Unwritten postcards

No message

There are approximately a thousand postcards

written in ghettos and concentration camps by people deported from Hamburg that are known to us today. Often they are their last signs of life. Keeping in touch with loved ones helped them to survive. However, writing postcards required a lot of strength as well as paper and writing materials. Buying stamps also required money.

We have no news from most of those who were deported. More than 2,100 of the total of 8,000 deportees from Hamburg were not allowed to receive post simply because of their destinations. In the Minsk and Riga Ghettos all post was forbidden. Furthermore, there were many children amongst the deportees, as well as those who had not (yet) learned to write.

Deportees still tried to send things by post, despite it being forbidden. On the way to their destinations, a few threw postcards out of the trains in the hope that someone would put them in a post-box. In the ghettos, they asked the German military members to send messages by post for them. Josef Katz from Lübeck managed, with the help of a sailor, to send a message to his sister in a matchbox.