Page One

Mail posted by Nazi officials, their allies, their collaborators, and most of all, their victims and opponents, along with some collateral material, document the catastrophe that befell Europe after Adolf Hitler assumed power in Germany on January 30, 1933. This exhibit explores each phase of Nazi tyranny and aggression, with particular attention to persecution and mass murder of European Jews.

Disappearance of loved ones into concentration camps following arrest by the Gestapo (secret police) became a constant dread under Nazi rule. Notice of that terrible fate arrived by mail, usually without any explanation. Paul Oberleitner of Vienna had sent a registered letter to Hans Oberleitner of Innsbruck, as the September 3, 1941, sender’s receipt attests. But the letter wasn’t delivered to his relative at Innsbruck; it was forwarded to the location where he had been taken after his arrest, at Oranienburg near Berlin. A Nazi SS Hauptscharführer (master sergeant) guard signed the September 16 return receipt, which also has a censor’s hand-stamped circular swastika marking of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

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