Legion Stamps and Postal History
volunteers serving with the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS had
the same Feldpost services as their compatriots. Feldpost numbers
were assigned to police and SS units comprising of Latvians. From
1943, more generous postal privileges were provided to Latvian
volunteers, mail weighing up to 250gms was free. A 12Rpf fee was
charged for mail weighing between 250 and 1000gms.
All mail was
distributed to the Foreign Letter Examining Office located in
Konigsberg. Mail sent by reliable personnel was applied with a
transit circular "Aa" marking. Airmail service was available free
of charge for mail weighing 10gms.
Special Luftfeldpost labels
was provided to each volunteer. Airmail service in the northern
front continued till late 1944. A small postal fee was charged
for mailing packages weighing more than 2Kgs and no postal fee
for official Register mail.
After the German occupation had begun
a reliable postal system "Deutsche Dienstpost DDP OSTLAND" replaced
all Baltic and White Russian civilian postal institutions. The
DDP OSTLAND system provided postal service for German civil administrations,
labor recruiting services, Todt and Speer organizations, construction
By late 1944, the Soviet offensives had overrun most
of the Eastern Front. The only remaining DDP OSTLAND office was
located in the "Kurland" (Courland) peninsula, which shared facilities
with Feldpost in Libau, Latvia. Completely cut off from Germany
by land, mail service was still possible by sea and air. The DDP
in Courland exhausted all the most commonly used 6Rpf and 12Rpf
stamps. The remaining stock of 5, 10 and 20Rpf stamps were overprinted
(o/p) for 6Rpf, while brown Feldpost parcel stamps were o/p with
12Rpf. These stamps also have the Kurland o/p and were used for
non-military mail within the Courland pocket.
with Kurland o/p stamps are rare.
The need to restrict Feldpost
to Germany led to the issuance of special Feldpost cards. The
cards had green parcel labels that were vertically bisected and
tied with the unit seal of the Libau military office. Latvian
volunteers in the Kurland Pocket mailed the same cards to Germany
but with the green parcel labels bisected horizontally. The DDP
OSTLAND system operated until 8 May 1945.
The two proof labels shown are the clear and sharp type. Notice the
green proof label showing Latvian Waffen-SS soldiers in SS camouflage
uniform. There existed two Latvian SS Divisions with good combat
record. I shall discuss the SS legion formations further in my
Feldpost Web Page.
The Latvian Veterans Relief Organization was connected with the planned issuance of
a series of Latvian Legion stamps in support of the "Latviesu
Karaviru Palidzibai" (Latvian Soldiers Aid). The funding was raised
from the sale of the stamps and was to aid the dead, disabled
and their families. A postal committee was established and presented
the German authorities with 15 proposed stamp designs done from
five from A. Apinis, six from R. Kasparsons and
four by N. Strunke. The values for these stamps were 025, 075,
1.00 and 1.50.
By July 1944, three designs by Kasparsons (the
25, Latvian maiden crowning Legionnaire's helmet with flowers;
75, Legionnaires manning gun; 100, Legionnaire throwing grenade)
and one by Alpinis (150, Latvian maiden presenting Legionnaire
with victory wreath) were accepted.
The designers were requested
to add the SS runes and German monetary units on the stamps. While
these stamps couldn't be used as postage, they were given by the
Germans semi-official recognition and could be canceled.
1944, the proofs printed were presented to the German authorities
but were not issued because of the advance of the Red Army. Fifty
thousand sets were planned. Some reprints of the proofs were made,
and smuggled to Sweden.
Scarce Latvian Legion post-war sheet illustrating the postal stamp reprints with the artist name.
Note: Two different reprints exist:
Reprint of 15 values in 5 different colors (blue, red, orange,
green and black) designs clear and sharp, printed on smooth thick
2. Reprint of 15 values in 5 different colors, designs
unclear, some blurred, printed on white regular or chalky paper.
Latvian Legion Proof Sheet
Above is a complete sheet showing all the Latvian
Legion designs, which only four were accepted. These proofs are
extremely rare since only a few have been found.
Rare postal proof illustrating the proposed colors.
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