried, the Human part of Phiatelly. Congratulations!
Avi
APS# 104143

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sefardisafranmyblogsite.com/blog
Rhinelander
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Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
31 Aug 2009
10:37:38pm
re: WWII US diplomats detained in Germany

Yeap. Was pretty happy to find these covers. The lot basically is an instant exhibit. I found that La Posta, September 2003, p. 23 has a write-up of a cover by the same sender.

https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-bqoHV2UBEqOGM0MTc2N2EtNjI5ZC00NzQ3LTlkZWEtNjg2MzI1ZWVkYzcw&hl=en

I uploaded a pdf of the article, in case you are interested (never have done that before, so hope it works). It is quite interesting and pretty short, too.

I have no idea how part of the correspondence ended up at an antique mall in Ohio. Showing one more:

my pictureb

A reference reports that the censorship office in Berlin sustained serious bomb damage at one time. Accordingly, for the time period in question, I find one of the letters with blank censor tape and incorrect use of an "Ab" marking instead of a censor stamp. The A'x' markings were handling markings for covers that went through a German censorship office, but did not undergo censorship (because of lacking capacity etc.). Here the use is because the regular censor stamps were unavailable.

Just for reference, a letter from Argentina, cancelled Buenos Aires 8/24/1941, with Ad marking; 'd' indicating the censorship office in Munich.

my pictureit

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