Wartime communication between family members and friends - desperate to maintain contact with one another- was notoriously difficult. Mail from Germany and its occupied countries to England, for example, would be prohibited, considered as mail to the enemy. Organizations, businesses, governments-in-exile, and resistance groups would as well require a means to get the mail through. Hence, undercover addresses in neutral countries such as Switzerland and Portugal would be utilized to re-route mail to its intended destination. For example, mail to the Polish government in exile in Great Britain would be sent to a specific undercover address in Lisbon in neutral Portugal, and from there it would be conveyed to its intended recipient. Indeed, Lisbon was a destination for a number of undercover addresses, as London was a destination for many governments-in-exile. The Polish government-in-exile would have made arrangements with their post offices in Lisbon or in Turkey to secure mail from Poland, which would have been occupied by the Germans. In turn small items could be sent to friends or relatives in Poland using fictitious names of individuals, businesses or charitable organizations.
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
Browse the Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection.
Front: White postcard with black printed postcard lines and writing in black ink. Includes brown and red postage stamps as well as one purple and several black hand stamps.Back: Message written in black ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Censored in Munich. Used Deutsche Post Osten overprints on Hindenburg stamps. Communicating between enemy-occupied territories and allied nations was extremely difficult during World War II. Yet friends and family were desperate to maintain contact with one another. Organizations, resistance groups and governments-in-exile would also utilize undercover addresses in neutral countries like Switzerland or Portugal, thus not indicating the true destination of their correspondence. The mail from these undercover addresses would then be routed to their intended destination.
Front: A white envelope with writing in purple ink. Includes a blue postage stamp, a black hand stamp and censor tape, as well as several markings in orange and green.Back: Includes censor tape and black mailing stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: This address in neutral Portugal was operated by Thomas Cook and Son, Ltd., the London travel agency.
Front: A white postcard with black printed postcard lines and typewritten address. Includes a pink pasted stamp of Adolf Hitler, as well as several red, purple and black hand stamps.Back: Typewritten message with signature in black ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Communicating between enemy-occupied territories and allied nations was made extremely difficult during World War II. Any communication with enemy countries was expressly forbidden by Germany in 1940 and could be labeled high treason, resulting in the death penalty. Yet friends and family were desperate to maintain contact with one another. Similarly, Jewish organizations, resistance groups and governments-in-exile took risks by using undercover addresses in neutral countries, which did not indicate the true destination of the correspondence. For example, a common means of sending mail from Nazi-occupied areas to loved ones in Great Britain was to use the Thomas Cook office in Lisbon, which used the undercover address of POB 506 for mail to be forwarded to the Thomas Cook office in Great Britain and redirected with a label of the final destination. Lisbon's status as a neutral country made it a choice deestination for many undercover addresses; for example, the Dutch Air Force, Polish Red Cross, and Alfred Schwarzbaum of Lausanne Switzerland, who carried out Jewish relief services as well as secret support for the Jewish underground in Poland.
White envelope with writing in black ink. Includes several black hand stamps and censor tape.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: A censored cover to one of the undercover addresses for the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico during World War II.
Letter: Typewritten note in English on off-white paper. Includes a signature in black ink and a note in blue ink.Envelope Front: Brown envelope with typewritten address, blue postage stamp and several black hand stamps.Envelope Back: Includes a printed seal with the lion and the unicorn and a black hand stamp.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Cohen trained as a code breaker at Bletchley and, after learning Japanese, served in naval intelligence. A fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, Cohen was a philosopher who made contributions to the fields of law, logic, and epistemology.
Front: A white envelope with writing in blocky black ink. Includes a blue postage stamp, a black hand stamp, and censor tape.Back: Includes censor tape in both German and English.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: This was the undercover address (generally assumed to have been run by Thomas Cook and Co.) used for mail from Germany to Canada prior to US entry into the war. Mail was sent on from there under separate cover, as evidenced by the lack of re-direction and the presence of Canadian censor tapes on the German covers.