Estonian Legion Stamps and Postal History

    Postal History

    In late summer 1941, Estonian volunteers from Construction and Security "Schutzmannschafts" or "Schuma" Battalions obtained the same postal privileges as their German compatriots.
    Mail weighing up to 250gms was sent free either through the Feldpost system or via "Dienstpost Ostland." Mail weighing more than 250gms and up to 1000gms had a postal fee of 12Rpf.

    Estonian formations were assigned Feldpost numbers. Estonian volunteers using Feldpost were allowed to use civil post offices for private correspondence with relatives. Mail was normally distributed to the Foreign Letter Examiners Office located in Konigsberg. In late April 1942, soldiers requiring airmail service were provided with four special Luftfeldpost labels. Family received two of the labels, only one airmail label was required. By summer of 1943, two labels were required per letter.

    Estonian Stamps

    Estonian Stamps.

    Estonian Stamps

    Although not specifically Legion stamps the top three are early occupied German authorized postal issues. These stamps were issued from the 7th to 12th of August 1941. Only 1500 of each were made. What make these stamps interesting is that they show on the bottom left corner a small coat of arms with three lions. These style shields were worn by Estonian volunteers on the right arm of their German uniforms. These early Estonian volunteers were part of the German formed Security police battalions, also known as Schuma battalions.

    The other two issues are charity stamps that were printed in the local Estonian town of "Odenpah" in German or "Otepaa" in Estonian. They were placed on sale 22 July 1941. Once again notice the national shield (blue/black/white), which is another type of variation of arm shield worn by Estonian Schuma personnel. By early November 1941, all these local issues were replaced by the German Hitler head stamps with the "Ostland" overprints, which were sold only in the Baltic civilian post offices in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and White Russia.

    Estonian SCHUMA Covers

    Estonian Feldpost mailed by Schuma units.

    In late 1941, the Germans were drafting a compulsory labor force. Initially it consisted of Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Ukrainian construction battalions incorporated into the German Army.
    Later these battalions were reorganized into "Schuma" (Security Detachments), consisting of 500 to 550 men each. These "Schuma" battalions were divided into sub-groups:
    (1) "Wacht" (Guard).
    (2) "Ersatz" (Replacement).
    (3) "Bau" (Construction).
    (4) "Front" (Front line combat) battalions.
    Eventually some units were incorporated into Waffen-SS national formations.

    Above are two very interesting Estonian volunteer feldpost covers. The 1st cover was mailed by an Estonian in the Schuma battalion. The volunteer was assigned to the "Schutzpolizei, 3.Ostlandkomp," stationed in Kiev Ukraine. Notice the unit seal "Schutzpolizei Kiev" and SS Felpost marking, which indicates that the unit was under the control of the Waffen-SS. By May 1943, the title of these Schuma battalions was changed to SS Police Battalions. This cover has Konigsberg "Aa" circular censorship marking.

    The other feldpost cover was mailed to a Border Guard volunteer, FPN 07052-"Stab I/Grenzschutz Pol Rgt.4." Notice the local town cancel. This cover shows SS censorship marking. Reverse has SS sealing tape.

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