Monday, January 28, 2013

Vintage Latvian postcards: Saldus

The second time I visited Latvia my Mrs. Marathon Pundit drove us through the Kurzeme region--the Germans know it as Courland--where Saldus is. There's a German name for Saldus too--it is Frauenburg, which comes from the castle that formerly stood there. The castle was destroyed in the Great Northern War.

As with my Riga Opera House post from last week, the postcard messages are in German,.

This is the town center of Saldus. Kurzeme reminded me of Illinois--very flat land blessed with rich soil that is ideal for agriculture.

And the message. According to Mrs. MP, the writer is the husband, who was German, of her godmother's mother--who lived in the town of Ogre. Yes, that is Adolf Hitler on the stamp, which means this postcard was sent sometime between 1941 and 1944.

Pictured above is St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. According to Wikipedia, the first St. John's was built in 1461, it later became a Lutheran house of worship. Pictured is the sixth and latest church--it was constructed in 1900. Its roof and the steeple were damaged by Nazi bombs in 1944, a wooden steeple replacement was replaced in 1982.

Most of Latvia was retaken by the Red Army in 1944. However, 200,000 German soldiers held on in the Courland Pocket, which included Saldus, until after the Nazi surrender. The German troops were sent to the Gulags--few of them survived the ordeal.

The stamp is Latvian--so this is a pre-World War II postcard.

A panoramic view of Saldus. Latvia's best-known painter, Janis Rozentāls, was born near Saldus and lived there as an adult. Many of his paintings are set in Saldus. The Saldus J. Rozentals' Museum of History and Art is in the town.

Someone pinched the stamp from this postcard.

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