Illustrated KZ Mail Part 1

Sooner or later, most collectors of German concentration camp mail will run across prisoner mail objects that have been adorned with illustrations. These illustrations tend to fall into certain categories, with holiday-related drawings or paintings being the most prevalent. Their exact origin is still something of a mystery. The simplest explanation, that a prisoner wished to communicate something more than words can convey to family and friends, is certainly true up to a point. However, in the twisted world of the concentration camps few things were truly simple. In general, prisoner mail rules forbade the inclusion of illustrations or photographs in both outgoing and incoming mail. Prisoners could face suspension of mail privileges, or even severe beatings, for running afoul of these regulations. Thus, when such illustrations are found it usually indicates that a prisoner either had special privileges within the camp, or decided to take a considerable risk with the censor.

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