The Samovar

1947 "Removed from the Box"

David Jay - 11/18/2017 at 14:12

The excellent Skipton et al. article in the latest Rossica illustrates a connection between censorship and "Extracted from the Box" markings. I noted a 1967 usage in an earlier post, though it was unclear whether that example, most of a month in transit across Riga, denoted censorship or merely confusion. This example, sent 25/3/1947 to Hainichen, Saxony (Former East, so Soviet zone) by a German working in Kimry, is a pretty clear example of a censor related use of a "Extracted from the Box" marking. Kimry is one of the locations noted in the article where military industry employed Germans, presumably on an involuntary basis, but better off than typical POWs, who corresponded on a very limited basis via special cards.
The reverse of this letter has two strips of tape sealing the letter. Given the sender (a German), what more could be done to attract the attention of the censors that to attempt to restrict entry? I originally thought the tape, tied by a 31/3/1947 Moscou P4 that is known as censor related, was applied by the censor. But almost certainly this is not correct, as censorship was covert. Note that the letter, franked at 50k, was not registered. It fits all of the criteria in the article, in terms of origin/sender, timing, and markings. The "Iz..." marking is similar to that shown in Figure 6b or the article, but bent (arched) in a peculiar fashion not shown in the example in the article, even though the mark in the article is later. What did they make these things from?

IzYashika_Kimry_1947_front.jpg - 202kB IzYashika_Kimry_1947_back.jpg - 98kB

David Jay - 11/18/2017 at 16:05

Another note -- as I read further in the latest Rossica (the article by A. Babochkin on German participation in Russian aviation history), I see that a letter from the same sender (Alfred Hagendorf) to the same person is the letter above is featured as Figure 1 on p. 113. That one was sent about 3 months earlier (31/12/1946) than the above, is registered, has the same shady Moscou P4 (25/1/1947) mark, has the same P/Ya6 PO Box return address, and has a receiver. It lacks the removed from the box mark, and it had a very long delay in Moscow. Perhaps they were just getting censorship organized for these workers? Finally, the circular 10b (above) in the receiver's address is 10 in the earlier letter. Perhaps also a PO Box?