Today in Postal History


Siberia to Germany
January 15, 1920

This is a most unusual prisoner of war cover.
It was sent by a prisoner held by the United States Army Expeditionary Force
in the Base Prison Camp in Vladivostok.

I am not sure what the boxed stamp in the stamp's location is.
(It looks like it might be Korean?)
There is also what appears to be a Japanese inscription below along the right side of the cover.

The cover was censored and received a boxed censor stamp:

A. E. F. Siberia
Passed as Censored.
It appears that space was provided for the Censor to sign but this was not done.

The cover received a U.S. Postal Agency | Siberia duplex cancel.

The cover was destined for Fallersleben east of Hanover and about 20 km northeast of Braunschwieg.
The addressee would suggest that the letter was to a wife or possibly a mother.

I'm not sure why a German was taken prisoner in this location
but a number of ragtag units from Eastern Europe and the Austro-Hungarian empire
fled eastward when surrounded by Russian and/or Bolshevik troops during World War I and its aftermath.

President Wilson ordered an American Expeditionary Force to Siberia on July 6, 1918.
His rationale was to protect supplies and communications (the Trans-Siberian Railway)
and to aid the Czech Legion stranded in Siberia to return home.
There is an excellent account of  The U. S. Army in Russia 1918-1920
somewhere in the US Archives.
The link has, however, disappeared.  Your help in finding it would be greatly appreciated.


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