Lot #: 143789

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EXTRAORDINARY WWII postal link - ROMANIA (don't they know there's a war on?): 13 MAY 1942 postmarked 12 Lei postal card, with German message dated 11 April sent from Nataly Cremnitzer in BUCHAREST to father Dr. Mayer Ebner in TEL AVIV; tied by local machine cancel & CENZURA EXTERNA censor machine cancel (of a type used on mail to & from Turkey, Hungary and Germany between Dec. 1941 and March 1943) + numbered circular cachet, likely a Romanian sorting number handstamp; subsequently censored in Palestine by the T5 censor in TEL AVIV.

The extraordinary element of this postal link is that Romania and Britain declared war on each other 6 months earlier, on 13 Dec. 1941, with mail to Romania being suspended - but uniquely among the Axis nations mail service from Romania to Palestine continuing(!) Romania actively perpetrated the Holocaust between 1941-1944. Nevertheless and astoundingly, as late as 5 March 1944 an internal memorandum by the Palestine Censor (Chief Censor's Codified Instruction No. 6A - cited in Morenweiser et. al. "British Empire Censorship part #3" p.97), referring to communication with persons in enemy territories (part #11) noted that while no mention could be made of a letter or telegram received from or written to enemy or enemy occupied territory... "Letters from Rumania may, however, be acknowledged so long as the direct post from that country continues" (an extraordinary policy distinction between enemy nations). The postcard was likely routed via neutral Turkey as other observed instances of mail from Axis countries although there are no transit marks on the postcard.

Of historical significance the correspondents are daughter and father: Mayer Ebner (Meir Avner, 1872–1955) was a journalist and Zionist leader in Romania; leader of the Jewish community of his hometown Czernowitz and leader of the Jewish members of the pre-WWII Romanian Parliament; a delegate to the 1st Zionist Congress, who emigrated to Palestine in late June 1940 and eventually attended the declaration of Israel's independence ceremony on 14 May 1948; by 1945 he was one of 10 surviving delegates to the 1st Congress, by 1954 one of only 3. In the message on the postcard his daughter writes "I know that you are desperate regarding us ... and waiting for news ... we write through Lichtheim & Blum." Richard Lichtheim was a German Zionist leader and representative of the Jewish Agency in Geneva; Blum - possibly Josef Blum - was a representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Hungary and Slovakia, who worked with Gisi Fleischman in the rescue of Jews. The mailing address is confirmed as Ebner's home address. The vertical fold in the postal card and the month long delay between the date of the message and the date of postal dispatch suggests that the postcard may have been couriered (i.e. from Czernowitz); Nataly emigrated to Israel with her husband in 1950.