Things People Find on eBay

Back in May 2020, I wrote about Ferdinand Meyer, my third cousin, twice removed, a great-grandson of Meyer Goldschmidt.

As I described in that post, Ferdinand and his two children, Eleanora and Erich, both left Germany in the 1930s to escape from the Nazis. But Ferdinand’s wife Friedericke Jaenecke Meyer stayed behind and did not leave Germany until the summer of 1941, when she came to the US and settled with Ferdinand in the Boston area.

Friedericke was not born Jewish, and I wondered whether she had stayed behind to protect the family’s assets, assuming that she would be safe (though she faced some persecution in Germany for being married to a Jew or perhaps for converting). I still have no answers to that question.

Nevertheless, I was quite tickled when a blog reader commented that he had found on eBay an envelope for a letter sent by Friedericke to Ferdinand, postmarked January 24, 1941.

As you can see, Friedericke was still living in Frankfurt at the time she sent this letter to Ferdinand, who was living on Beacon Street in Boston.

Unfortunately, there was no letter inside the envelope to reveal what was going on in Friedericke’s life and what her thoughts were about what was happening in Germany. By that time the war was raging across Europe, but the US was still a year away from entering the war. What were Friedericke and Ferdinand feeling and thinking? How was Friedericke able to escape when so many Jews were trapped inside Germany by that time?

And how in the world did this envelope end up on eBay?

Life is just filled with mysteries.

34 thoughts on “Things People Find on eBay

  1. Life is filled with mysterious happenings. Many years after my brother had died in Calgary a woman bought a pair of stockings in a second-hand store and found my brother’s birth certificate and a few photos. The woman managed to contact my sister and so the documents completed their amazing journey. Who knows you may still find that missing letter, Amy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The envelope has value to someone because of the stamps. That’s why it’s on eBay. A collector of stamps, particularly from the pre and WWII period would surely want them. My suggestion would be to purchase the envelope if you haven’t done that already to keep it out of the hands of someone who may not fully appreciate the genealogical value of the envelope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Ava—the person who contacted me had purchased the envelope. I never thought about the value of the stamps. I didn’t ask to buy the envelope itself, but perhaps one of the grandchildren would be interested.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just went back to look at the email he sent. He said the following: “I suppose I can best be defined as an amateur Holocaust researcher, whose research is based on collecting philatelic covers I purchase from a variety of sources. … I now have over 300 such items and intend to one day donate my collection to the Montreal Holocaust Centre.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I recently acquired a mystery envelope without a letter. And it’s from the pre-stamp era, so I’m mystified. I do have a couple searches saved on eBay that I hope might yield letter someday. It seems I get emails every day, but so far nothing of interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My thoughts when I read this post were that you will likely never find the letter that was sent in this envelope. Just as many of us have letters in envelopes with the upper right-hand corner missing (due to the family stamp collector we all were happy to supply), this envelope was saved for the stamps and the notice on the back that the letter had been opened by the authorities. I would be very surprised if the letter ever turned up as I fear it was tossed when the person saw the value of the stamp and sticker and not the value of the letter. Still, Amy, I wish the letter turns up – owned by a family member.

    Liked by 2 people

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