Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gilandviršiai 1914

 Queen Louise Bridge, the border between Sovietsk and Panemunė

 Sterpeiken (now Strepeikiai, Lithuania), 9.21 1914

 Gillandwirszen (center) and Sterpeiken (left) on a 1861 map

This is a German military field post (Feldpost) card sent in 1914 from Gillandwirszen (now Gilandviršiai, Lithuania). According to the list of post offices of Memelgebiet provided by Michel Deutschland Spezial, the post office of Gillandwirszen has closed down on the 1st of December 1923. The postmark on the scan with the inscription "Kr. Tilsit" has been used during pre-Memelgebiet period as well as after the Treaty of Versaille along with the newly created postmark with the inscription "Memelgebiet". Gillandwirszen has been later incorporated into Kreis Pogegen and during Nazi re-annexation into Kreis Tilsit-Ragnit. Today, Gilandviršiai is part of Tauragės apskritis/Tauragė county with the population of 55 according to 2001 census. If you look closely to the card, the author actually wrote it in Sterpeiken (now Strepeikiai) which is a village right next to Gillandwirszen.
The picture on the card is Queen Louise Bridge which linked Tilsit (now Sovietsk, Russia) and Übermemel (now Panemunė, Lithuania) over the Memel (Nemunas in Lithuanian) river. It has been named after the Queen Louise who resided at the city of Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) when it served as the temporary capital of the kingdom of Prussia during the Napoleonic wars. The bridge still exists today and serves as the Russo-Lithuanian border.

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