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Front: A white envelope addressed in black ink. Includes green and blue postage stamps, two black hand stamps and a red and white sticker.
Back: Return address in black ink. Includes brown censor tape as well as black, red, and purple hand stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Sokolow Podlaski is a town in east-central Poland, about 90 kilometers from Warsaw. Jews had settled in the area before 1420. As many towns and shtetls throughout Poland, Jews had their own language, customs, literature, religion and law. By the end of the 18th century, Polish Jews comprised more than 70% of the world's Jewish population. By the 1930s, some 60% of Sokolow's 12,000 inhabitants were Jewish. There were bakers, cattle dealers, shoemakers, tailors and shopkeepers. There was a Jewish theater, libraries, and a sports team. However, as in other areas of Europe, increased economic hardship and the concomitant rise of anti-Semitism accelerated through the 1930s. Jewish life in Sokolow changed dramatically for the worse after the outbreak of World War II and the Nazi occupation of Poland. The ghetto in Sokolow was established in 1939 with 5,000 residents. It was closed off in 1941. More people were added to the ghetto later from other towns and starvation, disease and death were rampant. Deportations began in 1942, and between September 22nd and 25th close to 6,000 Jews sealed in cattle wagons were murdered upon their arrival at Treblinka. Almost the entire Jewish community of Sokolow was liquidated by the Nazis. This cover was mailed to Switzerland a little less than two weeks before the deportations from Sokolow occurred. The letter was sent by someone named Mielnicki. There were many residents of Sokolow named Mielnicki who were murdered during the Holocaust; it is not clear whether or not this person survived.
5 x 6 1/8"
Sokolow-Podlaski, Poland, Basel, Switzerland, Reich Seal
"Envelope from Sokolow-Podlaski, Poland to Basel, Switzerland" (1942). Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection. 2014.1.250.