St. Gallen, Switzerland
20 Teufenerstrasse
St. Gallen, Switzerland

St. Gallen as it appears in the 1940
Collier Atlas and Gazeteer

Submitted by Quizmaster Mike Dalton
Przemysl was right on the line dividing German
occupied Poland from Russian occupied Poland,
pursuant to the Hitler-Stalin pact entered into on
the eve of the war. When the card arrived in
Przemysl, someone entered a pencilled notation on
the left of the card front that the addressee "finds
himself on the Russian side."  
On the front, the
same person wrote "Russland" in pencil on
the front below the original address.  Note the
similarity in handwriting.
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Quiz #377 Results
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Answer to Quiz #377 - December 2, 2012
1.  Where did this postcard originate?
2.  How many countries did it pass through?  In what order?
3.  Name one problem in getting it to the addressee.
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Mike Dalton                Arthur Hartwell
Gary Rice                Joshua Kreitzer
Jackie McCarty                Gus Marsh
John Pero                Collier Smith
Anthony Knapp                Dennis Brann
Carol Farrant                Jean Callum
Marcelle Comeau                Daniel Jolley
Judy Pfaff
Comments from Our Readers
Comments: there are numerous geographic clues on the postcard. There would have
been postal security problems with the postcard being mailed from a neutral country
through a warring country to an occupied country that was occupied by two warring
countries. A postcard picture and postmark would give the reader an idea where the
addressor was in Gallen, Switzerland and an indication that someone in Gallen had
come from Presemysl, Poland. A look at a circa 1940 World atlas of this region
would indicate that the postcard went from the border City of Gallen, Switzerland and
across Lake Constance by ferry to the border city of Frederickshafen in Germany and
likely by rail to Krakow, Poland and on east to Presmysl. This disputed region of
Poland was in a border area with both Germany and Soviet Russia. It is a bit of
mystery as to how the postcard made its way back to France in 1943.

In postal regulations, the postcard would  be forwarded on to a known address or
returned to sender if not at a known address. The known address can vary from a
specific street or a post office box address to general delivery, If not deliverable or
returnable, the piece of mail may languish in the backroom of some post office in
what is known as a "dead letter" file. In a war ravaged area, mail service would be
very dicey, as the post office could be destroyed or the intended addressees being
dead, deported or missing.
  Mike Dalton
You mean a problem besides the small matter of WW2 raging all around this
area? Well, for one thing, the "ADRESAT NIEZNANY" stamp means
"addressee unknown" in Polish. So Herrn Sumpf apparently had moved
away, died, or been swept up by the Nazi machine. Frankly, I am amazed that a
postcard from Switzerland even made it to the right town, given the state of
affairs in central and eastern Europe at that moment.
  Collier Smith
I didn't think I stood a chance of figuring this one out.  As a kid I collected stamps,
so I knew it started out in Switzerland.  The text side of the card has a stamped
"addressee unknown" in German.  That would take care of the one problem question.  
But question 2 looked impossible.  With nothing to lose, I searched "postcard Josef
Sumpf".  Bingo!  The card went from Switzerland to Przemysl, Poland (first the
German occupied side then the Russian occupied side), then to Russia, back to
Poland and then eventually back to Switzerland.  That would be three countries.  
Josep may have been okay when he checked in with the Joint Distribution Committee,
but, if he was Jewish and living in Przemysl, his fate was pretty much sealed.
  Carol Farrant
I did find Herr Sumpf's birth cerificate online, born 14 Oct 1923 in Przemysal
and circumcised one week later.

I did a good bit of determining the origin and next stops for the postcard and did
come up with info on the division of and ultimate (during the war) occupation of the
city but did end up at this site for the rest of the

story, as Paul Harvey said.
John Pero
One problem that contributed to Herr Sumpf from not receiving the card was the fact
that Przemsyl was divided, but a more likely scenario could be that he was a Polish
Jew and disappeared where Jews of the era generally disappeared at the time.
  Daniel Jolley
1.  St. Gallen, Switzerland
2.  Switzerland, German-occupied Poland, Russian-occupied Poland,
the Soviet Union, German-occupied Poland, Switzerland
3.  The addressee was known to have moved to the Russian side of Przemsyl,
the Germans overran the Russian side of Przemsyl while the card on its way to
and from the Soviet Union, the addressee could have died or been deported.
na stronie

on the
Russian side
Clues in the Picture
Swiss Stamp
You could Google the name of the Addressee Joseph Sumpf.
"fruh Polen" means "former Poland" in German.
This indicates that the card was sent after Germany invaded Poland.
St. Gallen, Switzerland return address,
date, and postmark 19 November 1940
You could Google the sender of the
card Saly Mayer to discover she was
the representative of the Joint
Distribution Committee in Switzerland during the war.
If you Googled combinations of the clues above, you would have arrived at the website where the rest of the story can
be found.  I don't agree with some of the explanations on this website, so I have added
my own comments in
Adresat Nieznany
wywlano bezskutecznie

Addressee Unknown
expropriation [delivery]
without success

The card went back to the post office where it
was stamped on the back side with "Addressee
unknown; called without result-- Przemysl Post
It was received on the
Russian side and stamped
with a Russian cancellation
for Przemsyl
dated December 26, 1940.
The card was then sent to
Moscow which could do nothing
with it and returned it to Przemysl
with a boxed stamp:
I don't know if I agree
with this.  Whey would the
Russian's stamp the card in
French when returning it to
German or Russian Poland?  I
believe that
The final markings are a stamped box reading "Retour-Inconnu" (return-unknown in
and a crayoned arrow pointing toward the Swiss-imprinted stamp. Note
also that the name of the addressee "Sumpf" is written near the stamp and
several items including the original address, the word "Russland" both in pencil
and printed at an angle to the left, are scratched out in the same orange crayon.
It was received back in Przemysl
pursuant to a cancellation dated
February 21, 1941 and another
dated April 27, 1941. (Postmarks
are in Russian).
this stamp could have been added later in Switzerland (the only
French speaking country in this story), as an indication that it was
returned from Moscow. "Retour- Moscou- Rebuts" means "return
Moscow disposal".
On June 22, 1941, the
Germans invaded Russia and
immediately occupied
Przemysl. The next marking
is a date stamp of November
4, 1941, reading "Deutsch
The word "Deutsch" (German) and the Nazi wehrmacht postmark.
We have news to share with you from
Charles Schwarz that he is doing well
health-wise.  He has unfortunately not
heard anything from you lately and
would be very happy if we could find
out from you how you are doing.

Best regards,

Saly Mayer
The founding of St. Gallen
is attributed to the Irish
monk Gallus (ca 550–620
or 640), who built a
hermitage by the river
Steinach in 612 CE. It is
the capital of the canton of
St. Gallen in Switzerland.

St. Gallen is situated in the
northeastern part of
Switzerland in a valley
about 700 meters (2,300
ft) above sea level. It is
one of the highest cities in Switzerland and it often receives
a lot of snow in winter. The city is pleasantly situated
between Lake Constance and the mountains of the
Appenzell Alps (with the Säntis as the highest peak at 2,502
meters (8,209 ft)). It therefore offers excellent recreation
areas nearby.

As the city center is built on an unstable turf ground (thanks
to its founder Gallus who was looking for a hermitage and
not founding a city), all buildings on the valley floor must be
built on piles. For example, the entire foundation of the train
station and its plaza are based on hundreds of piles.

The main tourist attraction is the Abbey of St. Gall, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its renowned library
contains books which date back to the 9th century.

The city has good transport links to the rest of the country
and to neighbouring Germany and Austria. It also functions
as the gate to the Appenzell Alps.


Przemysl, Poland as it appears in the
1940 Collier Atlas and Gazeteer

Submitted by Quizmaster Mike Dalton
Ul. 3 Maja No. 5
Przemysl, Poland
Przemśyl, Poland
tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around
899, the Lendians of the area declared allegiance to the
Hungarian authorities. The Przemyśl region then became a
site of contention between Poland, Kievan Rus and Hungary
beginning in at least the 9th century. The area was
mentioned for the first time in 981 by Nestor, when
Vladimir I of Kievan Rus took it over on the way into
Poland. In 1018 Przemyśl returned to Poland, and in 1031 it
was retaken by Rus. Between the 11th and 12th century the
city was a capital of the Principality of Peremyshl, one of
the principalities that made up the Kievan Rus' state.
Sometime before 1218 an Eastern Orthodox eparchy was
founded in the city. Przemyśl later became part of the
Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia.

Przemyśl, the second-
oldest city in southern
Poland (after Kraków),
appears to date from as
early as the 8th century.
The region subsequently
became part of the 9th-
century Great Moravian
state. Archeological
remains testify to the
presence of a monastic
settlement as early as the
9th century. Upon the
invasion of the Hungarian
Joseph Sumpf-Bierman's Birth Certificate
submitted by John Pero
Przemysl, administrative district Przemysl, Lvov
Civil Registry Office of the Jewish Israelite
Congregation Community of Przemysl
Type of document
Certificate of Birth, extract from the civil registry
book of births of 1923, volume 11, page 31, entry
402, handwritten on a standard printed form
Name, sex, and legitimacy
of birth
Josef SUMPF or BIERMAN, male, born in
legitimate marriage
Date and place of birth
14.10.1923, Przemysl
Date of circumcision
Naftali Sumpf
Residence and occupation
Przemysl, merchant
Gittel Marjem SUMPF (born BIERMAN)
Family origin
Daughter of Jacob and Reisel BIERMAN
Markus Abraham SCHEUER and Meier SCHILLER
Circumcision Operator
Supplementary information
Date and place of issuance
21.07.1935, Przemysl
Signature illegible
Great Analysis by Judy Pfaff