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La poste en Moselle 1940 - 1945 (volume 2)

" The post in Moselle 1940 - 1945 " (volume 2)
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The French campaign was launched by HITLER in May 1940, but since the declaration of war on September 1, 1939, all Moselle residents (just like the Alsatians) living between the border and the Maginot Line, a zone called the "RED ZONE", had been ordered to evacuate their region. This evacuation concerned part of the districts of Sarreguemines, Forbach, Boulay and Thionville, i.e. 302,732 people from 300 communes (out of 765) representing 45% of the population of Moselle, who for the most part took the direction of the Charente and the Vienne departments.

Violating the armistice conditions of June 22, 1940, Hitler claimed Alsace and Moselle, depriving France of any right of sovereignty over these territories. From then on, the ruthless Nazi administration was put in place, crushing any hint of resistance. On August 16, 1940, the expulsion of nearly 280,000 Lorraine residents, some of whom were not of Moselle origin, began. Their businesses were placed under the control of provisional administrators and their property confiscated. Then, on September 21, Gauleiter Joseph BURCKEL, Reich’s Commissioner in Lorraine, made his official entry into METZ; the event was greeted by the Reichspost who put into service the illustrated postmark "Porte des Allemands". The rapid germanization of Lorraine was underway: the French language was banned, and German first names and even surnames were substituted for French first names and surnames. On January 25, 1941, the French names of Moselle localities were replaced by the German names used before 1918.

On August 15, 1940, the whole former French post office of Moselle was incorporated into the Deutsche Reichspost and the German stamps with the effigy of Marshal Hindenburg overprinted "Lothringen" replaced the French stamps. Since not all the offices were regularly supplied, the French stamps remained valid on August 15, 16 and 17, 1940. Because of this and for three days only, mixed frankings composed of German and French stamps were authorized. The post offices were initially provided with temporary German rubber stamps. However, post offices were only gradually supplied and the French postmarks remained in use for some time. However, the largest offices were equipped very early with definitive postmarks. Illustrated postmarks appeared in a number of tourist destinations and were also used for Nazi propaganda at various events. The railways post was also re-established in August 1940, but the definitive railways postmarks did not appear until October 1, 1941.

The German National Socialist Workers' Party (NSDAP) quickly established itself in Lorraine and workers were invited to join the German Labor Front (DAF). From April 23, 1941, 18-year-old Lorrainers were obliged to serve six months in the German Labor Service (RAD). Finally, on August 19, 1942, in Winitza in Ukraine, Hitler and the two Gauleiter Bürckel (Moselle) and Wagner (Alsace) signed the decree instituting compulsory military service for Alsatian-Lorrains: approximately 30,000 men were incorporated into the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS against their will (“Malgré-Nous”) and 10,000 Lorrainers paid for this forced commitment with their lives.

All these events have left an indelible mark on Moselle philately and marcophily of that time. This book remains an indispensable reference for those interested in the postal history of this period. Volume 1 contains a historical overview, then the directory of French and German names of post offices, the catalog of date postmarks by offices, as well as a catalog of registration and declared value labels.

Volume 2 contains a study of "Lothringen" stamps and postal stationery, French and German postal tariffs, a nomenclature of railways postmarks by railroad lines, service mail, various marks and franking stamps, franking machine inprints (EMA), mail censorship, American army post offices in Moselle in 1944-45, as well as the stamps of the liberation of Metz and Forbach.

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