In September 1943 the Italian surrender caused a political vacuum in the Balkan Peninsula, which the Germans filled. The German postal authorities took over the post in Albania, Montenegro, Kotor, Macedonia, Laibach (Ljubijana), Zante and Zara.
The Germans occupied Albania on the 10th September 1943 and an Albania collaborational government was formed on the 14th September 1943. The German forces withdrew from Albania on 29th November 1944.
The first issue of postage stamps for Albania consisted of former Italian occupation stamps with a "14 Shtator 1943" overprint ( 14th September 1943).
The last stamp (25 Qind violet) is a "Express Postage Stamp"
Nine other stamps were overprinted, as were a series of five Postage Due stamps which although they were ready for use, they never reached the post offices, however a few have reached post-war collectors and they command high prices.
A pre-paid postcard with the "14 Shtator 1943" overprint (Borek Katalog)
22nd September 1944 The second ( and last ) Albanian issue, printed in Vienna, were charity stamps "Refugees and air raid damage" showing one of the set, all the set were of the same design, just different values and colours.
In September 1943 the German military authorities took control of Montenegro from the Italians. All stamps were Yugoslavian pre-war issues with overprint or former Italian occupation issues from 1941-1943 with overprint. The 1943 issues were in Lire and the 1944 issues were in German Reichsmark*
* It should be noted that Montenegro constantly uses German currency, they used the German D-Mark when they became an independent country in the 90´s, they even continued to use the D-Mark long after Germany went over to the Euro, Montenegro now uses the Euro although without authority to do so.
UK collectors who use Stanley Gibbons will find the Montenegro issues under Yugoslavia, however in German catalogues they are listed under German WW2 occupations. With the exception of the last issue all overprints are written in German "Deutsche Militär Verwaltung Montenegro" (German Military Authorities Montenegro). All overprints were by Obod Printers in Cetinje.
The German authorities in Montenegro were first known as "Feldkommandantur 1040" and soon after as "Feldkommandantur Montenegro".
Due to partisan activity postal services were restricted to the main cities and towns of Bar, Budua, Cetinje, Kotor, Podgorica and Niksic.
From January 1944 the port of Kotor used their own local issue.
A close-up of the German overprint from the first issue, in Lire currency.
22nd November 1943 The first occupation issue in Lire and overprinted on pre-war Yugoslav stamps
A pre-paid postcard issed with the first set (Borek Catalogue)
9th December 1943 Stamps from a former Italian occupation issue with an overprint in German "Nationaler Verwaltungsausschuß 10 XI 1943" which is a reference to the collaborationist government formed in November 1943
The 5 Lire is in the catalogue for €500 and the 10 Lire for a staggering €4400, and should you find one cancelled, the price becomes a €25.000. ( both images taken from an auction catalogue from the 1990´s)
22nd May 1944 Charity issue for refugee help Montenegro
31st July 1944 Charity issue for the Montenegro red Cross. This was the last stamps issued during the German occupation, in November 1944 the Germans retreated northwards
Although Kotor lies within Montenegro, it had a special status due to its history. Kotor had been an Austrian enclave until 1918. Kotor was an important port on the Adriatic which Italy aquired after the fall of Yugoslavia in 1941. It became an Italian enclave and used normal Italian stamps from 1941 to 1943.
After the fall of Italy in September 1943 Kotor was occupied by the Germans, however Kotor continued to use Italian stamps without overprint and also occupation issues from Montenegro. In 1944 the Germans produced a stamp issue which were Italian stamps overprinted with "Deutsche Militär Verwaltung Kotor". All three issues could be used at the same time allowing for an interesting mix on the early postal items.
All overprints were added at the printers in Cetinje, the same printers who overprinted the Montenegro issues.
January 1944 The first overprinted issue from Kotor (Michel Katalog 2007)
Italian pre-paid postcard for Kotor with German occupation overprint. ( the word "Vinceremo" was standard on Italian wartime postcards und translated means "We will win" (Borek Katalog 1980).
Another of the many variants of the italian postcards using the German occupation overprint for Kotor
16th September 1944 The second and final issue for Kotor, overprint now in Reichsmark currency
1944 An issue that was prepared for Kotor but never reached the postal authorities in Kotor. Printed in Vienna, those stamps that have come onto the market are ones stolen from the Vienna Printing Works at the end of the war (illustration from the Michel Katalog 2007)