JUOZAS URBONAS

Baltic State People’s
Deportation Mail

Eight Frame Exhibit

Description:

This exhibition is intended to show the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians as political prisoners and exiles, the specific features of postal service and slavery in Soviet GULAG slave labour camps and prisons in 1940-1960 through the philatelic items. Prisons and GULAG slave labour camps did not have any post offices, special envelopes or postcards. These letters or postcards can be identified only by addresses on the envelopes or other signs (such as marks, inscriptions and seals or numbers) on the envelopes.

The letters were written and sent on the first available piece of paper that sometimes had covered the previous erased text, on a reversed (re-glued) envelope, on family photographs or postcards brought from home, even on the birch bark. Most letters were written with a simple pencil and ink. Chemical pencils were prohibited. The places of exile lacked envelopes and paper.

As people lacked envelopes the letters were sent folded into “triangles”, “rhombuses” or in self- made envelopes. The letters were made using pine needles or sewed with threads. Only a few letters have survived nowadays. There were also handmade postcards. Later printed simple, standard or artistic envelopes and standard postcards were used. The artefacts illustrate the geography and duration of “journeys” of the letters, the censorship (in camps and outside of them) and sending rates (payment for post services). Sending and receiving of the letters were restricted; this means that correspondence was limited, depending on the camp regulations. Strict rules were set for writing of the letters, while the scope of information was limited, some information was prohibited.

First Frame

Second Frame

Third Frame

Fourth Frame

Fifth Frame

Sixth Frame

Seventh Frame

Eighth Frame