Monday, September 26, 2016

Mažeikiai 1943





Bahnhof Mazeikiai?

This is cover sent in 1943 from Moscheiken (now Mažeikiai, Lithuania), Ostland to Riga, the present Latvian capital. It has been sent from a Bahnsleiter (station director) of Mažeikiai station (as you see on the back of the cover) to a Reichsbahninspektor (Reich Railway inspector) in Riga. The postmark cancelling the Ostland overprint says Moscheiken, the official German name of Mažeikiai in Ostland, but what surprised me was the Nazi cachet that says "Bahnhof Mazeikiai" and NOT Moscheiken. As you can see from the fact that the station director uses himself the name of Mažeikiai on the back, the use of Lithuanian name was not prohibited but we are talking about Nazi cachet which usually Germanizes every place name. It is possible that the cachet was made before the renaming process but still...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vilnius 1941 - Postcard of Trakai




This is a postcard of Troki (now Trakai, Lithuania) sent in 1941 from Vilnius, part of German occupied Ostland to Riga, which was also part of the same territory. It has a nice simple single Hindenburg stamp franking with a postmark of Vilnius C. dated 14 XI 1941. As I've already mentioned in the past in this blog,  regular Reich stamps were also valid along with the Ostland overprinted stamps. It looks like the text is written in Russian and the slightly visible trace of red ink on the upper left corner of the stamp is probably hand stamped censorship mark. It is interesting that Polish postcards with Polish inscriptions are still available for the local market considering the place was under German occupation which often replaced anything printed in the local language by their own productions.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Vilnius 1940




This is a registered cover sent in 1940 from Vilnius 4 during the Soviet occupation period to the Swiss capital Bern. It has a nice arrival cancel of Bern on the back. It even has a letter inside still but unfortunately my Polish sucks therefore I'm unable to tell you guys what is it written about... Given the fact that the Soviet took Vilnius by force from the Poles, I can imagine that the Polish author of this letter (it's obvious from his Polish name and the Polish text) didn't just write a "what's up dude"-kinda letter but rather a serious one. The interesting part is that he wrote his address as "Vilnius, Latvia", which makes it look like he probably isn't from Vilnius/Wilno originally. It is indeed pretty confusing for those who is not familiar with Lithuania's name in other languages, Most worldwide stamp collectors probably know that Lietuva is the Lithuanian name for Lithuania as you can see on their postage stamps but it sounds and looks closer to Latvia than Lithuania. I actually don't know why is it called Lithuania in English...



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Vilnius 1939


Arrival cancel Warszawa 1 on the back


I have few Gryżewski covers and this one is my personal favorite. It is a philatelic cover sent in 1939 from Wilno 2 to Warszawa (Warsaw) with a special postmark commemorating the 20th anniversary of Polish air links. According to B. Brzozowski's "The Vilnius Directorate of Post and Telegraph between 1919 and 1939", the illustration part and the date part of the postmark is separated but on my copy, it looks like a single ensemble or even a machine cancel of some sort.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Klaipėda 1958



This is a full set of the Soviet souvenir sheets commemorating the 100 years of Russian postage stamp, cancelled in Клайпеда /  Klaipėda, Lithuania SSR. Both souvenir sheets still have gum on the back which tell us that all the postmarks on them are actually CTOs most probably privately ordered since there wasn't any commercial mass production of CTO in Klaipėda as far as I know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Šilutė 1870




This is a postal stationery of the North German Confederation / Norddeutscher Postbezirk sent in 1870 from Heydekrug (now Šilutė, Lithuania) to Kinten (now Kintai, Lithuania), both located in Memelland. Actually "Norddeutscher Postbezirk" is the name for the postal area of the North German Confederation and not the state itself (it is officially: Norddeutscher Bund). Memelland was part of the Kingdom of Prussia which formed the Confederation in 1866 issuing their own stamps until 1870 before becoming the German Reich when the remaining southern Germanic states joined as well.
Heydekrug was the second largest town in Memelland and it has an interesting origin. According to Wikipedia, a guy named Georg Tallat purchased an inn together with the land and the fishing rights in 1511. "Heide" meaning: heathland and "Krug" meaning: inn, combining together in one word: Heydekrug.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cancellations on Polish stamps - 2

Nowe Święciany (now Švenčionėliai, Lithuania)

Święciany Wileńskie (now Švenčionys, Lithuania)
First generation postmark

Święciany Wileńskie (now Švenčionys, Lithuania)
Second generation postmark

Święciany Wileńskie (now Švenčionys, Lithuania)
Second generation postmark

Podbrodzie (now Pabradė, Lithuania)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kaunas 1935 - Hotel Metropolis


Berlin - Zentralflughafen / Central Airport transit postmark


Kaunas - Gelež. Stotis / Kaunas Railway Station 1935

This is an airmail cover of the Hotel Metropolis sent in 1935 from Kaunas to London. This Hotel Metropolis was the most prestigious hotel in Lithuania during the interwar period, where most of the important guests stayed. It has been nationalized in 1922, served many celebrities and state guests from Marc Chagall to Chiune Sugihara. The hotel is still operating today (but not "prestigious" as it used to be back then, at least when I've stayed there myself in 2005) at the exact same building which you can see on the cover hotel logo illustration.
Interestingly, the cover is addressed to a ship captain but sent to the office that owns the ship rather than the ship itself. The was no direct flight from Kaunas to London at that time I guess, so you see a transit postmark of Berlin Zentralflughafen / Central airport on the back of the cover.
The Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara / 杉原千畝 famous for issuing life saving visas to the Jewish people during WWII, spent his final days in Lithuania here. He stayed at Hotel Metropolis after the Japanese consulate was forcibly closed down by the occupying Soviet authority, continued issuing visas in the hotel room. Many witnesses stated that he even wrote visas at the Kaunas railway station platform when he was leaving Lithuania (and coincidentally, the postmark of this cover is Kaunas railway station!). Today you can see 2 commemorative plates to honor this event, one at Kaunas railway station and the other one at Hotel Metropolis.