Upon arrival at concentration camps, prisoners were handed postcards with a standard message prepared by the Nazis. The prisoners added their signatures and the addresses of relatives still in ghettos or labor camps. Most of the people who received these postcards understood that the message was meaningless, except it indicated that the individual was still alive. All writing on the card had to be in German so that Nazi censors could review it. Not all prisoners or recipients knew German. Packages sent to concentration camp prisoners that contained money, food, or other valuable items were confiscated.
Postcard from Josef Bieniek
The Camp Commandant:
My exact address:
Prisoner: Bieniek Josef
ROTATED TEXT: Mailings without numbers and blocks will not be delivered.
FRONT - LEFT SIDE:
Concentration Camp Hamburg-Neuengamme
A summary of the camp rules:
Every prisoner is allowed to receive and send two letters or two postcards a month. A letter shouldn't contain more than 4 pages of 15 lines (on each page) and should be orderly and easy to read. Mailings (letters), that do not meet these requirements, will not be mailed or delivered.
Parcels are allowed to be received, except for alcoholic beverages.
Mailings without (the name of the) sender will not be delivered.
Money mailings are allowed.
FRONT - RIGHT SIDE:
The date on the stamp: May 6, 1943
German text: Postcard
Written text: To Sir
My dear! I am in good health. I send you my cordial greetings. I can receive unlimited parcels. You ask whether I smoke. Yes. Write to me about how Uncle is. Until now I received three parcels and 40 RM [Reichsmark]. In the end, I send you my cordial greetings for the whole family and all my relatives.
Postcard from Tadeusz Borkowski
FRONT - LEFT SIDE
The following regulations have to be followed when corresponding with detainees:
Each protected detainee is entitled to receive and/or send two letters or two cards a month from his/her relatives. The letters to the detainees have to be easily readable, written in ink, and may contain only up to 15 lines on one page. Only one letter-size sheet is allowed. Envelopes must have no lining. In each letter only up to 5 postal stamps @ 12 pfennigs may be enclosed. Everything else is forbidden and subject to confiscation. Postcards have 10 lines. Photographs may not be used as postcards.
Money orders are allowed.
Care must be taken to mark each letter or money order with the accurate address consisting of name, date of birth, and prisoner's number. If the address contains errors, the item will be sent back to the sender or destroyed.
Newspapers are allowed, but can only be ordered through the postal service of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Parcels may not be sent, because detainees can buy everything in the camp.
Requests to the camp administration for release from protective custody are useless.
Permission to speak or visits of detainees in the concentration camp are not allowed as a matter of principle.”
The Camp Commandant:
My exact address:
Prisoner: Borkowski Tadeusz
Number: 64361 Block: 38
Born 24.4.1899 (April 24, 1899)
Oranienburg Concentration camp in Berlin
FRONT - RIGHT SIDE
To: Frau Borkowska Stefania
Handstamp translates as inspected.
Sachsenhausen, April 26, 1943.
My dearest Stefi, Izia, parents, Janka and Jurek!
I wanted to let you know that I have been in since April 23 in Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen near Berlin. I am healthy and I hope you are as well. Sending parcels is allowed, unlimited in number and size. Why don’t my parents and brother write to me? Thank Maryska Romek and her parents for the parcel. Kisses from me - Izia, Janka, Jurek. Write to me more often and in detail about anything new and how your health is doing. I kiss you cordially, think about God and also about your and Iza's health.
Kisses and kind regards, Your Tadeusz
Stating that items could be purchased at the Concentration Camp incited relatives to send money. The card claimed that the inmates are in “protective custody”, a joke, while really they are actively abused and starved. The Nazi papers are filled with propaganda and don’t report any real information.