In March of 1944,
postal authorities of the Łódź ghetto produced two sets of local
stamps picturing the Jewish Elder, Mordecai Chaim Rumkowski. Both
designs are inscribed "JUDENPOST LITZMANNSTADT-GHETTO." Hans
Biebow, the Nazi head of the ghetto administration, was a stamp and
money collector, which may account for the elegant designs of Łódź
ghetto scrip currency and coins. These stamp issues may have been
intended to appeal to his collecting habit, but if so, the idea
failed. On March 14 Biebow forbade further printing and use of the
stamps, and confiscated the unsold supply.
stamp on an envelope of Rumkowski, the Litzmannstadt ghetto Jewish
Elder, canceled March 11, 1944, with the Elder's date stamp,
addressed to Nazi administrator Biebow. Being a local stamp, it was
valid as postage only inside the ghetto. The address at Baluter Ring
was the location of the office where ghetto postal workers exchanged
mail with representatives of the German post office.
The fee for
collection or delivery of a letter in the ghetto was 20 pfennigs.
Michel lists and prices the JUDENPOST stamps only in unused
condition. Fewer than ten covers have been reported, and the
authenticity of several has been challenged. Scholars regard
examples bearing the cancellation shown here as genuine, but of
unknown origin. Only this cover and one other, also canceled March
11, were used before the date when Biebow ordered them withdrawn.
Michel states, "Examples with line perforation gauge 11˝ probably
originate from a private initiative," but this cover offers evidence
that the perforations were intentionally applied at the direction of
the Elder. next >>