Austrian History, shown on stamps and covers.

The history of Austria is a very interesting and turbulent one. The country is known by German speaking people as "Österreich", which originally meant "East of the Reich". The Reich in this case, was the "Holy Roman Empire". The House of Habsburg seized Austria in 1282 and ruled, without a break until 1918.

During this reign, the Austrian Empire extended over Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary, part of Russia, Poland, Rumania, Yugoslavia and a smaller part of Italy.
In 1914, when the Austrian Government issued mobilisation papers, it had to do so in about 40 different languages.
In March 1772 Joseph Hardy started the "Vienna Little Mail ", which collected and delivered mail within Vienna at a charge of 2 kreuzer and outside the city limits for 3 kreuzer. This "Little Mail" ran at a loss and was joined to the Supreme Court Post Office in 1785. These services were reorganised in 1847 and in 1850 adhesive stamps were introduced.
The first adhesive postage stamps were for the whole of the Empire, with the exception of the Italian territories of Lombardy and Venetia, as they had a different currency .Their currency was based on silver, while the Austrian currency was based on paper.

Although Austria introduced adhesive stamps in 1850, this cover does not carry stamps. It was sent from Vienna on March 13 and arrived in Paris on March 16, 1855. It is marked as paid (FRANCO) and the pencil mark of 9/20 probably means 9 kreuzer to the border and 20 kreuzer from there to Paris.

The earliest cover in my collection, is this entire which was sent from Trieste (now Italy) on April 2, 1851 to Neumarktl (which is now Trzic in Slovenia) where it arrived on April 3. It is franked with the 6 kreuzer value of the first adhesive stamps, issued in the Austrian Empire. (SG6)

The next entire was sent from Bisenz-Pisek (a town in SE Moravia, now in the Czech republik) on August 5 1851, to Dzng Ostra, which is a town that I could not place, nor could I decypher the arrival date. This one is franked with the 3 kreuzer nomination.

This entire was sent from Trieste on June 22 1852 to Ponte S.M.Maddalena (in Lombardy) where it arrived on the 24th. It is franked with the 9 kreuzer.

This cover was sent from Riva (on the coast in Croatia) on the 19th of April 1854 to Desenzano (in Lombardy), where it was received 2days later on the 21st. It is franked with the 3 kreuzer.

This is a cover that was sent from Linz (in Austria, south of the Czech border) on April 20 1855 and arrived in Prague on April 22. It is franked with 9 kreuzer.

A very interesting cover is this death notice. It is sent from Pressjung to Ofen, on October 19, in the years between 1850 and 1854 and took only one day to travel. It is addressed to "Seiner Hochwohlgeboren Herrn Franz von Oeffner." This was the correct form of address for German Barons, Knights or Freiherren. The address is Festung Fortuna No 152 at Ofen. This points to a military man at the Fortress Fortuna at Buda. "Ofen" was the German name for the westbank of the Danube at Budapest. It is franked with the 9 kreuzer nomination, showing that it must have travelled a fair distance.

This is an Austrian stamp of the same series, which was used in the Italian territories of Austria and the nomination is 15 cents of the soldo.

In 1858 there was a change of currency in the Empire. Instead of 60 kreuzer to the gulden, it became 100 kreuzer to the gulden, so a new issue of stamps was called for. The new stamps carried the portrait of Kaiser Franz Joseph 1.

This entire used the 10 kreuzer nomination of the new stamps, as it was sent from Trieste on October 1 1859 to Neumarktl, where it was received on October 3. It must have travelled over Stadt Laibach (Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia), as it has a date cancel from there of October 2.

This entire carries the 15 kreuzer nominaton of the new currency, as it was sent from Vienna on December 14 1860, to Grafenwöhr (in Eastern Bavaria, Germany), where it arrived on December 17. Grafenwöhr was then and is still a famous training ground for military personel.

In 1860 new stamps were issued with the Emperor facing right and in 1863 stamps which depicted the Arms of Austria.

That these stamps were used all over the Empire, is shown by the stamps here, that were cancelled in Brody, a city in Western Ukraine, while the two under mentioned entires, were used in the Italian territories.

The first of those two entires was sent from Padova (Padua, city in the Venetia region) on July 22 1863 to Este (which is in the same region). It must have been posted early in the morning as it arrived on the same day. The nomination of this stamp is in soldi.

The other entire was sent from Badia (in the Venezia region) on May 15 1862 and arrived in Montova (Montua, in Lombardy) on the 16th. The postage cost was the same.

This entire was sent from Vienna on November 16 1861 to Kreutzhütte, which is a place near Klentsch in the Czech republic, where it arrived in Prague on November 17. It is franked with a 15 kreuzer nomination.

This entire is also franked with the 15 kreuzer value and it was sent from Vienna on July 16 1862 to Adlerkosteletz in the Czech republic, which is now called Kostelec nad Orlici. It arrived there the next day, without going through Prague.

This entire, franked with the 10 kreuzer Arms issue was also sent to Adlerkosteletz, but this time from Prague and arrived on November 5 1865. It was written on the 13th.

This entire is franked with the 5 kreuzer nomination and was sent from Stadt Laibach (at present Ljubljana, capitol of Slovenia) on December 16 1863 to Rosegg (In Carinthia), but has an arrival rubber stamp of "Velden 17 Dec".(Velden is now a popular tourist resort on the Wörthersee, in Carinthia).

This entire went from Klagenfurt (capitol of Carinthia)on June 9 1865 also to Rosegg, where it arrived on June 10. This time the Velden rubberstamp (on the other side) reads the same as the departure stamp nl June 9. I presume that this Velden was a mail center, from where mail was conveyed to Rosegg.It also carries a 5 kreuzer Arms stamp.

Austria was the first country in the world, that issued 'Newspaper stamps".

This allowed sending newspapers and magazines at a reduced rate. The practice lasted until the middle of the 20th century, when the mail service started to deal directly with the publishers.

1866 was a bad year for the Austrian Empire and really the start of the beginning of the end. Prussia and Austria went to war over the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein, which they had managed jointly, since 1864. Prussia, who desired Holstein to dig the "Kieler kanal", defeated the Austrians at Königratz. At the peace conference, Austria also had to surrender her Italian territories to the newly formed state of Italy. Because of the defeat, Emperor Franz Joseph was forced to give Hungary an even say in the government of the Empire.Thus the Emperor of Austria also became King of Hungary and the new dual monarchy became known as "Austria-Hungary".

A new issue of stamps was called for, that would be valid in both countries.
These stamps featured Emperor Franz Joseph and were used in Hungary until 1871,

when Hungary started to issue her own stamps,

with still Franz Joseph on the stamps.

This entire was sent from a place(illegible) near Marburg, a town now in Slovenia, which became part of the "Kingdom Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" and later Yugoslavia. It was sent on July 18 and arrived a day later, on July 19 1868 in Bleiburg, a town in Carinthia.

The next entire was from the "Heinrich Klinger" company, that manufactured linen and had branches in Vienna, Budapest,Zwittau (Moravia) and in Brünn (the traditional capitol of Moravia). It was sent from Vienna on March 5 1878 and arrived via Prevali in Schwarzenbach (a town in Bavaria) on the 7th.

This cover surprised me, as it has additional franking, while it only went from Vienna to Bleiburg. It showed no sign of being registered and the only extra rubberstamp read:"AGMDT". When I read the letter inside, I found that the addressee had responded within the same letter and must have sent it back. The only date cancels are Januari 28 1880, while the answer was written on Januari 31. Would the number 540 indicate that reply was paid for?

The first correspondence card in the Austrian postal system was sent on November 24, 1872. The North German post followed and so did Switzerland. These cards were not available over the counter untill 1873. These cards were restricted to inland use only and it took till 1906 before the UPU in Rome decided to unrestricted use of the correspondence cards.

Here is one of the first type of correspondence cards. The format of these cards was 12 X 8.5 cm and the franking was an imprinted 2 kreuzer.This one went from Pettau (modern Slovenia) to Pest (eastern part of Budapest, Hungary.)

Later on the cards became a little bigger, like this one which is 14 X 8.5 cm. It was sent from Labau near Podersam, in Bohemia (now in the Czech republic), on May 15 1883 and arrived in Bregenz (on Lake Constance) on May 18. It is still franked 2 kreuzer, but with an orange imprint.

Although Hungary was issuing its own stamps now, her second issue is very much like the new issue for Austria. The Austrian stamps show the Emperor's crown, while the Hungarian ones show the Crown of St. Stephen.

And this cover carries the 5 kreuzer value of the new Austrian stamp issue of 1883.

In 1878, after the Russo-Turkish war, the Congress of Berlin awarded Austria control of Bosnia and Austria issued special stamps for that area.

Austria also operated a post office in Turkish-occupied Crete and used there its Austrian Italian stamps till 1867; there after the same stamps as were used in the Austrian post offices in the Turkish Empire.

Then in 1890, a new set of stamps was issued, in kreuzer and gulden nomination and with the portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph

This cover was sent from Vienna to Bleiburg on November 27 1891 and took one day to get there. It is franked with the 5 kreuzer nomination.

Another cover sent from Vienna, 4 years later on June 15 1894, to Bleiburg and franked with a similar stamp of 5 kreuzer and arriving the next day.

And here is one of the correspondence cards, that remained in fashion. The postal charge for these was still 2 kreuzer.

Then in 1899, Austria changed her currency from 100 kreuzer in the gulden to 100 heller in the krone, because she changed to the Gold standard. In Hungary, it became 100 filler to the korona. So new stamps were called for.

The correspondence cards remained popular, but as the new heller was twice the value of the kreuzer, the franking was now 5 heller.

Then in 1908, the country celebrated the 60th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph's accession to the Throne and a beautiful set of stamps were issued, that depicted the rulers of the House of Habsburg from Charles VI (1711) onwards.

Charles VI 1685-1740
Charles VI came to the Throne as Charles III of Aragon & Castilla, but changed his name to Charles VI, on acceding the Austrian Throne. He was born in 1685 and became Holy Roman Emperor in 1711 and died in 1740.

He prepared the "Pragmatic Sanction of 1713", which stated that his realm could not be divided and allowed that daughters could inherit the Throne of their fathers. This enabled his daughter Marie Theresia to succeed him on the Throne. As a consequence of his Spanish upbringing he introduced, among many other things, the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

Maria Theresia 1717-1780
Maria Theresia was the first female ruler of the Habsburg Empire. She became sovereign, when her father, Charles VI, died in 1740.
She had 16 children, including Queen of France, Marie Antoinette and was a keyfigure in the power politics of the 18th century and brought unity to the House of Habsburg.

After her husband Francis I (Holy Roman Emperor) died in 1765, she was co-regent with her son Joseph II, of the Habsburg dominions. She died in 1780 and her son Joseph II became her successor.
Francis I 1708 - 1765
Francis I was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, although his wife effectively executed the real power of these positions.
With his wife, he was the founder of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. Francis and Maria Theresia were married in 1736 and had 16 children together. His wife secured his election to the Holy Roman Empire in succession to Charles VII and made him co-regent of her hereditary dominions. He suddenly died in 1765 and was officially succeeded by his eldest son Joseph II, although the real power remained with Maria Theresia.

Joseph II 1741-1790
Joseph II is famous for his many reforms and the failure of many of these. After his mother died, Joseph abolished serfdom and the death penalty; he made German the official language in the Empire, ended censorship of the press and his policy of religious toleration, was the most advanced of Europe. He had no capacity for war and his low point was the "Battle of Karansebes" in 1788, when the Austrian army ran away from an Ottoman army, that was not there. In short, the Hussars went scouting for Turks, found none, but found gypsies that sold them liquor. Infantry units found the Hussars and wanted their share of the liquor. The Hussars refused and a shot was fired. This was a sign for the rest of the troops to start firing. The officers shouted"Halt Halt", but this was heard as "Allah Allah", by non German speaking troops, who started to flee.The Emperor was was pushed off his horse and landed in a creek. Two days later, when the Turks arrived, they found 10,000 dead and wounded Austrian soldiers, who had been shooting at each other.
Joseph died in 1790 and was succeeded by his brother Leopold II.

Leopold II 1747-1792
Leopold II was only Holy Roman Emperor for 2 years, after having been Grand Duke of Tuscanny from 1765-1790. Although he was there involved in reforming the administration of that State, he was never popular with his Italian subjects. He did abolish capital punishment and banned torture. This event is commemorated on November 30, by 300 cities around the world, celebrating: "Cities for Life Day".

It was during his reign as Emperor, that his sister Queen Marie Antoinette sent him passionate appeals for help and he was pestered by the Royalist French refugees for armed intervention. He suddenly died in Vienna in 1792 and was succeeded by his eldest son Francis II

Francis II 1768-1835
Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 1806, when he dissolved the Empire after loosing the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1804 he had founded the Austrian Empire and became Francis I of Austria and ruled from 1804-1835.
He led Austria into the French Revolutionary wars and was defeated by Napoleon several times. After Austerlitz, he was forced to agree to dissolve the Holy Roman Empire and the reorganisation of Germany under a Napoleonic imprint. In 1815 after Waterloo, the Congress of Vienna was a personal triumph for Francis.
He died in 1835 and was succeeded by his son Ferdinand.

Ferdinand 1793-1875
Ferdinand was Emperor of Austria from 1835 until 1848, when he abdicated in favour of his nephew Franz Joseph. Although Ferdinand's younger brother, Franz Karl, was next in line, he was pursuaded to waive his succession rights in favour of his son Franz Joseph.
Ferdinand was said to be feeble minded and epileptic. He suffered up to 20 seisures a day, which restricted his ability to rule and therefor a regent's council steered the Government. After a series of revolts swept the Empire in 1848 (as it did in the rest of Europe) he decided to abdicate. He died in 1875.

Franz Joseph 1830-1916
Here we see the portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph as an 18 year old youth, when he became Emperor in 1848, after his father had waived his succession rights. At 13 years of age, he started as colonel in the Austrian army, which explains why his fashion was always the military uniform. The first two years of his rule were rather turbulent, with revolutions in Hungary and in Vienna, but by 1850 things had returned to normal. He married Elisabeth of Bavaria (Sissi) in 1854, but that was not a happy marriage. Their first child died as an infant, their only son, Rudolf, committed suicide in 1889 and Empress Sissie was stabbed to death in 1898.

Portrait after 30 years.
In 1852, Franz Joseph's prime minister died and as he could not find a suitable replacement, the Emperor took over himself as prime minister. In 1866, after Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussia war, Austria had to agree to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, where in Austria and Hungary would have seperate parliaments, that met in Vienna and Budapest. Austria-Hungary became a dual Monarchy and Franz Joseph was crowned King of Hungary in Budapest in 1867.

Here we see the Emperor in 1908, in different situations.

The Imperial palace in Vienna called "Schönnbrunn", where Franz Joseph was born and where he died.

The Emperor's face appeared on cards as well.

The Austrian post offices in Turkey also used these stamps, but they were in para and piaster values.

This card was sent from Constantinople to Innsbruk and franked with the 10 centimes Jubileum stamp. The cancellation reads : ÖSTERR.POST CONSTANTINOPEL !!! 7-12-12

In 1908 Emperor Franz Joseph celebrated his 80th birthday and the country issued special stamps for it.

In that same year, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegowina, under loud protests of Serbia and Russia.

Then on that fateful day of June 28 1914, the Emperor's successor, Archduke Ferdinand, was assassinated in the Capital of Bosnia, Serajewo, by a Serbian nationalist. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia went to Serbia's aid and Germany sided with Austria. On that day, the war to end all wars started and claimed millions of victims all over the world. It caused the death of 8 million people and the collapse of 3 Empires. The Austria-Hungarian, the German and the Russian.

The Emperors stamps were reissued for war charity purposes.

Stamps were issued to show how the war was fought and what with.

Hungary showed war scenes as well.

Communications between the army and home and between the different army groups were taken care of with Feldpost stamps.

Even newspapers went in military style.

Austrian-Hungarian troops occupied Serbia.

In 1916 a new serie of stamps were issued, depicting the Imperial Austrian Crown, His Majesty Franz Joseph and the Arms of Austria.

In the same year Franz Joseph died and Charles I became the new Emperor-King of Austria-Hungary.

In Hungary stamps were issued with the new Emperor as King of Hungary with the Crown of St.Stephen and his wife Queen Zita

The feldpost stamps had to be changed to show the new Emperor.

Fighting continued and Austrian troops occupied part of Italy.

Austrian troops were also in Rumania.

Here we see a registered military cover, which was sent from Lublin, (which belonged to Russia since 1815, was in Poland and became occupied by Austrian troops in 1915) sent to Llow (which became the capitol of Galicia after the 3rd partition of Poland and was under Austrian control. It is franked with the 40 heller feldpost stamp.

In 1918 special stamps were issued for the Imperial and Royal welfare fund (a war charity) with the potraits of Emperor-King Charles I and Empress-Queen Zita. These were the last issues with their pictures, as Austria lost the war and became a Republic.

This registered cover, with a block of 4 of Charles I's 15 heller stamp, was sent from Auer to Bozen on November 23 1918, which was 12 days after the armistice was signed. Between 11 and 13 November 1918, Charles relinquished every participation in the administration of the State. (Austria and Hungary), though he never formally abdicated. He was banished from his country and died in exile in the Portugese island of Madeira in 1922.


The Empire, that had consisted of many different peoples and languages, collapsed into several new nations. Bohemia and Moravia from Austria, went together with Slovakia from Hungary and formed the new Republic of Czechoslovakia, with Thomas Masaryk as first president

Their first stamp issue became a contraversial one, as the sun on the design did not show a rising sun, but a setting one and this was seen as a bad omen.

The Kingdom of Hungary suffered a similar fate as Austria. She lost 60% of her territory and because of no coal imports from Germany, she had no railways and no industry. Many returned soldiers and much unemployment added to a very sick economy. And although King Charles had not officially abdicated, a shortlived Republic (Köztarsasag) was proclaimed. There was much internal fighting, until Admiral Horthy restored order.

Admiral Horthy was the last admiral of the Austria-Hungarian navy. As he called himself the "regent", it was said that he was an admiral without a navy and a regent without a kingdom.

Neighbouring nations broke the armistice several times to grab more territory. On the left, the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on Hungarian stamps and on the right we see Rumanian overprints.

Batanya is a Hungarian district that was occupied by Serbien troops after the Austrian army had left. In 1920 Baranya was returned to Hungarian control.

In order to prevent Italy from grabbing the Dalmation coast, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed, which also included Bosnia, Herzegowina, Montenegro and parts of Macedonia.

King Peter I (of Serbia), King of the newly formed Kingdom.

Early stamps from Croatia.

Early stamps from Slovenia.

These were the issues for the whole Kingdom, with the portrait of King Peter I. The stamp in the middle is for a disabled soldiers charity. Later the country was renamed Yugoslavia.

The new country of Poland was created with German occupied territory and the Austrian land in Poland, Silesia and parts of Galicia and Hungarian territory. As they had to cope with different currencies, the early stamps were issued in fenigow and marki for Northern Poland (right) and in halerzy and korony for Southern Poland (left)

Poland and Ukraine disputed areas of Galicia.

After the Russian revolution in 1917, Ukraine proclaimed the "Ukraine National Republic". It was occupied by Austro-German troops from March 1918 to December 1918. It was independent for a short period (1918-1921), before it was absorbed into the USSR.

Now back to the new Republic of Austria.

New, reduced, Austria had now mainly German speaking subjects. The Republic of Austria was proclaimed and elections were held in 1919. The first decision was to declare the wish to unify with Germany, which was not allowed by the victorious powers. So they called the country "Deutschösterreich" (Germanaustria).

The first Chancelor of the new Republic of Austria was DR. Karl Renner, who was born in Moravia in 1870 and died in Vienna in 1951. He is called the "Father of the Republic", as he headed the first government of the new Austrian Republic.

A new series of stamps appeared in 1919 to replace the provisionals of 1918. This time they depicted a posthorn, an allegory of the new Austria (man planting a new tree), the coat of arms of the Republic (with the eagle holding a sickle and a hammer in his talons) and the Parliament building in Vienna. And still carried the name "Deutschösterreich".

Ordered by the "Treaty of Saint Germain" a plebiscite was held in Carinthia on October 1920 to determine the final southern border, between Austria and the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The area, (including Klagenfurt and Bleiburg) voted to stay with Austria.

Another overprint on these stamps was in aid of the victims of the flooding of the Danube.

An overprint of a different nature was this one. This was an illegal overprint to arrange a referendum in Salzburg, which wanted to unite with Germany. As this was forbidden by the allies, it took threatening with force, to abandon the idea.

This is reverse of the above mentioned postcard and it shows how serious it was. It reads:" They say: Help, where you can help/ but nobody listens to us/ that's why we unite with Germany/ that's where we belong"

It was also degreed by the Treaty of Saint Germain, that the country should simply be called "Austria" (Österreich) and therefor a new series of stamps was issued.

As Austria was the legitimate successor of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, it was held accountable and forced to pay reparations. This, together with returning soldiers and German speaking refugees from the lost territories, was overheating the economy and creating hyper inflation.

Postal rate for a local postcard was creeping up to 50 kronen in 1922.

In this period several welfare series were issued, that were sold at twice the face value, with the surplus going to charity. This one was for the musician's welfare fund and featured the great composers.

This series shows beautiful scenes of Austrian towns and benefits the Artist's charity fund.

The first airmail stamps had appeared in 1918, as an overprint with surcharge on the Imperial stamps of 1916. In 1922 , a new series came out, but because of the inflation, with very high denominations. They featured a hawk on the lower values and honoured Wilhelm Kress on the higher values. Wilhelm Kress was an engineer, who in 1901 began trials with a tandem three winged aeroplane (floatplane), that achieved a hop from the water, before it capsized. This was 2 years before the Wright brothers were successful in the USA.

Then in 1925, there came a new currency. 10000 kronen became 1 schilling and that was divided in 100 groschen. The new stamps showed the figure of value, haystacks, eagle in the mountains and the Minorite Church in Vienna.

The local postcard in 1928 did cost 10 groschen.

These letters to Switzerland cost 40 groschen in 1925 and 1926.

In 1926 this set appeared, which was for the benefit of child welfare and depicted scenes from the "Nibelungen" legends. The stamps carried their own surcharge.

This set was to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Republic and showed the portrait of the 2nd President of the Republic, Dr. Michael Hainisch. The stamps cost twice the facevalue at the post office, with the surplus going to the war orphans and invalid children fund.

President Hainisch had put much effort into promotion of tourism and the new definitives of 1929 showed the beauty of Austria.

In 1933 some of the definitives were overprinted with a surcharge for winter relief charity.

Then in 1934 a new set of definitives were issued, that were very popular and lasted until 1938. It depicted Austrian national costumes of the districts mentioned on the stamps. Each value had a different design.

As the unification with Germany had been an Austrian dream since 1918, the Pan German movement became stronger after Hitler started his political life in Germany. An Austrian Nazi party existed as early as 1926. These Nazis staged an unsuccessful coup in 1934, whereby the Federal Chancelor Engelbert Dollfuss was assassinated. A special mourning stamp in blue was issued for him, with a similar stamp, but in black, a year later.

In 1935 a new set of airmail stamps were issued, depicting an aeroplane and beautiful land scapes.

In 1937 the Danube Steam Navigation Co celebrated her centenary.

And these different locomotives also looked back on a hundred years of railway.

Austria was one of the first countries to celebrate Mother's Day and Christmas on postage stamps.

The Anschluss

After the assassination of Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934, Dr Schuschnigg became the new Chancelor. Because of the pressure that Hitler put on him, he decided to proclaim a referendum, to be held on March 13 1938, to vote for an independent Austria. Hitler demanded that the plebiscite was scrapped and that Dr Arthue Seyss-Inquart be appointed Chancelor. Schuschnigg resigned and Seyss-Inquart became chancelor for two days as the German troops entered Vienna the next day and Austria became the new "Ostmark" province of Hitler's Germany. This stamp was issued 50 years later, in 1988.

Dr.Arthur Seyss-Inquart later in 1940, became Reichscommissar of the Netherlands and was hanged at Nuremberg in 1946, as a war criminal.

Within a month of the anschluss, Hitler held a plebiscite for the people to ratify, what had already been done. The Nazis claimed that 99.73% of the vote was theirs. The German postoffice promptly issued a stamp which claimed: "Ein Folk, ein Reich, ein Führer" ("One people, one state and one leader.") Later in the war when the rations became smaller, people used to say: "One people, one state, one leader and only one egg."

The day after the anschluss, Hitler visited the town where he was born in Austria, Braunau on the Inn. He received a tumultous welcome and again the German post office recognised the propaganda value and issued a stamp, celebrating this event.

The German post office also showed in her stamps that Austria was part of Germany now and depicted Austrian scenes on the winter relief stamps, such as Burgenland, Vienna and Tirol.

The same applied to some later winter relief stamps. This time it was Graz, Klagenfurt and Salzburg.

German stamps were being used in former Austria. The Labour force stamps were cancelled in Graz and the Hitler heads in Vienna.

On May 8 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. After 7 years and almost 2 months Austria was free again and Hitler's face on the stamps had to disappear.

Possible stock of German stamps had to be overprinted and the proud name of Österreich reappeared, although it was with German currency.

The new Austria---The 2nd Republic.

In 1943, the Allied powers signed the "Moscow Declaration", which proclaimed the reestablishment of an independent Austria, as a major Allied war aim. In April 1945, the country was liberated and divided in 4 zones of occupation and the city of Vienna was also divided into 4 zones. It took, however, until 1955 for the Allies to agree on a full independence and withdrawal of their forces.

On June 28 1945, the Allied Military Government, (The Americans, British and French) issued stamps depicting a posthorn for areas under Allied occupation. These stamps were printed in Washington and in Austrian currency.

The Russians entered Vienna on April 13 1945 and the other Allies 14 days later. The stamps that the Russians issued on July 3 1945, depicted the coat of arms of Austria, (with a sickle and hammer) and were in German currency.

Early in April 45, the Russians allowed Dr Renner to establish a city administration in Vienna. On April 27 this provisional government nullified the Anschluss and reestablished the independent Republic of Austria. This was recognised by the Allied Council on October 20 1945.

The new Republic issued a general issue of postage stamps on November 24 of that year. It depicted the beautiful landscapes of Austria.

In August 1946, Austrian post issued a set of stamps with the portrait of Dr Karl Renner,the President, to celebrate the first year of the new republic.

To remind people of the horrors of the last 7 years, an "anti-fascist" exhibition was held, as these postage stamps show. It was called "Niemals vergessen" (Never to be forgotten) and showed 1938 with the dagger into Austria, the concentration camps, the near destruction of St Stephen's Cathedral, but then the oath on the flag of Austria and Austria rising out of the ashes of the swastika.

Although censorship of internal postal communications was discontinued on October 4 1946, external censorship still existed as this registered cover to the United States shows. This cover was sent from Vienna on December 18 1946 and arrived in New York on Januari 19 1947. It was censored by the Austrian Censor 341 (Österreichische Zensurstelle 341). The stamps on the cover were issued with a high surcharge in aid of the reconstruction of St Stephen's Cathedral.

To show that Austria was working hard on its future, Austrian Post issued these stamps that advertised the Vienna fair of 1947.

The new airmail stamps showed beautiful scenes and was encouraging tourism again.

That the war was not forgotten, shows this set which points out that the POWS have not returned home yet. It was not until 1955 that the last prisoners were released by Russia.

This beautiful set that appeared in 1948, was in aid of the "Reconstruction Fund".It shows the rebuilding of bridges, the railway, harbour installations, repairing of aquaducts and industry.

The new definitives in 1948 show girls in provincial costumes.

Although new definitives were issued in 1957, the "girls in costumes" were still being used in 1959.

The same applies to this colourful cover that was sent from Vienna to Australia on December 20 1961.

Austria had become a member of the Universal Postal Union on July 1 1875 and issued a set of stamps to celebrate the UPU's 75th birthday in 1949.

In 1950, Austria issued a special stamp to commemmorate the 140 death anniversary of Andreas Hofer.

Andreas Hofer (1767-1810) was a Tyroler innkeeper, who became the leader of a rebellion against Napoleon's forces. Twice he took up arms against Bavarian-French forces and the French put a price on his head. After the last battle, he hid in the mountains but was betrayed and taken to Mandova in chains, where he was to be led to a court-martial and executed by firing-squad. He gave the Corporal-in Charge money and told him to shoot straight.

He is remembered in a Tyroler folk song, which starts with: "Zu Mantua in Banden, der treue Hofer war" (To Mantova and tied up, the faithful Hofer was).

In June 1946, the National Government of Austria was given "full governmental powers", but all laws had to be submitted to the Allied Central Council, whose troops occupied the country. In 1955 a treaty (Staatsvertrag, as shown on the stamp) was signed, the occupation troops withdrawn and Austria became a fully independent, neutral state within her 1938 borders.

In 1955 Austria Post issued a special set of stamps to celebrate the fact, that the second republic had existed for ten years.

That Austria continued to issue very nice stamps is confirmed by the following covers.

This concludes my Austrian history, besides the Austria and Christmas story.

Austria and Christmas or Back to Rick's page