The following excerpt is based on Dr. Justin Gordon’s book Holocaust Postal History (www.holopostal.com). Thanks to Dr. Gordon and editor Jennifer Murtoff for compiling and submitting this story.
One of the very first Holocaust covers I obtained is pictured here. It intrigued me because it had the Hebrew word Hagibor in the address. Hagibor means “strength,” and I wondered why it was in the address of a Nazi-era postal card. A gentleman at a stamp club meeting explained that Hagibor had been a Jewish sports camp outside of Prague.
This did not make sense in the context of a Holocaust cover until I read an article that indicated that Hagibor was indeed a Jewish sports camp that became a Sonderlager for Jews married to non-Jews. Prisoners in Hagibor generally wrote on postcards and were limited to 32 words. The censor read the cards, numbered the words, and then signed his initials on the card.
For several years I searched for a postcard from Hagibor with numbered words. Finally, at one show I found a card from the camp addressed to Marta Schleissner. With great anticipation, I turned over the card and found a message containing 30 words, each with a number above it, and the censor’s initials in the lower left, as described in the article I’d read.
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