Sunday, December 21, 2008

Philately undeterred by a world war!


During World War II, Luxembourg stamp dealer Karl Bormes, at 22 Philippgasse in Luxembourg-Ville, continued to supply the needs of collectors throughout the Reich.  This is documented by his beautifully franked COD-shipment covers, many of which collectors saved.  Here are a few such covers from my collection:

August 25, 1944, to Berlin

(just 3 weeks before the liberation of Luxembourg)


Within a week of the posting of this shipment, the Nazi administration in Luxembourg collapsed.  Nonetheless, Mr. Bormes sent this 18.20 RM COD shipment to a philatelist in war torn Berlin, where it was received a couple days later on August 27, 1944. 


Perhaps collecting stamps provided a welcome diversion from the bleakness of living in the capital of the Reich, which was subject to frequent aerial bombing by British from November 1943 to March 1944 (the so-called 'Battle of Berlin').  In my mind is the image of a devoted stamp collector huddled in a bomb shelter with a favorite album.

The poor quality of the envelope  is emblematic of the paper shortages at the end of the occupation notwithstanding the lavish franking:  (i) the 54-Rpf + 96-Rpf Hitler's 55th birthday semi-postal; (ii) the 12-Rpf + 8-Rpf Innsbruck marksmanship contest semi-postal; and (iii) an 8-Rpf Hitler head pay the 74-Rpf postage and fees.  Here is the explication of the rate:

                                      24-Rpf  20-250-g letter to the Reich
                                                        30-Rpf  registry fee
                                                        20-Rpf  COD fee

April 26, 1944, to Innsbruck


A similar 74-rpf COD shipment to Innsbruck in annexed Austria, received April 28, 1944.  In addition to the 50-Rpf. Hitler head, the franking includes the 12-Rpf + 38 Rpf. Robert Koch centenary semi-postal and the 12-Rpf + 38 Rpf. 1200th anniversary of Fulda semi-postal.

October 10, 1943, to Nürnberg


A third 74-rpf COD shipment, this time to Nürnberg in the Reich.  The franking is the 50-Rpf + 50-Rpf high value of the 12-stamp Army Day semi-postal set showing a speed boat and a 24-Rpf. Hitler head.

Could anyone provide a photo of Mr. Bormes and more information about what became of him after the war?  I'd be grateful for your help.

No comments: