• [Postcard written by Paul Meyer during his confinement at Dachau]

[Postcard written by Paul Meyer during his confinement at Dachau]

Postcard – To Eugen Meyer from donor

Archival Item

Resource TypeDocuments
Date of Creation28 Nov. 1938
GenreCorrespondence & Philatelic Materials
IdentifierRA038-02-00-00-01
Administrative/Biographical HistoryPaul Meyer (b. October 9, 1916, d. September 14, 2003) and Max Meyer (b. February 22, 1913, d. April 1, 2004) were born in Cologne, Germany to parents Eugen Meyer (b. August 8, 1880 Cologne, d. October 10, 1964 Vancouver) and Alice née Jonas (b. circa 1890). Eugen Meyer ran a lace and tulle fashion business, M. Meyer & Co., founded by his father, Max Meyer (b. 1848 Bubenheim, Germany, d. 1896 Calais, France) in Cologne, around 1870. Eugen took the business over in the late 1890s, after the death of his father, and ran it with his uncle, Ernest, an accountant. At its height the business employed 300 workers.

Eugen Meyer served as a soldier in the German army in the First World War and wrote a diary of his and his unit’s experiences. Eugen’s brother, Alfred Meyer (b. 1882), also a soldier in the German army, was killed in France in 1918. Ernst Jonas, father of Alice, died on March 17, 1919 while a prisoner of war. Alice’s sister, Lucie Jonas, was married to Heinrich Frank; both were killed in Sobibor in 1943.

After the Nazis came to power in Germany, the Meyer siblings and other Jewish children were forbidden to attend school. Paul was arrested during Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. Max, a salesman, was in Hanover on business and was not arrested on that night; he was able to buy a visa on the black market to help Paul get out of Dachau. The brothers were told they had to leave Germany or be interned. They obtained passports and a transit visa with help from an uncle, and then arranged passports for their parents. The Meyers paid high taxes upon leaving Germany.

The Meyers applied to immigrate to Canada and received special permission from the Commissioner of Immigration early in 1939, but their plans were cancelled at the outbreak of the Second World War. The family was able to leave Antwerp for New York in October, 1939, and then travelled by train to a camp outside of Montreal.

They settled in Vancouver, BC, where Paul and Max started a pottery business and their mother, Alice, worked for the Red Cross. In 1954, Paul returned to Cologne and visited the former location of his family’s lace business, on Apostelnstrasse II. The original building was damaged but the basement remained intact. Paul retrieved samples and other materials produced by M. Meyer & Co. in the basement and brought these materials back to Vancouver.
Extent & Medium1 postcard : 10.5 x 14.9 cm
Scope & ContentItem is a postcard written by Paul Meyer to his family during his confinement at Dachau concentration camp. Prisoners in Dachau were permitted, sometimes only in principle, to send and receive correspondence. Such writings had to adhere to a strict code of regulations and were subject to routine and often arbitrary censorship by camp authorities. Breaches in these rules could result in punishments for the prisoners. Discussions of camp conditions were strictly prohibited, and content was largely limited to personal matters.

Translation:
November 28, 1938
My Dearest! As you can see from the address, I am here in Dachau. I am in good health and I feel all right and hope the same from you. You are allowed to reply to me at once on a postcard, but must be sure to follow exactly the instructions on the reverse. You are also allowed to send money, as one can buy here everything. Maybe DM 50 – but you must be sure to indicate on the postal money order my address, barrack and section number as well as my date of birth. How are you all? I am most eager to have news from you and await it anxiously. Please greet all relatives and friends most cordially for me. I am always with you in thought. A hearty kiss, Paul.
Caption, signatures and inscriptionsThe item is one leaf with machine printed and handwritten text in black ink. A pencil note [date of receipt and number?] is found along the bottom edge of the recto. On the verso’s left quadrant, strict directives are stipulated regarding correspondence with prisoners in Dachau. Additionally, there are spaces provided for the sender to write their name and birthdate, as well as their block and room number. The top right corner of the verso has a six-pfennig green Deutches Reich postage stamp, post marked in Dachau.
LanguageGerman
Physical Characteristics and Technical RequirementsThe item is in good condition. The edges of the postcard show minor signs of wear and handling. The recto’s bottom left corner is slightly creased. There is a small surface stain and light red marking in the verso’s left quadrant.
Archival HistoryPrevious item number assigned by the VHEC: 93.07.0152