Thousands of miles from home in an enemy country, German soldiers sent and received mail while prisoners of war at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. But how did mail get from one country to the other, considering that the two sides were shooting at each other?
The envelope shown above (click for larger view) had a long journey from Neudorf, Germany, to Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1943-44. With stops along the way in Switzerland, North Africa, and New York City, the letter took six months to catch up with Corporal Hans Klaus, who surrendered with Gen. Erwin Rommel’s famed Afrika Korps three months before the letter was sent. Among other markings, you can see where the envelope was slit open and re-sealed by both German and American censors.
Tom Buecker, curator of the NSHS’s Fort Robinson Museum, tells the story in “Letters from Home: Prisoner of War Mail at the Fort Robinson Camp during World War II” in the Summer 2010 issue of Nebraska History.
—David Bristow, Associate Director for Research & Publications