Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Klaipėda 1940

This is a cover sent in 1940 during the WWII German reannexation period, from the post office Memel 2 (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Wiesbaden, Germany. At the time, most of the city's important functions were concentrated in New Town (Naujamiestis) including the city hall, main post office Memel 1, exchange building and so on, and the Old Town (Senamiestis) was rather an area with storage places for goods dealt at the port, pubs and cheap inns. The post office Memel 2 was located there. You can see the sender's address on the back of the cover, Mühlenstr was a part of the present Pilies street on the south eastern side of the former Memelburg castle site.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Recent Acquisitions

As the face value of the recent Lithuanian souvenir sheets go up, it is more and more difficult to get nice cancelled copies. Some of them have a total face value of 5.36 Euro / 18 Litas, which is more than a oversized priority registered mail exceeding 20 g sent to Asia or America. I recently got some nice modern cancelled souvenir sheets so I thought it would be nice to post it here to refresh a bit from old items I usually post.

2012 Year of the Museums, postmark: Vilnius 2013

2012 Baltic Railway Bridges, postmark Vilnius 2013

2009 1000th Anniversary of Lithuania, postmark: Vilnius 2010

2007 1000th Anniversary of Lithuania, postmark Vilnius 2008

2007 Nature of the Sanctuaries of Čepkeliai and Kotra, postmark: Vilnius 2008

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trakininkai 1918

This is a postcard sent in 1918 from Trakeningken, Kreis Tilsit (now Trakininkai, Lithuania), to Berlin. From my experience, a postmark of Trakeningken on a Reich stamp is pretty rare, I should say I'm lucky to find it in such clear condition.
If Pogegen was a railway gateway to Memelland from Tilsit side (which is confusingly the Russian side nowadays), Trakeningken would be the land gateway since the road coming from Tilsit splits there to multi direction. The village itself is pretty small, today, Trakininkai's population counts only 150.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kaunas 1941

Kaunas 1941 during the first Soviet annexation

Nazi censorship seal on the back of the cover

Postmark Kaunas Central 1941 with a 1940 Soviet stamp

This is an interesting cover sent in January 1941 from Kaunas during the first Soviet annexation to Frýdek-Místek, at the time, part of the German occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Very luckily, I have been in contact with one of the descendant of the relative of the sender of the cover, Dr. Oto (Otto) Landsberger, a Czech-Jewish Frýdek-Místek native, who traveled to Lithuania from 1940 to 1941 to help the situation. According to his memoir (unpublished), he often wrote to his relatives including his son Fritz who stayed in Frýdek-Místek. His 1940-45 journey that led him ultimately to Lebanon is really incredible.
The sender spells his hometown "Friedeberg Místek" which I think he deliberately misspelled it as part of the protest to the German authority without getting too much attention. The German name for Frýdek is Friede(c)k and Místek was Freiberg.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Klaipėda 1920

This is a postal stationery issued for Memelgebiet (Memel region) sent in 1920 from Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) to Lobeda bei Jena, Thüringen, Germany. This is one of the two Germania overprinted postal stationery issued on September 1920. This 30 P stationery was for inland destination and the other was 40 P for foreign destination. These were valid only for 2 months which makes the used example pretty scarce. The rectangular violet cancel on the left of the postmark is the  Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia) censorship stamp.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Krakės 1914

Postmark of Кроки / Kroki

This is an Imperial Russian postal stationery sent in 1914 from Кроки / Kroki (now Krakės, Lithuania), Ков (Kovna gubernia) to Ковна / Kovna (now Kaunas, Lithuania). Кроки / Kroki is also the Polish name of the town but it was also known as Krok in Yiddish. The text on the back is written in Cyrillic but the last word at the bottom look like it's Jewish (or is it not? I'm not sure...). During the prewar Lithuanian Republic, it was also called Krakiai.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sarapinai 1912

Царицыно / Tsaritsyno cancel and Ковна arrival cancel

This is an Imperial Russian postal stationery sent in 1912 from Царицыно / Tsaritsyno (now Sarapinai, Lithuania), Ков (Kovna gubernia) to Ковна (now Kaunas, Lithuania), the capital of the gubernia. The name Царицыно / Tsaritsyno comes clearly from the term "Tsar", it is said that a Russian Tsar has stopped to have a rest during a trip to Germany because the village is conveniently located at the middle of the old road linking Kaunas to Kudirkos Naumiestis which was the major gateway to Eastern Prussia. Today the village is called Sarapinai, belongs to Marijampolės apskritis / Marijampolė County and counts only 33 inhabitants according to the 2001 census but back in the prewar period, there was a much larger Jewish and Polish population living there.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Preila 1939

Kurische Haff / Kuršių marios / Curonian lagoon

Unfortunately the edge had been cut out for some reason but I didn't hesitate to buy this postcard because of the rare postmark. It is a postcard send in 1939 by the German Landpost from Preil (now Preila, Lithuania) to... I think Berlin O. (Ost) but I'm not sure. It could be Lublin as well, at the time part of the German occupied Poland. Landpost is a German postal service provided for an area without a post office. It usually has a violet rectangular cancel without date and a regular round cancel of the affiliating post office sometime with the inscription "Land". Most of those rectangular cancels carry an extra information like "Kreis ???" as you see in this case or "über ??? (nearby town's name)" because the area served by the Landpost is in most of the case a remote area of some kind or almost without inhabitant. There was no post office in Preila during the Memelgebiet period as well as the WWII reannexation period. As far as I know, there is no comprehensive list of the former Memelland Landpost postmarks ever published so if you do know something, please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it!