The German Army established internment camps in World War II to hold Allied civilians captured in occupied territory. These civilians included American and British citizens caught in Europe as World War II began, as well as citizens of the Channel Islands. The Germans hoped to exchange civilians-including Jews- for German nationals who were held in Allied countries. They were interned in Laufen and Tittmoning in Bavaria, and Camp Vittel, which was located in the Vosges mountains in France. Most of the documents held by these aliens were eventually declared invalid by the Nazis toward the end of 1943, and many were transported to Drancy and Auschwitz in 1944 where they were murdered.
France had a great many internment camps holding political prisoners, Jews, and Romanies. Jews-both citizens of France and foreigners- became victims of the anti-Semitic policies of Petain's collaborationist Vichy regime. Camp de Gurs in the Pyrenees was created for Spanish refugees, but many German Jews who fled the Nazis were interned here as well. Jews were interned in des Milles, Recebedou, de Noe, Ferramonti di Tarsia, and Rivesaltes and many others. Recebedou was an Internment Camp created in February 1941 to hold Jewish refugees-many fleeing the occupied zone of France- and Spanish anti-fascists for deportation to Drancy transit camp and thence to the extermination camps: 349 Jews were deported to Drancy from here. Rivesaltes submitted more than 2200 Jews-including 110 children - to Auschwitz by way of Drancy in 1942: all were murdered.
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
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Envelope with two blue and green stamps as well as red ink stamp with French text inside. Address handwritten in black ink. Verso: more handwritten text in black ink as well as black ink stamp with date 20. Jan. 1940.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Cover from S. Goldschmidt in Rieucros Internment Camp. Rieucros was a French internment camp near Mende in Lozere and was in effect from 1939-1942. With the French increasingly restricting immigration from Fascist countries, fearful of being dragged into war, foreigners were interned in Rieucros. For example, members of the Spanish Republic and International Brigades. After the men were transferred to the camp at Vernet, Rieucros mainly interned women.
Front: A white envelope with two pasted stamps in blue and pink, black and purple hand stamps, and an address written in black cursive ink.Back: Return address written in black cursive ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: This double oval Camp de Gurs censured letter was sent by Regine Wolf in Camp de Gurs to Sally Levy in New York City.It is postmarked 1941. Camp de Gurs was in southern France, and had originally interned Spanish Civil War refugees fleeing the Nationalist Franco regime. After the Germans defeated France it became an internment camp in the Vichy government controlled region forJews many of whom were to be deported to extermination centers such as Auschwitz and Sobibor.
Front: Pale envelope with address handwritten in black ink. Includes three pasted blue psotage stamps, one pasted pink postage stamp, as well as two other pasted stamps, as well as one pink and two black hand stamps.Back: Address written in black ink. Includes red, purple and black hand stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Like Drancy, the Camp de Rivesaltes was a transit camps for deportees ultimately shipped to extermination centers. Regular airmail cover to New York, camp censor and markings tying properly franked cover.
Green postage stamp below two red postage stamps in upper right corner, “CAMP DE RECEBEDOU” in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: French cover from a German Jewish inmate in the French internment camp camp Recebedou. It was initially created in 1941 to house both Spanish anti-fascists and Jews fleeing occupied France. It became a so-called “hospital camp” managed by the collaborationist Vichy regime under Petain. Prisoners were deprived of basic necessities including medicine and food. Of those prisoners that perished here, most were Jews. And many more Jews interned here were ultimately deported via Drancy to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
This cover was sent to the Israeli Community Council or Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde in Zurich. The cover states that contents of letter are written in German. Double oval Recebedou censor and French stamps.
Cover from Internment Camp Les Milles, France. From M.M. Gottfried to Rosa Gottfried in Hartford, Connecticut
Envelope with red, white, and blue border with three black and white postage stamps and red postage stamp, “AVION” stamped in purple ink. Back includes “35725” stamped in red.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Les Milles was one of three main internment camps in southern France, along with Camp de Gurs and Rivesaltes. Les Milles had interned many German and Austrian intellectuals, musicians, and artists fleeing Nazi Germany. The camp was known for its rich intellectual and cultural life. Through the efforts of Varian Fry, many Jews were able to obtain release from here. Jewish aid organizations such as HICEM would also help some inmates to emigrate overseas. However, by 1942, Les Milles essentially became an assembly point for deporting Jews to the Drancy transit camp, after which they would be sent to extermination centers such as Auschwitz. Over 2,000 men, women, and children were ultimately deported from Les Milles to Auschwitz.
Front: A white postcard with printed red postcard lines and stamps. Includes text written in blue ink, a pasted pink postage stamp, as well as purple and black hand stamps.Back: Message written in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Postcard written by Jewish prisoner in Rivesaltes with oval Rivesaltes censor mark. Serge Klarsfeld called the Rivesaltes Camp "the Drancy of the Free Zone." From September 4 to October 22, Rivesaltes played the same role as the Drancy camp in the occupied zone: a transit camp for the deportees whose ultimate destination was the Nazi extermination camps. Rivesaltes was, during that time, the camp where Jews arrested in the so-called "free zone" were gathered, and from which many of them (about 1,700) were sent to Drancy itself.
Tan envelope addressed in black ink, including four postage stamps and multiple hand stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Camp de Gurs air mail cover with double oval censor mark. Camp de Gurs was an internment and refugee camp constructed by the French Government in 1939. After the Vichy government signed an armistice with the Nazis in 1940, it became an internment camp for Jews of any nationality except French, as well as people considered dangerous by the government.
Folding letter/envelope combination. Red postal stamp in top right corner of the cover with lines printed on top of it. A circular ink stamp to the left of the postal stamp reads, "1941, may 31 Canada".
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Many Jewish refugees having fled Nazi Germany and Austria for England in the 1930’s were, with the growing fear of a German invasion of Britain on the horizon, deported to Canada as possible enemy aliens and confined to internment camps. The eight internment camps throughout Canada bore an alphabetical designation. Camp “N”, also known as “Sherbrooke” was found by the deportees to have particularly poor accommodation; however, the internees made the best of things and put together a rich cultural and educational life during the period of time they were interned. Letter written in English, with censor markings sent to New York.
Front: Tan postcard with green printed postcard lines, writing in blue ink, as well as red and purple hand stamps.Back: Message written in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: 1943 German censored postcard with "KLV LAGER (Ung.142)"cachet in purple from Karl Birnbaum to his father Johann in Vienna. Children would be evacuated from areas of Allied bombing raids and placed in KLV camps. In Karl's case he was in a KLV camp in Hungary (Palanka).
Postcard with red printed text and red stamp at top right as well as purple ink stamp. Address handwritten in pencil. Message handwritten in pencil on opposite side.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Camp Nexon was a French internment camp in the Haute-Vienne region of France. It was established in 1940 to house mainly political prisoners. Approximately 1200 internees were housed there. In 1942, some 450 Jews – among them 68 children – were gathered in Nexon and deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis.
Postcard from Zygmunt Pustelnik in Tittmoning Internment Camp in Bavaria to Joseph Pustelnik in Chicago
Front of postcard marked “PAR AVION!” in center in pencil, “Internierten-Post Postkarte” printed in black ink in upper left corner, writing in red ink in both upper corners, stamped with blue, red, black, and purple ink. Back of letter marked “Interniertenlager” in black print in upper left corner, twelve lines of writing.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Tittmoning castle was an internment camp in Bavaria near Austria which was run by the German army. British and American citizens, including African- American Jazz musicians, who had the misfortune of being in Germany at the time war was declared, were imprisoned here along with European Jews with passports from the United States and Latin American. Polish internees arrived at Tittmoning with warnings of atrocities being committed, and it is believed that a group of Jews transferred from Bedzin Ghetto were murdered here in 1943, just three weeks after this card was posted. Pustelnik “yearns… to see my dear family,” and asks his relative to write- and to not forget about him. German and U.S. censor markings.
Envelope with red, white, and blue border, blue square with "BY AIR MAIL PAR AVION" written in white on left side, four gray and purple stamps marked "UGANDA."
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:A number of African countries which were part of the British Empire- Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, and Southern Rhodesia- held “enemy aliens” who were foreign residents and refugees. Special Camp Gilgil, however, north of Nairobi, held political detainees who were members of the Palestinian Jewish underground, such as Irgun or Lehi members, who were militantly opposed to British rule in Palestine, and Arabs who would deny the right of Jews to enter Palestine. Double ring Gilgil cancel, cover addressed to what appears to be a D. Gurion, care of W. Goldberg in New York. Date indistinct.
Front: 8 multi-colored stamps; 'by airmail' stamp; many handstamps. Back: Handwritten return address, three hand stamps and a large penciled in 't' or 'x'.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Cover sent from Jewish detainment camp in Mauritius to Hertzliah, sent registered air mail 11 July 1945 arriving at destination on 3 August. Addressed to Dr. Fritz Loewy, Beth Dranoff, Herzliah. "Written in German" indicated on front.
White envelope with a large faux stamp. The illustration inside the stamp is of people waiting in a long line. Titled, "La Rafle du Vel' d'Hiv."
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: FDC French Stamp Commemorating La Rafle Du Vel'D'Hiv ( Velodrome d'Hiver) which is the Raid of the Winter Velodrome or bicycling stadium in Paris. This was a Nazi decreed raid and mass arrest in Paris on July 16-17, 1942, aimed at the Jewish population in occupied France.13,152 men, women and children were arrested and held at the Velodrome d'Hiver and the Drancy Internment Camp nearby under deplorable conditions, then shipped by railway transports to Auschwitz for extermination.
Envelope with title, "Kriegsgafanyenpost" with address and message written in pencil.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Frontstalag 111, Drancy France. Censored lettercard sent by Jewish POW to his wife in Frontslag 142 Besancon. Drancy was French concentration camp with direct line to Auschwitz.