Field postcards for Christmas

In the last pieces of the “Pink Postcards” series we have seen how much Károly worried, whether they would be ordered to the front before Christmas, and with what a joy he reported to his bride that, fortunately, they will stay at home for the feast. Others, however, were not so lucky. On the occasion of Christmas, we remember with a few seventy-year old field postcards from the collection of János Fellner those, who, not of their own choice, spent the feast thousands of miles away from their loved ones.

“A pleasant Christmas and a happy new year!”

On 13 December 1942, Buck Sergeant László Kovacsics greets his bride, Miss Lujzika Faust in Budapest, Zsigmond Street – now Frankel Leó Street – with a hand-drawn field postcard. The drawing was apparently multiplied with carbon paper by a skillful member of the battalion, who was compensated for his service with cigarettes, brandy, or replacement in the patrol. I remember this well, because in our battalion I was this skillful one. Accordingly, the female face does not depict the actual darling, but the contemporary ideal of beauty, most certainly modeled after Katalin Karády, whose song entitled “Somewhere in Russia” – as we have seen – was already the inspiration number one of the field postcards.

Katalin Karády: Somehwere in Russia (1942)

The Hungarian army also issued postcards with printed drawings, where the clumsy sincerity of the individual drawings are replaced by the patriarchal and patriotic pathos of the central ideology. The leitmotif may be a Karády song here, too: “Far away, in the Russian land whines the wind / a sentry is standing on his post, a brave Hungarian lad…” The postcard was released both with an urban and a rural family.

“[Wishing you] a happy Hungarian Christmas!”

And a version without families, for the unmarried soldiers, with a war correspondent fleeing a deer. The date is 1941: this was the first Christmas when the field post operated.

“Happy Christmas and New Year from the Russian land. Edition of the war correspondent battalion”

The field post did not close after the end of the war either. From 1946 it was possible to send letters via the Red Cross to those in Soviet captivity. The Communist Party, discovering the propaganda opportunity, issued bilingual, Hungarian-Russian Christmas postcards to be used only in this period, for which they guaranteed access to the addressee through their Soviet connections. You can imagine what the captives languishing in the camps might have thought when reading the slogan “Strengthen the Hungarian-Soviet friendship”. But it was all the same, if this was the price to obtain news of their loved ones.

“26 November 1947. My dear Józsi, my sweet little husband, if fate requires so that you cannot be here in your little house even for Christmas, I wish you a pleasant Christmas, feel well, and know that Babuska is yours forever. In spirit you will be with me here, at home. Kissing you a million times, your wife who is waiting for you even on Christmas Eve, Babuska”

2 comentarios:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey dijo...

Thank you for providing us readers with so much pleasure though 2014 and may I wish one and all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you, Rupert, and the same for you!