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The Letters of Deportees in Vilnius Main Post Office

Oct 31, 2013

Today, commemorating The Dayof Mourning and Hope, Vilnius Main Post Office opens a philatelic exhibition on the theme The Letters of Siberia.

Visitors of the exhibition will be able to see the authentic letters of deportees collected by a famous philatelist Juozas Urbonas. The exhibition also includes postage stamps, envelopes, and cancellations used in the Gulag.

“There were no any post offices in the Gulag, and no special envelopes or postcards were issued. The first letters written in railway wagons were thrown through the windows hoping that they will be found and delivered to the indicated addresses. A part of such exhibits are presented in this exhibition“, the author of the exhibition Mr Urbonas said.

In exile, letters were written on birch barks, family pictures or postcards taken from home or any other sheets of paper; letters and envelopes were reused several times. The majority of letters were written using pencils, ink, or deadmatches.

The collection The Letters of Siberia was launched a decade ago. A part of philatelic materials was retained in the archives of the author and his relatives. Some exhibits are being shown for the first time ever, namely letters sent to various high level institutions of the Soviet Union, units of NKVD located in districts and regions.

The exhibition has received high level awards in international exhibitions. In 2010, Mr Urbonas received a gold-plated medal in the European Championship held in Antwerp (Belgium), and in the international exhibition of 2011 held in Grodno (Belarus) he received the Great Gold Medal.