Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fascinating World War 2 Methodist Cover from Finland

The illustrated cover has recently been sold on e-Bay for US $229. Click the picture to see a full size image.

It's a fascinating cover, here is the e-Bay seller's description: Finland airmail registered cover to the US censored by Finland and by the British. Illegible Helsinki postmark probably late 1941 or early 1942. Lisbon backstamp 22 Jan. 1942. On front purple "Held by British Censor until Jan1946". Also smaller "RELEASED" in black. NYArrival marks on back. So what info was the Finish Methodist Committee sending to the Methodist Committee in the US that was so dangerous?

A good question! The cover is clearly printed stationery of the Finnish Methodist Church and comes from around the time when the United Kingdom had declared war on Finland following Finland's 1941 attack on the Soviet Union, known to the Finns as the "Continuation War". Essentially the Finnish government had taken advantage of Hitler's invasion of the USSR to try and recover the territories lost in the "Winter War" of 1939/40.

The cover may well have been posted in December 1941 before the USA entered the war and had reached Lisbon en route to a US address by 22 January 1942. So how did it end up in the hands of a British censor? And why was it held until the end of the war?

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