Very little was left of Hitler's Third Reich or the Thousand Year Reich by the beginning of
1945. With the armies of the USSR advancing on Berlin from the East, and American and British armies advancing on Berlin from the West and South, time was quickly running out!
The stamp shown above, at the left (Mi. #907, Sc. #B290), was issued on January 6, 1945 to commemorate the 600th Anniversary of Municipal Law in Oldenburg.
The stamp design features Count Anton Günther von Oldenburg (1603-1667).
The stamp shown above, at the right (Mi. #908, Sc. #B291), was issued in February 1945 to commemorate the Proclamation of the Volkssturm (People's Militia) in East Prussia to fight the Russians.
Volkssturm was a German national militia of the last months of World War
II. It was founded on Adolf Hitler's orders on October 18, 1944, and
it was composed of conscripted males, between the ages of 16 and 60 that were not already
serving in some military capacity.
The stamps shown above were the FINAL ISSUE by the government of the Third Reich.
The two stamps shown above, at the top (Mi. #909-10, Sc. #B292-93), were issued on April 21, 1945 to commemorate the 12th Anniversary of the Assumption of Power by the Nazis. They were placed on sale only in Berlin, only a few days before the fall of the city to the Soviet Army.
The stamp on the left features a Storm
Trooper / Military Police Officer (SA). The stamp on the right features an
Elite Storm Trooper (SS).
These two stamps also exist imperforate, as shown above at the bottom. They are a little scarcer than the perforated stamps, but they are worth about the same as the regularly issued stamps.
By the time these final Third Reich stamps were issued, the city of Berlin was completely surrounded by the Allied armies. The Battle of Berlin began on April 20, the day before the final stamps were issued. On May 2, the Soviet Army overran the City of Berlin.
By the end of April, the only things wandering around Berlin were Soviet military vehicles and soldiers. Anyone else in the city, at that time, was either captured or executed by Soviet soldiers.
These stamps were delivered to six Berlin post offices. Four of them were abandoned by April 21, the fifth post office closed on April 25, and the last Berlin post office closed on April 28. It is believed that none of these post offices were accepting or delivering mail during this time period.
Previously authenticated used examples of these stamps exist, but they are now in doubt. The German philatelic experts no longer accept any used examples of these stamps for authentication and commercially used stamps are no longer listed in the Michel catalog.
By the end of 1945, Berlin was occupied by Soviet, British, and American soldiers, and many of them were looking for valuable "souvenirs" to take home. It is now believed that most of the canceled and on-cover examples of these stamps were "manufactured" during this time, utilizing back dated hand-stamps.
It would be safe to say that USED EXAMPLES OF THESE STAMPS ARE NOT COLLECTIBLE!
The two stamps shown above are facsimiles on-card of two issues that were planned for May 1945. The originals were imperforate, ungummed, and they were printed in dark rose red and in brownish lilac. These planned postage stamp issues were printed at the government printing offices in Vienna, but they were never delivered to the postal service in Berlin, due to the collapse and surrender of the German Third Reich.
The stamp shown above, at the left (Mi. #X), was to have commemorated the Motor Corps (NSKK), and the stamp shown above, at the right (Mi. #XI), was to have commemorated the Flying Corps (NSFK).
cartons of printed stamps were discovered by Allied forces in Vienna
after the end of World War II, but they were all destroyed. A few loose
stamps from the cartons did escape destruction, probably via the
pockets of Allied soldiers returning home after the war, and they are
prized philatelic rarities today. In the Michel Catalog, they are
valued at €24,000 each, which basically means that authenticated examples are NOT OBTAINABLE.
You can get a set of reprints / reproductions, like mine shown above, for about five dollars!
General Jodl Signing the Article of Surrender
May 7, 1945
On April 30, 1945, with the Soviet Army being only 500 meters away from his command bunker in Berlin, Adolph Hitler committed suicide, by a gunshot wound to the head. He and his wife, Eva Braun, were later cremated outside the entrance to the bunker.
On May 7, 1945, in Rheims, France, General Alfred Jodl, on behalf of Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, the new Reich President, signed the document of surrender, and the Third Reich and the War in Europe came to an end!
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