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Note: this article was adapted for the web by A Taylor from S J Rizza's original version published in 'Austria' 136.
Austria's loss of national independence to Germany in March 1938 also meant the loss of its identity; it was renamed the Ostmark, or the Eastern Province. The two provincial states of Upper and Lower Austria were renamed Upper and Lower Danube - Oberdonau and Niederdonau. Austria, for all intents and purposes, no longer existed. It did not take the German Third Reich Postal Service long after the Anschluß to start including views of Austrian tourist sites in its 'Bildpostkarten' series of postal cards. The 6 Pfennig Hindenburg postal card (Michel P236) was utilised for this purpose. The first Austrian scene to appear was included in the 19th series of cards, in its 38-122-1 set of views. The chosen location was Igls bei Innsbruck (38-122-1-B-3). Thereafter, in the 20th series, two cards came out honouring Steyr, with similar views of the city.
The legend is 'Igls bei Innsbruck (Tirol), 900m above sea level. All-year high-level spa and winter sports resort. Recuperation and sport, summer and winter'.
The legend states 'Steyr. The old iron town at the confluence of the Enns and Steyr rivers in Oberdonau. A treasure-filled town for Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance structures. Adolf Hitler went to school here from September 1904 to July 1905'. Note for philatelic tourists: the town is well worth a visit, and Christkindl is a suburb.
These were followed by single cards for Gallspach, Oberdonau, and Velden am Woerthersee. A total of 10 view cards were issued in 1938; 9 for 1939; 22 for 1940; and 10 for 1941. All used the 6 Pf. Hindenburg imprinted postal card; were printed in Berlin; and have 'gothic' script. All Berlin printed cards have the words 'Hausnummer' and 'Postschließfach-nummer' written in full. These Berlin-printed Hindenburg cards are identified as No P236 in the Michel Bildpostkarten-Katalog Deutschland (1985 edition).
Commencing in 1941, Adolf Hitler's portrait was imprinted on the postal cards [Michel P 304], with the postal rate remaining at 6 Pfennig. The printing took place in Berlin, as with the previous items. The script is seriffed roman. 18 Austrian views were printed and issued in this set of cards.
The printing process was shifted to Vienna thereafter, still early in 1941, and remained there until the liberation of Austria. The new cards [Michel No. P 305] were similar to the previous ones, except that all Vienna-printed cards have the abbreviated words 'Haus Nr.' and Postschließfach-Nr.' in the address text. An inferior type of light cardboard material was used. Twenty-four Austrian tourist views were printed in 1941 in this series.
The complete card is a Vienna-printed Hitler-head with the words 'Hausnummer' and 'Postschließfach-nummer' abbreviated to 'Haus Nr.' and 'Postschließfach-Nr.' in the address text. Underneath it is the bottom of a Berlin-printed Hitler-head card with them written in full. The top card shows 'Grundlsee - Alpine swimming lake at the foot of the Totengebirge mountains [with] Bad Aussee, a salt water spa and winter sports area'. It was postmarked at Kohlberg (in Germany?) on 23 June 1943 and is addressed to Fellbach which is near Stuttgart.
Thereafter, the rest of these tourist view cards that were issued from 1942 to 1944 [Michel P 305 & P 307] carried only the 1942 date of issue on the card. During the period of production of these Austrian tourist views, 227 cards were issued. There were 51 Austrian sites pictured on these postal cards, with 69 picture-different views appearing on the cards - see appendix.
The City of Vienna did not appear on any of the view cards, possibly reflecting Hitler's hatred for the former Austrian capital (where he had lived as a young man for a few years mired in deep poverty), as well as a profound animosity for the city's inhabitants. Linz, a city that the German leader called his hometown, also did not fare any better, as no view of that city appeared either. The closest city to Linz that did make the list was Wels (approximately 25 miles away), and the wording on the 12 cards issued proclaimed that Wels was 'in the Fuehrer's Home Province'. Kitzbühel did not make the list until 1941, appearing on both the Hindenburg and the Hitler series in that year.
The legend says 'Kitzbühel (Tirol), 800-1800m / Mud Baths at the Black Lake / Springtime cures amid the Alpine Flora'. [The '1800m' is a height typical of the mountains around the town.]
During the period 1943 to 1944, most of the postal card series sent to subscribers were lost in the mail; the cards now available to collectors were sold over the counter at the post offices. No further view cards were issued after 1944. Unused cards with these Austrian views are somewhat rare, but rarer still are these cards used in Austria or elsewhere during the Anschluss period, and they are seldom found.
The legend says 'Altmunster am Traunsee, 422m above sea level - Salzkammergut. Ideal for summer and winter sports: the Feuerkogel (1625m), part of the Höllengebirge (1860m) is conveniently nearby' Postmarked with a Leipzig-Hamburg TPO cancellation dated 4 March 1939 and addressed to Worms am Rhein.
Further reading: Michel Bildpostkarten Katalog
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©Andy Taylor. Last updated 30 Oct 2001