(Last) Signs of Life

Pile of Mail

At some destinations of deportations,

those who were persecuted were allowed to send and receive postcards. Despite strict conditions and censorship, these postcards give us an insight into the emotions and feelings of those who were deported from Hamburg: their hopes, fears, worries, homesickness, and longing for friends and relatives.

The Hamburg State Archive holds over 350 postcards that reached Hamburg from different ghettos and concentration camps. A few of them were unable to be delivered, often due to the fact that the intended recipients had already been themselves deported.

The postcards were not hidden from the population of Hamburg: they were part of the regular mail and postal workers delivered them directly.

A few postcards were never sent from the ghettos or concentration camps and stayed in the post offices. Amongst them were 200 cards addressed to Hamburg from the Litzmannstadt ghetto. They can be found today in the Archive in Łódź, Poland.

More than 8,000 Sinti and Roma as well as Jewish people from Hamburg and Northern Germany were affected by the deportations to Ghettos, concentration camps, and extermination camps. For most of them the transport began at the Hannoverscher Bahnhof.

(Last) Signs of Life