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Die hier gezeigten Abzeichen sind zu edukativen Zwecken dargestellt, aus diesem Grund sind sie nicht abgedeckt. Weiterhin möchte ich auf den folgenden Discliamer aufmerksam machen:

Disclaimer: Die hier gezeigten Abbildungen aus der Zeit des "Dritten Reiches", u.a. mit dem damals obligatorischen "Hakenkreuz", dienen der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens, der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung sowie Forschung und Lehre (§ 86a, 86 StGB)

Unlike other parts of Europe, the western countries on the whole were not effected by the German occupation when it came to philatelic matters. The German government decided to win the war first before making any changes to the postal services, the exceptions of course being those listed below. There was a set of stamps planned and rejected for Holland, but as only two sets were overprinted, they are not listed in the German catalogues. I have only listed the issues that can be found in the German post-war catalogues.

This province after the break up of the Frankish Empire found itself in the role of a buffer zone between two groups of Franks hostile to each other with the Rhine as a common border. Alsace and Lorraine belonged to the area which would become Germany hundreds of years later. A trace of the Franks can still be found in the German language, for example the German name for the part of Germany around Nuremberg is still called Franken and the German name for France is Frankreich.

At the time of Napoleon the provinces became part of France and stayed French until the French war against the German States in 1870-71. They then became part of the new German Empire and were to remain so until 1918. After the defeat of Germany at the conclusion of the First World War the provinces returned once more to French occupation.

Alsace & Lorraine 1870-71

During the occupation of France in 1940, the Germans viewed the battles in Alsace and Lorraine as a battle for liberation and these provinces once again returned to Germany. Late 1944 and early 1945 there were some very heavy battles for this area as the Germans considered that thea were fighting on their own soil.

Overshadowed by the Ardennes offensive, the last German offensive in WW2 was directed against the reconquest of the Alsace and Lorraine provences, they came very close to capturing Strassburg and almost split the Franco-American Alliance!

Although Operation Northwind failed to retake Alsace for Germany, other areas held out until the end of the war. The Colmar Pocket was a great problem for the joint Franco-American command. After WW2 the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine returned to France once more and remain French to this day.

French stamps continued in use until 17th August 1940. On 15th August 1940 German stamps of Hindenburg series were overprinted "Elsaß" and placed on sale in Alsace along with pre-paid postcards. these stamps were also valid for use in Lorraine, Luxemburg and Germany. From 1st January 1942 only stamps of the German Reich were valid in Alsace. Stamps with French cancellations are very rare and fetch a higher price amongst German philatelists.

The Hindenburg series with the "Elsaß" overprint

A very clear Strassburg cancellation and overprinted stamp

German "Stamp Day" 1941, a mixture of German and Alsace stamps

A pre-paid postcard with the stamp design printed directly onto the postcard and containing the overprint for Alsace ( The set was also available with the Lorraine overprint)

French stamps were valid in Lorraine until 25th August 1940. Stamps overprinted "Lothringen" were on sale from 21st August 1940. These were again stamps from the Hindenburg series and were also valid in Alsace, Luxemburg and the German Reich.

The Hindenburg series with the Lothringen overprint

A pre-paid postcard with a Metz cancellation and the Lothringen overprint

A pre-paid postcard "German Stamp Day" 1941

Stamps of Luxemburg were valid until the 2nd October 1940. On 1st October 1940 the Hindenburg series were placed on sale with the "Luxemburg" overprint and from 1st January 1942 only stamps of Germany without overprints were valid in Luxemburg. German stamps were removed from sale on 29th September 1944. This overprint set was also valid in Alsace, Lorraine and the German reich.

The Hindenburg series with the Luxemburg overprint

On 5th December 1940 it was decided to re-issue the stamps of Luxemburg with overprints containing German currency. These stamps remained in use until the 31st March 1941.

A set of 16 stamps, this was the design used for the lower values

The design used in one of the higher values

The highest value, the empty field in the middle is an indication that the stamps were removed from the middle of the sheet

The 5 Rpf pre-paid postcard - Postal rate for local postcard

The 6 Rpf pre-paid postcard- Postal rate for any where in Germany or any of the German occupied territories

The 15 Rpf pre-paid postcard - Postal rate for foreign countries

One of a set of 8 pre-paid postcards issued in 1941. Also available with the Alsace and Lorraine overprints and of course without the overprint for the German Reich

12th January 1941. The German WHW series is overprinted with the overprint "Luxemburg" and remained valid  for use until 30th June 1941

"German Stamp Day" local issue for Luxemburg

Another German pre-paid postcard with the Luxemburg overprint

No occupation stamps were issued for Belgium, but one pre-paid postcard was on sale to foreign workers in the employment of the Luftwaffe.

The Foreign Workers postcard, only a half dozen are known used with a cancellation


The German commandant authorised permission for an overprint for French stamps in the Dunkirk area. The overprint was in a box with the words "Besetztes Gebiet Nordfrankreich" (Occupation area, Northern France) and the overprint was carried over two ajoining postage stamps, with a hand stamp. The rest of France continued to use normal French stamps without overprint, which brings the reasoning behind the overprint into question.

The number of postage stamps overprinted: 48 different French postage stamps are known overprinted. The two cheaper ones are known to have been produced in numbers between 1500 and 10000. Some of the more rare ones contain as little as 10 pairs overprinted! Stanley Gibbons do not list these stamps, partly because of their ruling that at least 5000 stamps must be in an issue and it must have been used in normal postal service. The German catalogues however list any stamp, even if only one example is known used!

1st July 1940. The overprint is not clear on this example. This is one of the cheaper examples with some 1500 pairs overprinted.

The overprint was designed to cover a pair of stamps, here we see the overprint on a single stamp which had been placed on a postcard first

Another example of the Dunkirk overprint


Festung Lorient (Fortress Lorient) was encircled and cut off from the outside world and this situation went on until the end of the war. French postage stamps continued in use and post was allowed to travel between Lorient and liberated France, although no new stamps were getting in and this caused a problem.

In the liberated parts of France, stamps with Marshall Petain were banned, but these stamps were still in use in Lorient, so how could they be allowed to enter the normal French postal services? The answer was to overprint them with "Festung Lorient" to show that they originated in Lorient and thus excused from the Petain postage stamp ruling.

The numbers overprinted were very small. Although some of them numbered several hundred, some of the stamp issues numbered only 15 examples and in the extreme case, two of the issues numbered one each! With a fine price of 50.000€ per item.


February 1945. This stamp was one of the more common ones with 1800 examples known

From the one Frank Carmin-red, only 150 examples were overprinted


St.Nazaire was in the same situation as Lorient, encircled from the American forces until the wars end. Running low on French postage stamps, they printed their own which were released on 9th April 1945. However, a crude stamp produced by the St.Nazaire Chamber of Commerce  was used on envelopes in Februay 1945 which served the same purpose.

February 1945. Private stamp issued by the Chamber of Commerce in St.Nazaire and authorised by the German occupation authorities

9th April 1945. The set printed by the Chamber of Commerce and placed on sale as an official postage stamp issue at the St. Nazaire post offices. Note the text on the stamp design, "Atlantic Front".

Footnote: Why were these stamps required when French stamps could continue to be used? The head of the Chamber of Commerce was also in charge of the Post Office and if that was not enough, he was also the vice-chairman of the Philatelic Club at La Baule. The situation seems to be very much the same in Lorient, in fact there was a lot of postal traffic between the two ports, most of this of a pure philatelic nature, need I say more?