The Samovar

Bureau Russe in Tunisia

David Jay - 12/31/2015 at 01:14

eBay item 272089826664 at:

tells an interesting story. It argues that a SL marking "Bureau Russe"
was applied in a Wrangel refugee camp in Bizerte, Tunisia. General Alexeeff is
mentioned on the card, top left (front) and in the text on the reverse.
The idea that Wrangell overprints (as stated in the write-up of the card) would be cancelled in Bizerte seems unlikely -- has anyone seen such an example?
I have one of these marks Bureau Russe on a card from Tunisia --- somewhere. I asked around about it maybe
20 yrs ago, and no one had any suggestions. So I put it somewhere. It will turn up, eventually.

Can anyone provide more information on this card??

IvoSteijn - 1/1/2016 at 13:52

Not much I can add to the great write-up of the card. On the nature of this "Bureau Russe", this article may be a good reference, if you can find it (and read Russian):
Marina A. Panova, “ История руcckοй эмиграции «первой волны» в Тунисе ”, Cahiers du monde russe 3/2005 (Vol 46) , p. 545-576

Addition: The article is available online at the site of the Cahiers du Monde Russe. No mention of a "Russian Bureau in it, nor of a postal service, of course.... 6000 Russian landed in Bizerte in December 1920 and left as soon as possible. By 1924 most of them were gone.

David Jay - 1/1/2016 at 13:55

Thanks, Ivo. Now if I could just fine the letter I have....

David Jay - 1/1/2016 at 13:58

The article was easy to find online. Have to figure out how to download the whole thing. Here is the abstract:

The History of “White Russian” emigration to Tunisia.
The history of Russian emigration to Tunisia started in the winter of 1920-1921, when 33 ships of the Russian Imperial Squadron with 6,000 refugees docked in Bizerte after the White Army’s defeat in the Civil War and the evacuation of the Crimea. That event marked the formation of the first Russian colony in Tunisia, resulting from the emigration of Russian members of the military who had fought against the Bolsheviks during the Civil War. Until the end of 1924, the life of this community essentially organized itself around the Russian navy. The article studies the history of this immigration and describes the various aspects of the lives of Tunisia’s “White Russian” refugees. It closely examines questions related to the presence of the Russian squadron in the Bizerte harbor, describes the lives of sailors and their families, evokes the plight of ships, etc. How did the Russians live in colonial Tunisia ? What was their place in Tunisian society ? What cultural heritage have they left ? These questions guide the author’s study of social, economic, legal, cultural, and religious problems related to their integration into the host country.

IvoSteijn - 1/1/2016 at 14:04

David, it took me some searching as well. If you click the cover of the journal issue, you get a table of contents with a download link for each article.

David Jay - 1/3/2016 at 12:56


Russians in Bizerte

stamplover - 1/3/2016 at 15:12

There was an interesting article in "Filokartia" (in Russian) a few years ago about the community of Russian emigres in Tunisia. Lots of information. If Greg does not find it, I could try. I think anything "philatelic" or related to "Russian Post" is a bogus.

GregMirsky - 1/7/2016 at 01:49

I have all issues of "Filocartia", but could not find the article you talking about (may be it was not obvious from the title or I did not look carefully). Can you point me to the year/issue? I will be happy to provide a scan if somebody needs it.