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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 2, 2008
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Letters of the Warsaw Uprising
April 2, 2008   
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The Warsaw Uprising Museum is exhibiting a new collection of letters that were sent in World War II through the Warsaw Field Post during the city's 1944 uprising against the occupying Germans. The collection will be on display until July 31.

The Field Post operated in Warsaw from Aug. 6 to Sept. 30, 1944, or almost throughout the uprising, which lasted from Aug. 1 until Oct. 2. The service was organized to provide communication between districts of the city. Mail was delivered by 12- to 15-year-old scouts. Risking their lives, they picked up letters from 40 or so mail boxes around the city and carried them to their destination. Overall, the scouts handled about 140,000 letters during the uprising, or about 3,700 per day.

The Warsaw Uprising Museum bought the collection at the Ulrich Felzmann Briefmarken Auktionnen auction house in Düsseldorf, Germany, in February. The collection previously belonged to a private German collector. The Polish Ministry of Culture and many private sponsors helped the museum purchase the collection for 190,000 euros.

The exhibition, entitled in Listy z Powstania (Letters From the Uprising), features 150 items. They include postmarks, letters and envelopes. There are also recorded accounts of surviving mailmen, maps with mail routes marked on them and photographs from the days of the uprising. Magnifying glasses are available by the display cases to help visitors examine the exhibits in detail. It is also possible to listen to recordings of the letter contents.

Historian and former foreign minister Władysław Bartoszewski, a Warsaw Uprising veteran, said, "These are originals of letters handwritten by people who lived at the time. These are genuine mementos of those days-something completely different from a book or memories written many years later."

Magdalena Błaszczyk
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