Father's Xmas Card from a POW Camp

POW Xmas Card
(Click on to enlarge)

Rifleman Robert Wallace, Royal Ulster Rifles, was a Prisoner of War (POW) held in a Stammlager (Stalag) designated '357' that was located at Oerbke, east of the town of Fallingbostel in Lower Saxony, north-west Germany.

He illustrated and sent this card to his young son Kenneth who was living in a house on Shaw's Road in Andersonstown, Belfast. He had to post early for Xmas as it was dated 14 November 1944; however the card was processed reasonably quickly by the German Kriegsgefangenenpost as it has a post mark dated 18 November 1944.

Click on the image below to see the franking marks on the Xmas card that Robert sent to his son Kenneth. The sending and receiving of mail by POWs was protected by the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War signed at Geneva on 27 July 1929, which stated:

Article 36
Each of the belligerents shall periodically determine the number of letters and postal cards per month which prisoners of war of the various classes shall be allowed to send, and shall inform the other belligerent of this number. These letters and cards shall be transmitted by post by the shortest route. They may not be delayed or retained for disciplinary reasons.

Within a period of not more than one week after his arrival at the camp, and likewise in case of sickness, every prisoner shall be enabled to write his family a postal card informing it of his capture and of the state of his health. The said postal cards shall be forwarded as rapidly as possible and may not be delayed in any manner.

The 1929 Convention was replaced by the 1949 Convention, which was more specific about the amount of correspondence stating that the number, 'shall not be less than two letters and four cards monthly'. There is no accommodation in the 1949 Convention for social media, and six hand-written letters or cards per month might tax a POW in the 21st century!