There have been so many books and articles written on the Holocaust and from so many different angles, that it is hard to find something written anymore from a truly unique perspective. However, such is the case with Justin Gordon’s fine book Holocaust Postal History. The subtitle is Harrowing Journeys Revealed through the Letters and Cards of the Victims. And the principle focus of this book is on correspondence that occurred between Jews who made the harrowing journeys to Holocaust concentration camps and their relatives who lived in the safety of the West. Because of the presence of Nazi censors, nothing controversial and provocative was allowed to pass out of and into the camps. Most of the content of the letters consisted of a desperate attempt through relatively banal statements of affection and support to keep the connection alive between the two sides. And somehow, by maintaining the connection, the two sides could magically prevent the Nazis from sending their inmates to death. Unfortunately, as Gordon indicates, in most cases, the prisoner and his correspondent were unable to stave off the inevitable fate of the victim. This makes the correspondence much more heartrending.
Gordon is an expert on postal history and he analyzes all the marks and stamps that appear on the mail being considered. A glossary of postal terms is included to help the reader understand the journey taken by each of these pieces of mail – letter and postcard – that he is talking about.
Finally, the book gives an outline of the history of the Holocaust and the concentration camps, and it uses the letters and post cards that are its examples as vehicles for making different points about what took place during this horrific period of history. For people like myself who are not highly knowledgeable about the Holocaust, Gordon’s volume illuminates a great deal. I highly recommend this book. It can be purchased at www.holopostal.com
© 2017 Laurence Mesirow
Holocaust Postal History
Harrowing Journeys Revealed through the Letters and cards of the Victims.
Six Point Watermark
© 2016 Justin Gordon