The Paper Trail: World War II in Holland and its Colonies
as seen through Mail and Documents

by Kees Adema RDP FRPSL and Jeffrey Groeneveld

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This book tells the story of the postal history of Holland and its colonies during World War 2 in a fresh and compelling way. A myriad of correspondence has been unearthed from family records, and the book weaves together the evidence from mail and other documents into a distinctive narrative.

Kees Adema RDP FRPSL and Jeffrey Groeneveld

The number of publications about World War II has greatly increased during the last few years as writers and families are racing to record the experiences of the steadily decreasing number of survivors before they have left us for good. The authors of this book are showing the war’s events by analysing letters and documents combining the philatelic with the personal aspect both individually and collectively. It is a combination of “postal” and “history”, indeed postal history.

They not only used material from their own extensive collections but from other collectors and institutions who generously shared their holdings.
 

Kees Adema and Jeffrey Groeneveld, both members of the Dutch Academy for Philately, have the backgrounds to undertake such a large project.
Adema has four books to his credit including the “Times of Turmoil” trilogy for which he received the prestigious Crawford Medal and he has written countless articles on postal history. Groeneveld has written extensively about World War II and is a contributing columnist to the Dutch monthly Filatelie. Both give presentations about the subject of World War II regularly.
World War II is very personal to both authors albeit from different perspectives. While Kees Adema’s family lived in Arnhem during Operation Market Garden, Jeffrey Groeneveld’s resided in the Dutch East Indies during the Japanese occupation. It adds a poignant aspect that will not escape the reader.
 

INTRODUCTION
FOREWORD
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
PREFACE - KEES ADEMA
PREFACE - JEFFREY GROENEVELD
PROLOGUE
MAP OF HOLLAND
MAP OF DUTCH EAST INDIES
CHAPTER 1 – PRELUDE TO WAR IN HOLLAND
1.1 Fall Weiss: German Attack on Poland
1.2 The Free City of Danzig and ABP Königsberg
1.3 The First Dutch Casualties
1.4 Operation Weserubung: German Occupation of Denmark and Norway
1.5 Dutch Mobilisation
1.6 Field Post
1.7 Darkening Clouds and Warning Signs Missed
1.8 Notes
1.9 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 2 – FALL GELB: BATTLE OF HOLLAND
2.1 Effect of Invasion on Domestic Mail
2.2 Government Mail
2.3 Dutch Surrender
2.3.1 The Bombing of Rotterdam: Epilogue
2.4 Incoming German Mail
2.5 A New Wind is Blowing from the East
2.6 Pigeon Perils
2.7 Wife of the Exiled Emperor
CHAPTER 3 – SEVERED CONNECTIONS
3.1 Within Europe (1940)
3.1.1 Germany
3.1.2 Sudetenland
3.1.3 Great Britain
3.1.4 Denmark
3.1.5 Neutral Sweden and Switzerland
3.1.6 Belgium
3.1.7 Estonia
3.1.8 Liechtenstein
3.1.9 Romania
3.1.10 France
3.1.11 Restoration of International Surface Mail
3.2 Between Holland and its Colonies (1940)
3.2.1 Last KLM Connection
3.2.2 Air Mail and Surface Mail Halted
3.2.3 Curaçao
3.2.4 Suriname
3.3 Non-European Countries (1940)
3.3.1 USA Surface Mail
3.3.2 Transatlantic Flights Halted
3.3.3 KLM Flights from Middle East
3.3.4 China
3.4 New Developments in Europe
3.4.1 The Balkans
3.4.2 Operation Barbarossa: Attack on the Soviet Union and the Baltic States
3.4.3 German Postal Bans
3.5 Notes
3.6 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 4 – THE USA ENTERS THE WAR
4.1 Pre-Pearl Harbor
4.2 Pan Am’s Flying Clipper Boats
4.3 Forty Minutes to Pearl: Pan Am’s Anzac Clipper
4.4 Consequences of Pearl Harbor in the Pacific and the Dutch East Indies
4.5 Consequences of Pearl Harbor in the Atlantic
4.6 Switzerland – Surface and Air
4.7 Broken Connection with South America
4.8 Dutch East Indies to USA
4.9 Curaçao to USA
4.10 Mail to and from Java
4.10.1 West Africa to Java
4.10.2 Curaçao to Java
4.10.3 Australia to Java
4.10.4 Java to Japan
4.11 Allied Invasion of Italy
4.12 Notes
4.13 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 5 – DELAYED DELIVERY
5.1 Surface Mail Service between Holland and the Dutch East Indies Restored by Ship via Italy
5.2 Surface Mail Service between Holland and the Dutch East Indies via Trans-Siberian and Trans-Manchurian Railways
5.2.1 Surface Postcard Mail: the Asscher-Heymans Story
5.2.2 Surface Letter Mail
5.3 The Railway Option via China
5.4 Other Delayed Connections to and from Holland
5.4.1 Holland to USA, Delayed in Great Britain
5.4.2 Paramaribo to Maastricht
5.4.3 Amsterdam via Manila to Singapore
5.5 Air mail to and from the Dutch East Indies
5.5.1 The Lydda Connection
5.5.2 The China Connection
5.5.3 The Horseshoe Route
5.5.4 The Red Cross: Air Mail to Baghdad, Train to Switzerland
5.6 Mail from or via France Delayed Eight Years
5.7 A Braille Rara Avis
5.8 Delayed Domestic Mail: the Sinking of the SS Groningen IV
5.9 Notes
5.10 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 6 – UNDERCOVER ADDRESSES AND POST OFFICE BOXES
6.1 Europe
6.2 To and from the Dutch East Indies
6.3 South America and USA
6.4 Notes
6.5 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 7 – JEWISH ESCAPE ROUTE VIA HOLLAND AND THOSE WHO STAYED BEHIND
7.1 The Escape Route via Holland
7.2 The Voyage of the Damned
7.3 The Identity Card
7.4 The Jewish Advisory Council
7.5 Israel and Sara
7.6 Bartering Lives for Money
7.7 Confiscation of Jewish-owned Assets
7.8 Gibraltar Camp, Jamaica
7.9 The Royal Netherlands Brigade Princess Irene
7.10 Notes
7.11 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 8 – REFUGEE CAMPS AND GHETTOS
8.1 Refugee Centres
8.2 Westerbork Central Refugee Camp
8.3 Anti-Jewish Measures
8.4 Ghettos
8.4.1 Litzmannstadt
8.4.2 Theresienstadt
8.4.3 Izbica
8.5 Notes
8.6 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 9 – CAMPS IN HOLLAND
9.1 Westerbork Transit Camp
9.1.1 Hans Calmeyer, Good or Bad?
9.1.2 The Story of Alexander and Lotte Holländer
9.2 Amersfoort Police Transit Camp
9.3 Camp Vught
9.3.1 The Bunker Tragedy
9.4 Notes
9.5 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 10 – GERMAN INTERNEES IN DUTCH CAMPS
10.1 The Dutch East Indies
10.1.1 The Van Imhoff Disaster
10.1.2 Connections Severed
10.2 The Dutch Antilles
10.2.1 The Cabo de Hornos at Camp Suffisant
10.3 Suriname
10.4 Notes
10.5 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 11 – HOSTAGES AND PRISONERS
11.1 Hostages
11.1.1 J.M. Nelissen, an Indies Hostage
11.2 The “Oranje Hotel”
11.2.1 The Frans van Beveren Story
11.3 Notes
CHAPTER 12 – PRISONERS OF WAR, FORCED LABOURERS AND INTERNEES
12.1 Stammlager and Offizierlager
12.1.1 Special Postage Stamps Voor Krijgsgevangenen
12.2 Forced Labour Camps
12.2.1 Dutch Postal Workers in Germany
12.3 Concentration and Extermination Camps
12.3.1 A “Postal Worker” in Dachau
12.4 Back to Holland
12.5 Those Who Did Not Return
12.6 Notes
12.7 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 13 – JAPANESE CAMPS
13.1 Background
13.2 Family Separations
13.3 Transfers
13.4 Foreign Mail to Camps on Java
13.5 The Thai-Burma Railway
13.6 Hell Ships and Camps in Japan
13.6.1 The Wout Watts Story
13.6.2 The Steven van Welie Story
13.7 Pakan Baroe
13.8 Post-War
13.9 Notes
13.10 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 14 – GERMAN CONTROL OVER THE MAIL
14.1 Deutsche Dienstpost Niederlanden (DDPN)
14.2 Feldpost: the War as Seen through German Eyes
14.3 Postal Agreement of 19 October 1942
14.3.1 Telephone and Postgiro Services
14.4 Fan Mail to a Dutch Movie Star
14.5 Permanent Court of International Justice, The Hague
14.6 The Dutch SS Legion
14.7 DDPN Uberroller
14.8 Notes
14.9 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 15 – CENSORSHIP – PART 1
15.1 Background
15.2 Chemical Censorship
15.3 Foreign Exchange Control
15.4 Enclosures and Labels
15.5 Notes
15.6 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 16 – CENSORSHIP – PART 2
16.1 Handstamps
16.2 Schnellpostprufstelle
16.3 German Censorship on Inland Dutch Mail
16.4 Notes
16.5 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 17 – CENSORSHIP – PART 3
17.1 Berlin Auslandsbriefprufstelle
17.2 Gestapo
17.3 Censorship in Denmark
17.4 Notes
17.5 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 18 – ALLIED ADVANCE AND PARTIAL LIBERATION 1944-1945
18.1 5 September, 1944: Mad Tuesday (Dolle Dinsdag)
18.2 Arnhem Uberroller
18.3 Operation Market Garden – a Country Divided
18.4 Roermond Uberroller
18.5 Uncertain Connections
18.6 Battle of the Scheldt Estuary (Province of Zeeland)
18.7 Inundations and Evacuations
18.8 Eindhoven Censorship
18.9 International Uberroller
18.10 Provisional Handstamps
18.11 USA Army Postal Service, V-Mail
18.12 Liberation Stamps
18.13 Notes
18.14 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 19 – ROLE OF THE RED CROSS
19.1 Mail from German Camps
19.2 Enquiries (Holland and the Dutch East Indies)
19.3 POW Mail from Southeast Asia
19.4 Inadmissible Address or Language
19.5 After Operation Market Garden
19.6 Censorship
19.7 The Flushing (Vlissingen) - Dordrecht Boat Connection
19.8 Red Cross Uberroller
19.9 Wallega and Goudsmit Sagas
19.10 Red Cross Mail Carried by Third Parties
19.11 Red Cross-Liberation Issue Combination
19.12 Princess Margriet Fund
19.13 Campaigns “South Helps North” and “Red Cross Aid Action”
19.14 Post-War Danish Help: Hollands Hjalpen and Red Barnet (Save the Children)
19.15 Notes
19.16 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 20 –THE APPROACHING END
20.1 By Horse and Man
20.2 Government Courier Service
20.3 Partial PTT Involvement
20.4 The Bombing of Bezuidenhout, The Hague
20.5 Winter Relief and Human Services
20.6 Boy Scouts and Firemen
20.7 Dutch Machine Postmarks with Slogans during the Nazi Era
20.8 The Hongerwinter (Hunger Winter or the Dutch Famine of 1944-1945)
20.9 Notes
20.10 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 21 – LIBERATED HOLLAND
21.1 Allied Civil Affairs and Military Authority
21.2 Post-War investigations
21.3 Post-War Censorship 1945
21.4 Monetary Reform
21.5 Censorship after 1945
21.6 Notes
21.7 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 22 – POST WAR MAIL SERVICE
22.1 Restoration of Domestic Mail Service
22.1.1 Inland Mail via Netherlands Air Forces
22.2 Foreign Mail Service: Restoration and Restrictions
22.2.1 Italy
22.2.2 Germany
22.2.3 Great Britain
22.2.4 Switzerland
22.2.5 Norway
22.2.6 Sweden
22.2.7 Czechoslovakia
22.3 British Involvement with the Mail
22.4 Exchange with Belgium
22.5 National Office for War Documentation
22.6 Notes
22.7 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 23 - OBSTACLES TO RESTORING MAIL SERVICES
23.1 Language Restrictions
23.2 Currency Regulations
23.3 Permits for Franked Service Mail
23.4 Paper and Cardboard Shortages, Provisional Cards
23.4.1 Paper Shortage
23.4.2 Cardboard Shortage
23.4.3 Registration Labels
23.4.4 Laren Provisional
23.5 COVAL
23.6 Notes
23.7 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 24 – THE DUTCH EAST INDIES LIBERATED
24.1 Chaotic Freedom
24.1.1 SS Nieuw Amsterdam
24.1.2 MV Oranje
24.2 Dutch New Guinea, Merauke
24.3 Restoration of Service from Holland
24.3.1 Surface Mai
24.3.2 Air Mail
24.4 Stamp Shortage, RAPWI (Recovery Allied Prisoners of War and Internees)
24.5 American Bank Note Company
24.6 Dutch POW Enquiries
24.7 Home Guard Member De Groot
24.8 New Conflict
24.9 Notes
24.10 Postal Rates
CHAPTER 25 – AFTERMATH
25.1 Vignettes from the War
25.2 Camps for Dutch Collaborators and German POWs
25.3 Missing Persons and Enquiries
25.4 The Stain of the Sworn Statement
25.5 Notes
25.6 Postal Rates
EPILOGUE
ABBREVIATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
 

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