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The SCM #020


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Postal history of the Carpatho Ukraine

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The SCM #020

  1. 1. The Sub-Carpathian Messenger Newsletter of the Study Circle for the Postal History of the Carpatho-Ukraine Number 20 – April 2012 Rákóczy Ferenc II., Prince of Transylvania (1703)The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 1
  2. 2. About us and the NewsletterThe Study Circle is a loose group of persons who are interested in the postal (and general) historyof the area known as Kárpátalja in Hungarian, as Podkarpatská Rus during the First CzechoslovakRepublic, which had a short day of independence as Carpatho Ukraine, and later was integratedinto the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union as the ‘Zakarpatskaja Oblast’. Since 1991 it is ЗАКАР-ПАТТЯ, the westernmost administrative district in the now independent Ukraine.The Newsletter came out of a meeting of a few collectors during the PRAHA 2008, its first numberappeared in November 2008. We aim at producing at least four issues per year but cannot promiseregular publication intervals. As we can see from the numbers at the public web site, this News-letter is read by more than hundred people.Distribution methodSince dealing with DocStoc got more and more ardous, with the renewed help of John Lechtanski(thank you very much !) we have moved all issues of the »Sub-Carpathian Messenger« to of February 10th, 2012, the following access counts were shown at the DocStoc web site: #001 341 #004 241 #007 281 #010 249 *) #013 283 #016 319 #002 340 #005 111 *) #008 539 #011 181 *) #014 258 #017 252 #003 236 #006 313 #009 371 #012 295 #015 268 #018 97*) after re-loading the issue (and losing the “old” access counts)For those who have no Internet access and/or no e-mail, the distribution method is still the same:you will receive a colour print-out by air/surface mail as you did in the past.Everybody can freely access the uploaded numbers of the Newsletter but the notification servicefor new numbers (including an easy download web datalink) will be limited to the members of theStudy Circle. So joining us still has some advantage.The copy sent to Andrew CRONIN has come back with the notice that his address has changed.Also his e-mail account has been closed down. Would anybody know his new address ?We send our best wishes and kind regards to the members of the Study Circle.Rules and RegulationsAll articles in the Newsletter carrying the name of an author are the sole responsibility of thisauthor and should not be taken to represent the common opinion of the Study Circle. Sucharticles are, if not marked otherwise, copyrighted by the respective author. Free use within theStudy Circle is granted. We thank our authors for their much appreciated work and contribution.Participation in the Study Circle is not bound to a formal membership and does not include theduty to pay a membership fee. There is a moral obligation to support the Newsletter from time totime by sending some article, some interesting piece of information, some question, some answeror whatever.We will “print” everything even only loosely connected with our subject of interest so any contri-bution is certainly welcome. Please send it (as Word 2003 document, graphical elements in JPEG,300 dpi) to our editor’s e-mail address ( His postal address, if you would need it, is: Dr. Helmut Kobelbauer, Untergrossau 81, A-8261 Sinabelkirchen, Austria / EuropeThe Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 2
  3. 3. Martin JurkovičA Meeting of Carpatho-Ukraine Experts at the PRAGA 1988 Sitting (from left to right): John Bulat, Michal Dobej, Miroslav Blaha Standing (from left to right): Alphons Graaf, unknown, Dominic Riccio, Hans Klein, Walter Rauch, Andrew CroninThe Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 3
  4. 4. Dr. Endre VajdaPostal Services of Ferenc Rákόczi II.Extract from the author’s study on the “History of the Post Office” which appeared in the first volume of the Monography of HungarianStamps. Translated by Jόszef Kuli, reprinted with kind permission from the magazine »Stamps of Hungary«, volume 1, number 6(September 1965), pages 1 to 5.The full Hungarian text can be found in »A Magyar Bélyegek Monográfiája«, volume 1, pages 161 to 167.The postal service of Ferenc Rákόczi II. was the first real Hungarian postal organization, hence weare going to study it in more details.In order to carry out his intentions, Ferenc Rákόczi II. has drawn up a Decree to this effect atLéva, on 1st January, 1705. From this Decree, we know that he succeeded in establishing a newpostal organisation which was far more superior to the then existing ones. The new organisationundertook the carrying of both persons and letters, but – at that time – mainly served the inter-ests of the military and public administrative bodies. The inland letters were transported in alldirections twice weekly.The departure of coaches took place on Wednesdays and Saturdays from the Prince’s court. Verygreat emphasis was placed on the careful handling of mail, times of departures and arrivals,details of the passengers carried had to be recorded with maximum accuracy. Any sabotage ordisregard for the instructions could carry the death penalty.Rákόczi did not – unlike the old Transylvanian customs – impose the burden of upkeeping the orga-nisation on the villages through which the postal routes proceeded, but all expenses had to bemet from the national treasury. He granted 60 Hungarian forints to the Head Postmaster and 24to the Assistant Head Postmaster as their wages. The villages en-route were obliged to providegrazing lands for the horses of the coaches, while the counties had to supply plenty of forage andhay.Introduction of new postal stations or postal routes had to be met with the Prince’s approval, who– by careful administration – took measures not to burden the country’s treasury by allowing theoperation of unnecessary postal routes.The postal stations were situated at two, maximum three miles apart from each other. Theemployees of the organisation were exempt from military service and also from taxation.Rákόczi has already appointed a Head Postmaster in November 1703 (two years prior to the estab-lishment of the organisation), in the person of János Szepessy, who called himself the “Head Post-master of Hungary and Transylvania”.The new post office carried mail in two categories: ordinary and urgent. The ordinary mail wastransported by the regular – twice weekly – services, while the urgent mail had to be despatchedand carried at once. The regularity of the ordinary postal operations was not to be upset or delay-ed by anything or at anyone’s request. The letters were tied in a bundle, and were carried in anofficially sealed parcel. To place a newly collected letter in, to remove any items from, or toopen up the parcel, was strictly prohibited.For an ordinary letter – going all the way on the route – the charge of 4 polturas per sheet had tobe paid. The urgent letters had to be accompanied by a form (Currens) and 75 polturas. On theform the charge was recorded after delivery of the letter.The ordinary letter had to cover the distance of two miles within two hours, while the urgent postwas one half hour faster over the same distance. It was the duty of the Postmasters to record thearrival of letter posts in order to check the letter-carriers and if they had kept to the time regula-tions. The Postmasters recorded the arrival of the post-carriers, also their departure.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 4
  5. 5. In the same Decree, Rákόczi’s regulations indicate clearly that the safety of both the ordinary(Ordinária) and urgent (Staféta) letters had to be ensured, if necessary, by the sacrifice of thecarrier’s life. The Postmaster entered all details, concerning both the letters and carriers of theurgent letters (Curirs), into his own diary (Diarium).Rákόczi took just as great care of the passenger carrying services as he took of the mail carryingones. These services were used mainly by the couriers of the Prince and by the couriers of high-ranking army officials. Private persons had to have either a passport or an official decree fromthe Head Postmaster indicating that permission was granted to them for the use of these services.After each horse and each station, the sum of 90 denars was charged, plus 60 of the appropriatecurrency, depending on where the passenger boarded the coach. The official couriers of thePrince or of army officials were allowed to travel at half price. The expenses were not settledbefore travelling, but later on, after the journey’s completion. Postal passport issued by Ferenc Rákόczi in 1704.The transportation of passengers took place from station to station. If the roads were damaged byheavy rains or by floods, the Postmaster’s duties included the reporting of such occurances to thecouncil of that particular place where the road belonged. In such cases, the coaches were allow-ed to leave the normal route and could use the dykes.Rákόczi operated his postal services, based on four routes: Northern, Central and Southern. Thesemain routes also had branch-routes which linked with some of the main routes at different places.Of the fourth, the Transylvanian route, we have no details.The postal routes were as follows:Main Northern route: It operated between Lőcse and Besztercebánya.From Besztercebánya, through Revuca, it went to Rόzsahegy, from where – following the present-day Kassa – Odenberg railway line – it went via Olaszi, Okolicsna, Hibbe, Lucsivna, Svábόc toLőcse. From Lőcse, it went via Korotnik, Bertόt, Eperjes and Licsérd to Kassa. Leaving Kassa itThe Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 5
  6. 6. went via Szinna and Vilmány to Szikszό, where it joined another main route. From this mainroute, two minor routes branched off: one towards the East, proceeding via Medgyaszό, Szerencsand Tállya went as far as Tokaj. The other branched off towards the West, going via Edelény,Sajόkaza, Putnok, Cakό, Rimaszombat to Losonc, where it turned West again and connectedVámosfalva, Ocsova and Zόlyom with Besztercebánya.Main Central route: It operated between Vadkert and Nagykállό.Leaving Vadkert, the route went North, towards Losonc, then turned again, proceeding East, andwent via Rimaszombat, Cakό, Putnok, Sajόkaza, Edelény, Szikszό, Medgyaszό, Szerencs, Tállya,towards Tokaj, Nyíregyháza and Nagykállό.First Minor route: Operated between Mocsonok and Bátorkeszi, linking Tardosked and Érsekújvárwith the terminals.Second Minor route: It left Nagykér and connected Bakabánya, Selmecz and Zόlyom with Beszter-cebánya.Third Minor route: It operated between Léva and Rόzsahegy with the following stations: Léva, Kis-tapolcsány, Nagytapolcsány, Nyitra-Zsámbokrét, Bajmόc, Tόtprόna, Túrόc-Zsámbokrét and Nol-csova.Fourth Minor route: Left Nyírbátor and went via Mátészalka, Vásáros-Namény, Tarpa, Tiszaújhely,touching Beregszász, to Munkács, then via Szerény [sic] to Ungvár.At the beginning of 1706, Rákόczi gave orders toestablish a Fifth Minor route which connected Lévawith Beszterce and Losonc.Main Southern route: It operated betweenMagyarόvár and Kolozsvár, linking Győr and Komá-rom. From here it proceeded first towards Buda,then towards Hatvan. It then went towards the riverTisza (Theiss). It crossed the river by ferry at Csege,then crossed the Hortobágy and it went into De-brecen. Leaving Debrecen, the route turned Southtowards Nagyvárad, then turned South-East andwent via Margitta, Szilágysomlyό, Zilah and Magyar-zsombor to Kolozsvár (Cluj).Unfortunately, Head Postmaster Szepessy was notonly violent tempered, but also of a covetousnature, who embezzled money belonging to thePostmasters. For this reason, Rákόczi dismissed himin 1707 and appointed Márton Kossovics to thevacant position. Kossovics preferred to be known asthe “Director of Hungarian Post Offices”. The newdirector began his new career with great eagernessand was determined to re-organise, and to eliminate the faults that had been allowed to appearin the organisation while Szepessy was in charge. The new director issued a statement in 1708,indicating that in Hungary there were 63 postal stations, 20 Postmasters and 43 employees.In 1709, Kossovics issued to Postmasters detailed instructions that were drawn up in 24 points.From this we can describe the uniforms of the first Hungarian postmen: Two colours, red andblue, were adopted. The whole uniform consisted of two pieces, plus a horn. The material usedwas of heavy, Hungarian woven cloth. The cord of the horn was of three colours: red, blue andwhite, with a decorative, hanging fringe.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 6
  7. 7. Postal routes during the administration of Prince Ferenc Rákόczi II. From »Bélyeg-Lexikon« (Gondolat, Budapest, 1988), page 557.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 7
  8. 8. The editor:In the »Handbook of the Hungarian Pre Stamp Mail« (Budapest, 1983) we have found the follow-ing summary of the Rákόczi post (loc. cit., page 109): “After some 100 years, between 1703 and 1711, Ferenc Rákόczi II. occupied Northern Hungary. There, where the acts of war made it possible he established his own postal service, which was mainly used for military purposes. But on the four main postlines they also carried letters and passengers. Similarly to the “Taxis post” this organi- zation also did not use any marks of postal administration and postages. This post was discontinued after the sup- pression of the Rákόczi insurrection, and the former postal organization was established again.”An additional and more detailed description of the Rákόczi post can be found in Dr. RüdigerWurth’s »Österreichisches Jahrbuch 1981 für Postgeschichte und Philatelie« (pages 85 to 88): “Die Post unter Ferenc Rakόczi II. während der Erhebung gegen das Haus Habsburg schließt grundsätzlich an frühere siebenbürgische Formen an, hat situationsgemäß natürlich überwiegend militärischen Charakter und dient vorweg den Zwecken der Rebellion. Der in polnischer Emigration lebende Nachkomme der siebenbürgischen Fürsten wurde von den aufständischen Kuruzzen ins Land gerufen und proklamierte im Mai 1703 den Kampf gegen die Habsburger „Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate!“. Da die Aufständischen in der Folgezeit relativ weite Gebiete kontrollierten, war auch eine Postorgani- sation erforderlich geworden. Im Zuge seiner selbständigen staatlichen Verwaltungseinrichtungen erließ Rákόczi am 1. Jänner 1705 eine grundsätzliche Postordnung. Die Leitung des Postwesens war dem Oberpostmeister Jo- hann Szepesi übertragen worden, und die Kosten hatte die Staatskasse übernommen. Der neue Oberpostmeister erließ ausführliche Anweisungen für die einzelnen Postmeister, aus welchen zu ersehen ist, daß zwei Briefarten – gewöhnliche und Eilbriefe – möglich waren. Die ordentlichen Postkurse für die gewöhnlichen Briefe verkehrten an bestimmten Tagen zweimal in der Woche und durften durch niemandes Bitte oder Verbot unterbunden werden. Eil- briefe wurden sofort nach Abgabe durch die Eilpost abgefertigt. Die Beförderung der Briefe erfolgte in gesiegelten Bündeln, deren Öffnen zwecks Herausnahme oder Hinzufügung eines Briefes strengstens verboten war. Über die jeweilige Abgangszeit einer Post hatten die Postmeister Buch zu führen; die Wegzeit für 2 Postmeilen war für die gewöhnliche Post mit 2 Stunden und für die Eilpost mit 1½ Stun- den festgelegt. Auch die Personenbeförderung war nicht vernachlässigt worden, wobei Private jedoch nur mit be- sonderen Pässen oder oberpostmeisterlichen Bewilligungen befördert worden sind; der wesentlich doch militante Charakter dieses Postwesens ließ eine andere Möglichkeit nicht zu. Pro Person und Pferd hatte man an Beförde- rungstaxe 90 Denare je Poststation zu bezahlen und dazu noch bei Reiseantritt eine zusätzliche Grundgebühr; überdies fiel für den Reisenden noch das sogenannte Peitschengeld für den Postburschen an. Letzteres erhielt die- ser für das Antreiben der Pferde und bekam nach Verrechnung mit dem Postmeister einen Teilbetrag davon aus- gehändigt. Die Personenbeförderung vollzog sich von Station zu Station, und das Auslassen einer solchen zwecks Bereicherung war bei strenger Strafe verboten; auch Reisende, die einen Posthalter dazu zwingen wollten, verfie- len der Strafe. Zur Schonung der Pferde galt eine obere Gewichtsgrenze von 50 Pfund für das Gepäck. Die Rákόczi-Post hatte 4 Hauptlinien unterhalten: eine nördliche, eine mittlere und eine südliche Linie, von wel- chen verschiedene Nebenlinien abzweigten, sowie die Siebenbürger Linie, von deren Stationen und Nebenlinien wir über keine Aufzeichnungen verfügen. 1. Die nördliche Linie: Besztercebányá – Revuca – Rόszahegy – Olaszi – Okolicsna – Hibbe – Lucsivna – Svá- boc – Löcse. Von Löcse führte eine Verbindungslinie über Korotnok – Berto – Eperjes – Licsérde – Kaschau – Szinna – Vilmány nach Szikszό zur mittleren Linie. Von Szikszό führten Linien östlich über Madgyaszo – Szerencse – Tallya nach Tokaj und westlich über Edelény – Sajόkaza nach Putnok beziehungsweise über Cakό – Rimaszombat nach Losonc; von letztgenannter Station gab es wiederum eine Verbindungslinie nach Besztercebányá, und zwar über Vámosfalva – Ocsova – Zόlyom. 2. Die mittlere Linie: Der Hauptast führte nördlich von Vadkert nach Losonc; dort schloß östlich die Linie über Rimaszombat (in umgekehrter Richtung wie oben) nach Szikzsό und nach Tokaj an; dann überquerte eine Linien- führung die Theiß und führte über Nyiregyháza nach Nagykállό.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 8
  9. 9. Im Bereiche dieser mittleren Hauptlinie führte eine Nebenlinie von Mocsonok – Tardokesd – Ersekújvár nach Bátor- keszi; eine zweite von Nagykéert – Bakabányá – Selmec – Zόlyom nach Besztercebányá; eine dritte von Lévá – Kistapolcsány – Nagytapolcsány - Nyitra Zsámbokrét – Bajmόc – Tόtprόna – Turόc Zsámbokrét – Nolcsova nach Rόszahegy; eine vierte von Nyirbátor – Mátészalka – Vásárosnamény – Tarpa – Tiszaújhely nach Beregszász, wo eine Gabelung erfolgte und ein Zweig nach Munkács und ein anderer über Szerény [sic] nach Ungvár führte. Im Jahre 1706 war noch ein weiterer Ast von Léva über Beszterce nach Losonc in Betrieb genommen worden. 3. Die südliche Linie: Magyarόvár – Györ – Komárom – Buda – Hatvan (Verbindungsast zur mittleren Linie) – wie- ter in Richtung Theiß – Aroktό – über die Furt bei Csege und weiter über die Hortobágyipuszta nach Debrecen; von dort südlich nach Nagyvárad, südöstlich über Margittán – Szilágysomlyo – Zilah – Magyar Zsombor nach Klausen- burg. 4. Die Siebenbürger Linie: Keine Details vorliegend. This letter was given over to the post in Munkács in February 1709. The red arrow points to the transfer entry for the postal station in Beregszász.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 9
  10. 10. In das Ausland war die Postbeförderung sehr schwierig, da die hiezu erforderlichen Pässe für die Kuriere nicht er- hältlich waren. Die durch gelegentliche Boten beförderten Briefe gingen häufig auf dem Wege durch Feindgebiete verloren, weshalb der Brauch vorherrschte, in Geheimschrift abgefaßte Briefe in drei bis vier Kopien auf verschie- denen Wegen abzufertigen. Aus Rákόczis Nachlaß sind uns über 90 Koden für Geheimschriften erhalten geblie- ben. Abgangsstation für Post in das nördliche und westliche Ausland war die nordungarische Poststation Löcse. Von dort ging eine wichtige Verbindung nach Danzig, wo ein Gesandter Rákόczis residierte. Auf dieser Linie waren hauptsächlich eigene Kuriere oder solche von polnischen Adeligen eingesetzt, da die reguläre polnische Post zu unsicher war. In sehr günstigen Fällen dauerte dieser Weg 3 Wochen, zumeist aber viel länger. Von Danzig ge- langten Briefe in weiteren 7 bis 10 Tagen nach Berlin, über Breslau dauerte der Weg nach Berlin zirka 3 Wochen. Versuche Rákόczis, diese schlechte Auslandsverbindung zu verbessern (z. B. Prämiensystem), verblieben ohne praktischen Erfolg. Von besonderer Bedeutung war der Kontakt mit der Hohen Pforte, jedoch gab es zu jener Zeit keine geregelten Postkurse über den Balkan. Es gab zwei Hauptlinien für die Verbindung mit der Hohen Pforte, und zwar über Belgrad – Nisch – Sofia – Philippopolis nach Konstantinopel beziehungsweise über die Moldau oder Bukarest. Die Kuriere Rákόczis übergaben im allgemeinen die Briefe in Belgrad türkischen Boten oder in Jassy siebenbürgischen Boten. Die große Unsicherheit dieser Weiterbeförderung hat Rákόczi Ende 1706 veranlaßt, eige- ne Kuriere bis zur Pforte zu schicken. Das Postwesen ist insgesamt sehr bald wegen vornehmlich finanzieller Proble in Schwierigkeiten geraten. Teue- rung und Geldentwertung waren den Gehältern der Postmeister abträglich, dazu kam, daß die Lasten des Post- dienstes zunehmend schwerer geworden sind. Kuriere ritten ihre Pferde nicht selten zu Tode, Postbeamte wurden zu Kriegsdiensten einberufen, der Postreisedienst wurde dabei zusätzlich belastet, da viele Geschäftsleute die Post in Anspruch genommen haben, um ihre eigenen Pferde zu schonen. Das „Libertas“ genannte rote Kupfergeld war zudem unbeliebt, und die Postmeister konnten dafür weder Pferde noch Wagen oder gar Bedienstete bekom- men. In diesem Zusammenhang reichte Oberpostmeister Szepesi eine Klageschrift der Postmeister ein, die nach einer Überprüfung zu dessen Absetzung und Ernennung Marton Kossovics zum Oberpostmeister geführt hat. Gleichzeitig war am 5. August 1707 eine in Munkács ausgefertigte neue Postordnung von 24 Punkten veröffent- licht worden. Die Tagebuchführung der Postmeister hinsichtlich der abgehenden und ankommenden Post wurde mit Datum und Uhrzeit intensiviert; jeweils Mittwoch und Samstag war mit Genehmigung des Fürsten oder seines Kanzlers Postabgang; alle einlangende Post hatte an den Fürsten ausgefolgt zu werden, und nur mit dessen Er- laubnis ging sie weiter. Grundsätzlich war für jede abgehende Post ein Stundenpaß auszufertigen, der eingangs auch gewisse Hinweise beinhaltete, wie z. B.: „Cito Citissime – Ich halte jeden Postmeister und Veredarius an, die gegenwärtige ordentliche Post ohne geringste Verspätung weiterzuschicken sowie Ort, Tag und Stunde der Ankunft sowie Abfertigung in das Tagebuch einzutra- gen. Die Bündel dürfen nur von den Postmeistern geöffnet werden. Diese sind verpflichtet, Briefe hinzuzugeben, andere herauszunehmen beziehungsweise anderswohin zu dirigieren, die Palette zu unterschreiben und vom End- punkt zurückzuschicken.“ Postreisende hatten vorauszubezahlen, es sei denn, sie konnten einen Garantiebrief eines Untergespans oder eines Richters vorweisen. Auch die Hornsignale hatten nun eine feste Regelung erfahren. Im Jänner 1708 hatte der Generalmarschall für Cisdanubien, Graf Antal Eszterházy, während einer Provinzver- sammlung in seiner Burg zu Sümeg die Wichtigkeit des Funktionierens der Post unterstrichen und die Errichtung einer neuen Linie von Köszeg (Güns) zur Donau beschlossen. Sie führte von Köszeg über Szombathely (Steinam- anger) – Rum Jánosháza – Alásom – Pápa – Paton – Szent Miklόs nach Ethe. In Pápa gab es eine Abzweigung über Vásárhely nach Sümeg. Im Laufe des Jahres 1709 führten dann militärische Mißerfolge zum Zurückdrängen der Kuruzzen in die nordöst- lichen Landesteile. Verlorene Schlachten markieren auch den Niedergang der Rákόczi-Post, deren letzter Horn- klang mit dem Szatmarer Friedensschluß 1711 verschallte.“I apologize for not translating this text from its (quite complicated) original German to English,hoping that those really interested can at least understand the most important textual pieces.Carpatho Ukraine locations have been emphasized by me in lightblue colour.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 10
  11. 11. The editor:The leader of the first Hungarian national uprising is still considered very prominent and his (quitestylish) portrait can be found at a number of places, amongst them the current Hungarian bank-notes: Hungarian banknote of 500 forint with portrait of Ferenc Rákόczi II.Helmut KobelbauerOne More Registered Letter from the Pre-Stamp PeriodJan Rompes in the SCM #019 has shown us a number of registered pre-stamp letters and has askedfor more examples. In the collection of the editor there is (only) one (additional) registered letterfrom the pre-stamp period: Registered letter, Ungvár to Munkács, written August 13th, 1844.The letter is addressed to Hans von Freiseisen, prefect of the Count of Schönborn-Buchheim inMunkács. You possibly remember the article on the Schönborn dynasty in the SCM #008.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 11
  12. 12. Helmut KobelbauerAn Addition to the Postal History in the Pre-Stamp PeriodThis addition is some detail from the »Post Charte der Kais. König. Erblande« by Georg Ignaz vonMetzburg (1785), showing the northbound postal route from Debreczin through Tokay and Caschauover the Dukla pass to Polish Galicia and the postal route to the south of the later CarpathoUkraine, leading from Debreczin through Szattmar and Nagybania to Szigeth.This map is from 1785, i. e., the last year before the first post offices were opened in the Carpa-tho Ukraine. The only location shown within the area of our interest is Ungwar (Ungvár); Wirawa(Virava in the Zemplén county) is now Výrava in the Slovak Republic.For the post offices along the southern route I have looked up the opening (or working) years andhave added the Hungarian names and those years in parentheses:Szattmar (Szatmárnémeti; 1749 – 1752, 1769), Megyes (Aranyosmedgyes; 1749 – 1853), Illoba(Iloba; 1749), Nagybania (Nagybánya; 1749), Baifalu (Bajfalu; 1769 – 1841), Kapnik (Kapnikbánya;1769 – 1871), Budfalu (Budafalu; 1769 – 1841), Szigeth (Máramarossziget; 1769).This means that the southern route until Nagybánya was established in 1749, the rest in 1769.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 12
  13. 13. Helmut KobelbauerAnother Cholera Letter from the Subcarpathian RegionJan Verleg in his monograph »Carpatho Ukraine. Postal History and Stamps 1786 − 2000« (2nd en-larged edition, 2007) on pages 10 and 11 describes the cholera epidemic in the year 1831: “The epidemic came from India via Russia and Galicia to Hungary. As it approached Hungary, the border to Galicia was closed on the 28th of December 1830, but reopened again on the 29th of March 1831. However the border was closed again on the 29th of May 1831. This unfortunately did not have any effect on the spreading of the disease as it was brought into Hungary by coachmen from Kolomea and salt transporting raftsmen on the river Tisza. The Governor-General ordered a military blockade in an attempt to stop the spreading of the disease by vagabonds. From July 1831 the cordon sanitaire ran from the Transylvanian border along the river Berettyό to the river Tisza and from there along the rivers Zagyva and Tarna via the towns of Eger and Miskolc till it reached the Galician border via Eperjes (Prešov) at the town of Zborno.”Along this cordon line a number of fumigation stations was set up to treat the postal letters withacerbic fumes, believing that such fumes would disinfect the letters. Jan Verleg continues: “In order to make it possible for the fumes to penetrate into the letters they were punched. […] The postal authorities did not use any postmarks on the disinfected punched letters, however the sanitary stations sometimes confirmed the disinfection at the rear side of the letter.”Of course, this measure did not prevent the spreading of the disease, and by July 14th, 1831, thecholera had reached Pest. In Upper Hungary the epidemic had run its fatal course by autumn, andPeter Csicsay wrote (in his London 2010 exhibit) that a letter exists of October 12th, 1831, infor-ming the recipients that the beginning of the school year (which had been adjourned) was nowset for November 1st. This is in agreement with a letter in my collection from October 1831 whichshows no traces of fumigation treatment. Approximate course of the Cordon Sanitaire (in bright red) according to Jan Verleg.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 13
  14. 14. At the last ÖPHILA auction (Vienna; February 8th, 2012) I bought the following disinfected letter: Cover of a disinfected letter, Szolyva to Munkács, received July 30th, 1831. Reverse of this cover, with a red wax seal and some punch-through holes. On the seal, the text “Beregh Vármegye | […] Ispánya | […] talos […]” can be deciphered. And – although the edge of the cover was padded with some ad- ditional strip of paper - the re- ceiving date for this letter can be clearly read as “30. July 831.”.A letter from Szolyva to Munkács took its way far awayfrom the Cordon Sanitaire. So the question arises: Why(and where) was it fumigated?The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 14
  15. 15. Helmut KobelbauerFurther Information on Nyíresfalva and SzőllősvégardόIn the last SCM I drew your attention to the (most times ignored) post office Nyíresfalva, workingin the pre-stamp period from 1787 till 1838. I have also mentioned the postal station Szőllősvég-ardό which is not listed in the »Handbook of the Hungarian Pre-Stamp Mail«.Our members Czirόk Dénes and Jan Rompes have kindly answered my question, whether theywould know about some pre-stamp letters from or to these two locations, in the negative. Detail from map by Franz Fried (1839).To repeat once more: Before 1839 there was a postal route from Munkács through Nyíresfalva andSzőllősvégardό to Halmi and on to Aranyos Medgyes. The above detail shows this postal route stillto exist in 1839. Nyíresfalva is marked as post office whereas Szőllősvégardό is not, the nearestpost office being Nagy Szőllős. Detail from map by Franz Fried (1849).The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 15
  16. 16. Ten years later another map by the same mapmaker highlights the postal route from Munkácsthrough Beregszász to (Tisza) Újlak, from there splitting into a southward branch to Halmi and aneastward route to Nagy Szőllős and on through Huszt and Técső to Máramarossziget. Nyíresfalvahas ceased to be marked as post office.By chance I have just recently found a registered official letter from Pest to Szőllősvégardό, sentper Nagy Szőllős. The date is given as September 13th, 1836; the weight as 2½ (Loth). Cover of a registered official letter, Pest(h) to Szőllősvégardό, September 1836. Date of sending the letter.According to the »Itinerär der k. k. österreichischen Staaten« (1831) the distance along the postalroute Pest – Debrecen – Szatmar(németi) – Aranyos-Medgyes – Halmi – Nagy Szőllős was 30½ postalstations. The fee therefore was 1 fl. 10 kr. for the letter itself plus 4 kr. for the registration. Ofcourse, this fee was not directly paid, the letter being marked as “Hivátalbόl”, i. e., official.I wonder about the handwritten remark “739 / 9”: Both numbers “9” are written with a similarink and style as the “per Nagy Szőllős”. The “73” (or “739”) should normally be the registrationnumber, but what is the second “9” ?I admit that the shown cover is not of very good quality. But since it is the only one addressed toSzőllősvégardό that I know of, I did not want to hide it from you.If one of our kind readers possesses a similar piece, be it addressed from or to Nyíresfalva or Szől-lősvégardό, we would certainly be interested to hear about it.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 16
  17. 17. Helmut KobelbauerAnother Piece with the “KÖRÖSMEZÖ – STANISLAU” TPO MarkIn the 3 years jubilee number #018 of the SCM I wrote about the railway line from Körösmező (inHungary) to Stanislau (in Galicia) and its (quite rare) TPO marks, and have kindly asked ourreaders to send a scan of any item they might possess with such mark. As was to be expected(such requests seldom find an answer), I have received nothing. So I am forced to help myself.Please excuse my snootiness. Picture and text side of a picture postcard from Worochta to Kolomea, August 8th, 1909, with the TPO mark “KÖRÖSMEZÖ – STANISLAU | 523”.This piece proves that in August of 1909 the “old” TPO postmark was still in use – the earliest(and only) date we have for the “new” postmark is August 4th, 1914.Since the card was written in Worochta, just on the other side of the border between Hungaryand Galicia, it may be considered as not an item of Carpatho Ukraine postal history. I don’t carefor such nit-picking.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 17
  18. 18. Helmut KobelbauerAnother Piece from the “Deutsche Südarmee” in 1915Petr Gebauer wrote in his groundbreaking article “Field post of the German Southern Army inSubcarpathia in 1915” (SCM #014, pages 10 to 17), that field post station 151 “most likely servedthe stage inspection of the DSA and was located in Beregszász (recorded from 26th January to 11thJune 1915)” (loc. cit., page 12). Picture postcard (castle of Munkács), “K. D. Feldpoststation | * Nr 151 *”, March 14th, 1915, to Dresden (Germany).In the text the sender wrote: “Schon den 5. Tag liegen wir auf der Bahn. Überall werden wir mitHochrufen von den Ungarn aufgenommen. Erst sollten wir nach den Karpathen kommen nun kom-men wir nach Südungarn nach Beregszasz.“ [Already the fifth day we are lying on the railway.Everywhere the Hungarians receive us with cheers. First we were planned to go to the Carpa-thians but now we will go to Southern Hungary to Beregszasz.]His address is given as “Comp. Sap[?]. | Etappen=Train Esk. 5 | XII. (1. K. S.) Armeekorps | Kaiser-lich Deutsche Südarmee”.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 18
  19. 19. Helmut Kobelbauer (with the help of Herbert Robisch and Oskar Schilling)The “Industriegruppe der 12. Abteilung” and its Labour CampsIn a batch of Carpatho Ukraine items that I bought nearly a year ago I found the following item:It is basically a pre-printed postcard for prisoners of war as it existed in a number of POW camps.The interesting aspect is that it comes from a camp in Antalόcz (near Ungvár) which I hadn’tfound mentioned in any of my numerous reference books on the Carpatho Ukraine. (Rare) picture postcard of Antalόc(z) / Antalovce (≈ 1939).In Austria the most knowledgeable expert on POW camps and POW mail is Herbert Robisch, so Iasked him whether he had seen such a card before and would know more about this camp. Hisanswer was that he knew that such cards did exist, that Oskar Schilling (from Switzerland) hadone, that he thought they were quite rare, and that he had some material connected with the“Industriegruppe der 12. Abteilung des K. u. k. Kriegsministeriums”.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 19
  20. 20. My next step was to get in contact with Oskar Schilling. He had just published a short article inthe “Rundbrief” [circular] of the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Feldpost Österreich-Ungarn” and referredme to this article and then sent me scans of the corresponding items. Fieldpost card used for POW correspondance, Ungvár, March 2nd, 1917, to Bologna (collection Oskar Schilling).This fieldpost card is curious because the Italian censors blackened out three of the four Emperors– only Charles I. (that is Károlyi IV. as King of Hungary) escaped their eagerness. The sender wasobviously an Italian POW who gave his address as “Industriegruppe der 12. Abt. K.M. UngvárHongrie”.The 12th Division of the War Ministry in Vienna was responsible for providing food to the fightingforces in the field, including the fortresses, to all reserve troops, and finally the POW camps. Its“Industriegruppe” [industrial group] obviously was a singular institution – Herbert Robisch doesn’tknow any other comparable group. Another example of the pre-printed POW postcard: Antalόcz, August 22nd, 1918, to Agordo (Italy) (collection Oskar Schilling).The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 20
  21. 21. Copy of a document from the Austrian State Archive: Creation of an industrial group (of the 12th division) near Ungvár.By good luck, Herbert Robisch found in his papers the copy of an order of the Ministry of War inVienna to the Military Command in Kassa, dated June 22nd, 1915. This order appoints Eugen ZoárdPrince Odescalchi as the commander of the industrial group of the 12th division near Ungvár. Atthis point in time the industrial group consisted of a plant for barrels in Antalόcz, a plant for theproduction of sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) in Demecser, and an installation for drying of potatoslivers in Rétköz.With the help of the maps from the 3rd Military Survey (about 1910) and of the »Lexicon of Hunga-rian Place Names« I was able to identify the respective villages and their locations within Histori-cal Hungary. (Please see the copy of a map detail on the next page.)Demecser (see red arrow near the bottom) is a village in Szabolcs county and in 1910 had 2868(mostly Hungarian) inhabitants. It lies on the railway from Debrecen to Csap, not very far fromCsap (see lightblue arrow). Rétköz (see red arrow in the middle) is found under the nameBerencs, another village in Szabolcs county, in 1910 with 1065 Hungarian inhabitants. And thenwe have Tuzsér on one of the cachets from the “Industriegruppe” – it is another village in Sza-bolcs county and had 1540 Hungarian inhabitants in 1910.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 21
  22. 22. Detail of the map from the 3rd Military Survey (approx. 1910).Of these four villages, only Antalόcz belongs to the Carpatho Ukraine proper (by the definition asestablished by Dr. Simády Béla). I dare say nevertheless that we may spend a few pages of ourmagazine on these nearby villages from Szabolcs county, too.The appointed commander of this Industrial Group, Rittmeister Eugen Zoárd Prince Odescalchi,originated from an old family of Italian nobles. Surrounded by rumours of financial malpractices,he committed suicide in Demecser on April 3rd, 1917.Between April 3rd and 12th, 1917, the persons assigned to this Industrial Group of the 12th Divisionof the War Ministry were counted, and we have extracted the following data:The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 22
  23. 23. Antalόcz Demecser Rétköz Officers 5 7 2 Soldiers 516 419 51 War Workers 307 68 50 Civil Employees 7 12 3 Female Helpers 2 8 1 Children 20 - - Italian POWs 942 87 Russian POWs 3438 1260 213 Serbian POWs 644 72 Table: Head count of persons belonging to the Industrial Group.Overall there were 6656 POWs in these three labour camps. For Demecser we don’t have theindividual figures for the POW nationalities, only the sum. We also know from archive documentsthat some of the POWs worked on building a railway line from Ungvár to Antalόcz. Detail of the map from the 3rd Military Survey (approx. 1910).This railway followed the road from Ungvár to Szerednye and then turned north, following thevalley of the river Wiela to Antalόcz. In 1910 this village had 725 inhabitants (Ruthenians, Slovaks,and Hungarians). Only since 1915 it had its own post office – this was probably opened as aneffect of the large POW camp nearby, with hundreds of soldiers and war workers.According to Karel Beneš (»Železnice na Podkarpatské Rusi«, 1995) the railway Ungvár – Antalόczwas opened (for use by the Armed Forces of the Habsburg monarchy) on May 10th, 1916. It wasabout 34,5 kilometres long and had a gauge of 760 mm. During WWI it belonged to the “K. u. k.Heeresfeldbahn”; from January 1st, 1919, until April 21st, 1919, it was administered by the Hunga-rian State Railways (MÁV) and later (June 1920) taken over by the Czech State Railways (ČSD).The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 23
  24. 24. The POW camp in Antalόcz was so large that it had its own camp money: Lagergeld [Camp money] from Antalόcz (collection Herbert Robisch).Since the card in my possession was written August 6th, 1918, it seems probable that the POWlabour camp in Antalόcz has existed at least from June 1915 to August 1918. Cover of a letter, Antalόcz, probably May 9th, 1916, to Vienna (collection Herbert Robisch).This cover carries the rare cachet “TECHNISCHE LEITUNG / DER INDUSTRIEGRUPPE / ANTALOCZ”[Technical command of Industrial Group Antalocz] (in red). Being written on offical matters, itwent free of charge (red mark “Dienstsache Portofrei”).The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 24
  25. 25. Fieldpost card used for POW correspondance, Demecser, written in Italian language on December 18th, 1916, to Altoona (Pennsylvania, USA) (collection Herbert Robisch).The above card, from an Italian POW in the Demecser camp of the described “Industriegruppe der12. Abteilung des K. u. k. Kriegsministeriums”, was sent to the United States of America. Sincethe card also carries an imprint of the “K. u. K. KRIEGSGEFANGENENLAGER MAUTHAUSEN” markdated “20 DEC 916”, it is possible that the POWs in Antalόcz and/or Demecser were originallycoming from this large POW camp in Upper Austria.Also from the Austrian State Archive we have one page with a number of reference imprints fromcachets of the “Industriegruppe der 12. Abteilung”. The more interesting ones are as follows:The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 25
  26. 26. Money transfer order for 40 K, Smederevo (Serbia), March 12th, 1917, to Antalόcz (collection Herbert Robisch). Reverse of the above money transfer order.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 26
  27. 27. As can be seen from the respective cancellations, the money transfer order was in the POW campAschach an der Donau on March 14th, 1917, then went to Demecser (April 24th, 1917), and finallyreached its recipient in Antalόcz on May 9th, 1917. Please also take note of the (rather weak)violet cachet “Industriegruppe der 12. Abt. / des K. u. k. KRIEGSMINISTERIUMS”. Another money transfer order, Užice (Serbia), October 26th, 1917, to a Serbian POW in Demecser (collection Herbert Robisch).The later money transfer order was properly cancelled with the c.d.s. of Demecser (October 31st,1917) and the amount of money paid out on November 3rd, 1917. Reply part of the very first card shown – has not been used.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 27
  28. 28. Nagy GáborMore about Borsa and the Prislop RailwayHaving read Helmut’s article in the SCM #019 (pages 20 and 21), I decided to check against myown collection. Having found a few items, I would like to present them here. Front and reverse of a colour picture postcard, showing the Borsa valley.This picture postcard carries a rather illegible cachet and the military stamp “K. u. K. ETAPPEN-POSTAMT | 260” of February 16th, 1918.This “Etappenpostamt” (F. P. O. in the “Hinterland” or communications zone) according to offi-cial documents was established on February 1st, 1916, in Novipazar, operated there until May 15th,1916, and then was again operating from August 8th, 1916, until June 10th, 1918. Heinz Nagel(»Katalog der k. u. k. Feldpostämter und deren Einsatzgebiete mit Truppen und Kriegsereig-nissen«, 2007) has this stamp assigned to the “Etappenkommando” of the 7th Army in the Buko-vina from January to April 1918.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 28
  29. 29. Photograph with complete view of Prislop. Field post card with cachet “Von der Armee im Felde | K. u. k. Prislopbahn” and Hungarian T. P. O. “BO[RSA – VISÓVÖLGY – MÁRAMAROSS]ZIGET | A 470 A” of August 28th, 1918.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 29
  30. 30. Miroslav BachratýOn the Late Use of Hungarian T. P. O. Marks after the Great WarIn the SCM #018, page 24, a picture postcard from 1921 was shown with the postmark “KIRÁLY-HÁZA − MISKOLC − BUDAPEST | D 34 D”, a bit peculiar because at this point in time the town Krá-lovo nad Tisou (Királyháza in Hungarian) belonged to the First Czechoslovak Republic.I think that such late uses of ex-Hungarian T. P. O. marks are just “normal” – the postmarks wereused irrespective of the correct political boundaries and railway station names until the originat-ing postal administrations found time (and money) to exchange them. Letter, probably from Bratislava, to Vienna, August 20th, 1923, with T. P. O. mark “POZSONY – WIEN | 220” as of old. Picture postcard with “corrected” T. P. O. mark “WIEN – MARCHEGG | 220” of December 27th, 1932.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 30
  31. 31. Postcard from Rajka / Rag(g)endorf to Wilfersdorf near Bruck a. d. Leitha, July 2nd, 1926, with “old” T. P. O. mark “POZSONY | SZOMBATHELY | 175 | SZ.”.Rajka (see mark A in the below current Google map) is interesting because it lies near the pointwhere the state borders of Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia meet. The above card carries a redmark “RAJKA” but the sender used the old (German) name of Ragendorf for this location.[This Google map was added by the editor who thinks that the postal history of the CarpathoUkraine can’t always be confined to exactly this area. Please keep your minds open.]The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 31
  32. 32. Helmut KobelbauerThe Repatriation Camp 706 (Havasalja / Körösmező)In the collection of Dr. Simády Béla there is a picture postcard (of raftsmen near Körösmező) withthe curious cachet “K. u. k. Heimkehrlager Nr. 706 | Havasalja”, written August 6th, 1918: This is a(n extremely rare) photograph of the repatriation camp in Havasalja.The Sub-Carpathian Messenger – Number 20 (April 2012) Page: 32