Postcard from Dachau


Receiving a postcard is always a nice event. Be it for your birthday, a card from someone on their holidays, a season‘s greeting, or just someone keeping in touch.

It is like getting a present which has emotional rather than monetary value. And often  you want to repay this act of kindness, by also sending something back, maybe a parcel or a magazine or just another card.

But what if the card comes from one of the most desperate places on earth, and what if there is a whole set of rules to take into consideration before you can send anything? What if the card was received from Dachau?

I can’t read the name of the sender clearly but I believe the sender was Joh. Ludwig Messinger in Block 20 and the addressee was Ignaz Messinger from Vienna.

It may look like an ordinary card but there is so much more to this simple piece of thick paper. To the addressee, it is a sign of the life of the person who sent it to him. It is also an indication that life in Dachau was under the total control of those who ran the camp.

On the left side of the card is a set of rules for inmates in the camp.

Concentration Camp Dachau 3K

The following orders are to be given in correspondence with prisoners:

  1. Every prisoner in protective custody may receive and send letters to and from his relatives twice a month or twice. The letter to the inmates must be legibly written in ink and can only be 15 lines or less. Only allowed is only one normal size letterhead. Envelopes must be unlined. A letter can only be stamped with 5 stamps of 12 pfennig. Everything else is forbidden and subjected to confiscation. Postcards can only have 10 lines, photographs are not permitted to be used as postcards.
  2. Money transfers are permitted.
  3. Deliveries are permitted, but may only be ordered via the post office of the Concentration Camp Dachau.
  4. Parcels are not allowed to be sent as the prisoners can buy everything in the camp.
  5. Requests to the camp management for inmates to be released from protective detention are futile.
  6. Permission to speak and visits by prisoners of the Concentration Camp are fundamentally forbidden.

Any mail that does not meet these requirements will be destroyed.


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