Re: Restrictions on Mailing Letters in Nazi-occupied Poland #general

Peter Lebensold

On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 2:04 AM, Carol Arshoff <carol.arshoff@...> wrote:
Does anyone know if there were restrictions on writing letters when Poland was
occupied by the Nazis? If so, what were they? I have a translation of a
postcard/letter written in 1941 >from Plonsk where my aunt has written that they
were limited to 1 page. In another postcard, written in 1940 >from Plonsk the
stamped portion where one would write a return address is written in German.
Hi Carol:

When my aunt in the U.K. passed away several years ago, her son (my cousin)
found a cache of letters that she'd received >from her parents (my grandparents)
while they were confined within the Warsaw ghetto (and before they were
transported and never heard >from again).

The first restriction seems to have been that of paper: The letters are written
on both sides of a single sheet of thin airmail paper, with the text sometimes
continuing up the sides and even running upside down - covering every square
millimeter of available space.

With the multiple directions, the tiny handwriting and the bleed-through >from
one side of the paper to the other, they are very difficult to read, let alone
translate. No letter is more than a single sheet. (There are postcards as well.)

It's also clear that the letters were censored: Several are rubber-stamped with

And, finally, yes, there appear to have been restrictions (implicit or explicit)
on what information could be shared: There is no mention of conditions within
the ghetto, there is no explanation when my grandparents changed return address
(having had to move out of their home when the ghetto started being shrunk), and
my grandmother seems to show an unusual concern that her three children - safe
outside Poland - have enough "socks". She mentions "socks" several times in
multiple letters, with the clear (to her grandchildren, at least) implication
that she's writing in code: "Socks" = money.

A great deal remains to be imagined.

Peter Lebensold

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