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WWII Christmas cards delivered 71 years late
Photo: DPA

WWII Christmas cards delivered 71 years late

Published: 19 Dec 2012 14:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Dec 2012 14:37 GMT+01:00

Christmas greetings from German soldiers occupying the British island of Jersey during the Second World War have finally been delivered 71 years later.

Stolen by a group of island youths in December 1941 as an act of defiance against the Nazis, the holiday letters first resurfaced in 2006. Now, after Jersey's historical archive has catalogued their content, they have been sent on to their intended destinations in Germany.

"Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year wishes you Soldier Emil Adam. Greetings to Maier, Fischer and Melcher," read a letter yellow with age delivered to Engelbert Josef Bergmann in Mühlheim am Main in the state of Hesse.

Addressed to his grandfather, the letter's innocuous holiday message sent a wave of relief through the farmer.

"You don't really know what to feel," Bergmann said, after reading the letter.

Germany's mail service Deutsche Post said some of the recently delivered letters had been rejected by people fearing they would expose the Nazi fervour of their relatives or neighbours during the war.

In total, 86 Christmas messages disappeared at the time.

"The archive asked us this year to deliver as many letters as possible to the addressees or their descendants," said Michael McNally from the Jersey postal service.

Bergmann said he planned to pass on the soldier's holiday greetings seven decades later.

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:06 December 19, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
No doubt delivered opened as usual. The usual little peephole torn on the side to check for money which has become tradition on all foreign post to Germany.
16:01 December 19, 2012 by jg.
Berlin fuer alles "The usual little peephole torn on the side to check for money which has become tradition on all foreign post to Germany."

I thought it was just me - although some of my foreign post is simply ripped open, rather than the more subtle peephole.
16:30 December 19, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Nope. Been happening to me for years. One would almost think the Stasi were still in operation. However this time I think it is simply petty theft on the part of DP employees working at the sorting office.
19:11 December 19, 2012 by DOZ
71 years to mail a letter. Don't worry Putin, Germany will be easy as well.
15:39 January 4, 2013 by ErnestPayne
Fascinating. Another area of interest to my friends collecting Channel Islands, GB, and German postal history. Thanks for the story. Oh, and thanks for the information about the small holes in German mail. Never knew that.
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