Soviet Censorship During the Great Patriotic War

by Per-Christian Wallén, Posted: 2018-10-14 Samovar Email the Link to this Exhibit


Exhibit Categories: CensorshipSovietMilitary


Soviet Censorship During the Great Patriotic War

The German attack at the USSR the 22nd of June 1941 was the start of the histories biggest and bloodiest conflict. The exhibit will show the postal censorship that was introduced as a result of the war after the attack the 22nd of June 1941 until the end of 1945 when normal situation was re-established. It neither shows the censorship that irregularly appears in the Baltic countries in 1940/41, nor the censorship of field post until 1953 or prisoner of war mail.

The collection systemizes and shows examples of the Soviet censorship during the great patriotic war. The war in Russia is known as the "Great Patriotic War." The collection is divided in international correspondence, rear area and field post. For the rear area section, it is subdivided in the European and Asian part of the USSR. The field post is subdivided in field post sorting points, naval post bases and field post bases. The exhibition is based on own research, supported by new information published on Russian sites. Most of the censor cancels are translated as "Examined by war censor". The location names used are as it was called during these years.

The NKVD (National Committee of Internal Affairs) was responsible for the censorship. All mail was censored, with some few exceptions in the beginning of the war. The censorship is almost always performed at the senders' site. The cancels are struck at address side of postcards/stationery, and the backside for letters. Censor stripes are rare, and are usually used in 1941, or on mail going abroad. The most common way to close letters was to use glue where it was opened (usually at the right side). The triangular letters (triugolnik) was usually used for field post, and the censorship is only visible by means of the censor cancel. The censor could also delete parts of the text that was not allowed. The censorship is performed at three different organizational places. They are at oblast/krai (county), field post sorting point, and field post base. The navy had similar organisations as the army.