Authors

Object ID

2016.1.01a-x

Object Name

Envelope

Date

1931

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Description

24 envelopes with red circular postmark from Berlin

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:A collection of meter marks (made from the francotyp machine) from the department store Wertheim, including 11 from 1931 to 1935 for “special sales” (e.g. Christmas, travel, swimming, etc.). The Arianization of Wertheim is likewise expressed in changes to the meter marks: the slogans show AWAG (Allgemeine Warenhandels-Gesellschaft A.G.) and AWAG (vormals WERTHEIM). Arianization notwithstanding, the Wertheim name was continued during this period of time to maintain the customer base. Meter marks show Deutsche Reichspost AWAG for travel, summer, etc. Eventually the Nazi swastika appears within the indicia of the meter mark.

Wertheimwas one of the largest department store chains in Germany with four stores in Berlin. It had been founded by Georg Wertheim. It was subjected to Nazi Arianization policies during the 1930’s. In an effort to avoid loss of their stores through what was tantamount to institutionalized theft, the Wertheim family attempted to make Georg’s wife Ursula the principal shareholder since she was acceptable as “Aryan” under the laws. However, even a divorce was not enough to prevent the inevitable loss of their business, and the Wertheim family were forced to sell their firm to an Aryan company, after which it was renamed AWAG. Georg Wertheim died in 1939.

Keywords

Arianization, Metermarks, Francotyp, Wertheim, AWAG

The Arianization of Wertheim: a Postal History of the Jewish-Owned Department Store from 1931 - 1939

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