Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anykščiai 1928

This is a Lithuanian postal stationery sent in 1928 from Anykščiai to Germany (Vokietija). 15 centų was a postal rate only for the domestic destination but Germany, Latvia and Estonia were the exception at that time unless the mail was airmail.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Klaipėda 1900

This is a postal stationery sent in 1900 from Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Bergen, Norway. Departing Memel on 10 October and arriving at Bergen on 14 can be considered "fast". This postal stationery is one of the last to be printed as "Reichpost", later is to be replaced by the inscription "Deutsches Reich".

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Šilutė 1944

This is an interesting P.O.W. camp cover sent on 14 March 1944 from the Stalag Luft 6 in Heydekrug (now Šilutė, Lithuania) to the British Red Cross in London. UK. "kriegsgefangenenpost" (written on the top of the cover) is franking-free P.O.W. (prisoner of war) post. It looks like the author is a British officer named Sergeant A.G. Fripp. According to Wikipedia, "Stalag" is an abbreviation for Stammlager which itself is also an abbreviation of "Kriegsgefangenen-Mannschafts-Stammlager" which is the term used for the prisoner of war camps. Considering the absence of reinforcements and supplies, the Germans defended Memelland effectively, it was only on January 1945 that Soviet forces fully gained the district of Memel/Klaipėda.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pumpėnai 1943

This is a cover from Pumpėnai sent in 1943 to Vilnius. Pumpėnai is a town in Panevėžio apskritis/Panevėžys county with population of approximately 1000. The town is known to lose half of its population during the 1940 Soviet occupation from deportation.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Panevėžys 1917

This is a German military field post postcard sent in 1917 from the field post station (Feldpoststation) Nr. 216 located in Ponnewiesch (now Panevėžys, Lithuania) to Freiburg - Zähringen (Zähringen is one of the district of the city Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany). It looks like Panevėžys didn't have an official name at the time, the spelling differs in a various form such as Ponnewiesch or Poniewesz, the author even writes "Ponnewiez" on the postcard.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Šaukėnai 1942

This is a cover sent in 1942 from Šaukėnai to the Šiaulių apylinkės teismo teisėjui/Šiauliai district court. Šaukėnai is a small town in Šiaulių apskritis/Šiauliai county with a population of 800. Most of Lithuania being incorporated in Ostland at that time, they have used German stamps with "Ostland" overprint but regular Reich stamps were also valid. From the postmark you can see that Šaukėnai post office wasn't the state post office called Dienstpost Ostland. Some people call it a "private" post office but I prefer not to because it wasn't really private in a modern sense. Of course, no private company were legally able to provide network of logistics through out entire Ostland for security reason. I would prefer more using the term "postal agent" which was authorized to act as a local window to the state postal service. The examples of the use of regular Reich stamps in Lithuania are surprisingly hard to find. This is probably because the remaining covers are buried among  millions of other Reich covers without being noticed unlike the ones overprinted. There are many philatelists who pay more attention to the catalog values of the stamps and much less to the postmark. Maybe if you can re-check your collection, you might find out that you actually possess a valuable "occupation" postmark. Who knows...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cancellations of Imperial Russia - 2 Vilnius

Dotted circular postmark No. 5 Vilna
It was only used between 1857 - 1860 

Very common postmark Вильна/Vilna 1901 

Perfin cancel Вильна/Vilna 1910

Вильна/Vilna - Лукишки/Lukishki (now Lukiškės, Vilnius)

Вильна/Vilna - Снипишки/Snipishki (now Šnipiškės, Vilnius)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Klaipėda 1922

To tell you the truth, I'm not much into obvious "Philatelic" looking covers often seen in Lithuanian trans-Atlantic airmails or covers using stamps with limited validity. But I found this cover nice because it uses a complete set of stamps. This is a registered express airmail cover sent in 1922 from Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Berlin, Germany. It is franked with all 10 of the third and last issue of Memel air post stamp. According to Michel, this complete set has a catalog value of 80 Euros total in used condition. The back has an arrival cancellation of Berlin with a round white piece of paper, probably protecting the cover being damaged from some kind of seal when opening it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Palanga 1912

A German made art postcard using very fine paper sent in 1912 from Поланген/Polangen (now Palanga, Lithuania) during the Imperial Russian rule. The beach in the artwork is probably not Palanga but it matches because it is famous for its beach! Palanga's appearance in historic source is surprisingly old. A German Tutonic chronicle mentions that King Valdemar I of Denmark captured a castle of Curonian tribe in Palanga in 1161, but historical fact shows us that unlike Tallinn, it wasn't a full scale invasion and the Danes had no intention to stay there to claim its territorial possession.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vilnius 1933

This is a postcard sent in 1933 from Wilno 2 (now Vilnius, Lithuania) to Porzecze k. Grodna (Pariečė in Lithuanian, now Парэчча/Parechcha in Hrodna district, Belarus). The picture in the postcard is the famous Trys kryžiai/Three Crosses in Vilnius erected by a Polish-Lithuanian architect Antoni Wiwulski who is also responsible for the massive Grunwald monument in Kraków, Poland. The original shown in the picture was destroyed by the Soviet authority in 1950 but a slightly bigger replica has been re-erected in 1989 which you can see today.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Juodupė 1939

This is a postcard of the Freedom monument in Kaunas sent in 1939 from Juodupė to Święciany Wileńskie (now Švenčionys, Lithuania), Lenkija/Poland. Juodupė is a small town with a present population of 2000 located near the Latvian border. The town's history is closely tied to the windmill which was the vital source of the economy. But that's not what makes this postcard interesting, it is the destination: Lenkija, which is the Lithuanian name for Poland. It is known that the First Lithuanian Republic had no diplomatic relation with Poland, which automatically leads the conclusion that there were no postal correspondences between the two countries either (with an exception of few airmail links). Well, this is true, EXCEPT, from June 1938 to October 1939 when the Soviet invasion began. The March 1938 Polish Ultimatum forced the Lithuanian government to conclude a diplomatic normalization with Poland and from June of the same year, limited railroad and postal communications gradually started to open its way.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rusnė 1942

This is a card sent in 1942 from Ruß/Russ (now Rusnė, Lithuania) to Recklinghausen in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Rusnė/Ruß is an old picturesque small town with a population of 2000 located on an island called Rusnė Island/Rusnės Sala in the delta formed by the Nemunas/Memel river. The postmark states "Ostpr." (Ostpreußen) to differentiate from another town also called Russ/Ruß in Alsace, France which was at that time, part of Germany.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Šilutė 1939

This is a postcard of Kurische Nehrung/Kuršių Nerija from the same series as the previous post, sent in 1939 from Heydekrug (now Šilutė, Lithuania) to Berlin, Germany. The Memel territory (Klaipėda region) was re-annexed by Nazi Germany on 23 March 1939, this, of course included Šilutė/Heydekrug, the 2nd largest town of the region. Although in 1818 the town became the district center of Landkreis Heydekrug, it never received the city right until 1941, which is very unusual.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nida 1942

Happy New Year to all readers! This year's first post is a postcard of Kurische Nehrung/Kuršių Nerija cancelled in 1942 in Nidden (now Nida, Lithuania). Kuršių Nerija is a sand dune spit known as Curonian Spit in English, stretching 98km like a corridor in the middle of ocean. Presently, the northern half of the spit is belonging to Lithuania and the southern half what used be part of Ostpreußen/East Prussia now belongs to Russia, Kalininglad Oblast. Nida/Nidden is a virtual "small fishing village" tourist resort since the 18th century with summer residents and cottages of celebrities such as Queen Louise of Prussia or the Nobel prize winner writer Thomas Mann.

French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir during their visit in 1965 near Nida along with the Lithuanian writer Mykolas Sluckis