Beware of Fakes, Forged Winterhilfswerk Postcard Series ‘Police in Poland’

The postcard series Police in Poland was issued as a War Winter Help to aid the German people in the winter of 1939-40 and consists of a wrapper and six postcards. The wrapper is light brown with green printing.

The postcard series Police in Poland was issued as a War Winter Help to aid the German people in the winter of 1939-40 and consists of a wrapper and six postcards.

The wrapper is light brown with green printing. The printing of the front reads “Polizei in Polen” (Police in Poland), below which is a banner with the text “6 Picture Postcards From Original Photos” on three lines, flanked on the left with the emblem of the German Police and or the right SS runes. The background is a map of Poland.

The postcards are all a standard size of 4 x 5.6 inches (10 x 14 cm). There is no information regarding the publisher or printer. The name of the photographer is printed on the reverse of each postcard as the vertical text in the center, dividing the card into two sections. On the reverse, the text at the top left says “Kriegs-Winter-Hilfswerk 1939/40” (War Winter Help work) on the top line, “Bilder vom Einsatz unsere Polizei im Osten” (Pictures from the Service of our Police in the East) on the second line with the emblem for the German Police at the left and SS runes at the right. Underneath this text is a description of the image on the front of the card (in two or three lines).

Most of the postcards are printed on a good cream stock and coated on the front. During our research, a few cards have been seen printed on glossy white, thinner stock, coated on the front. They have been evidenced both used and unused. The same font appears on both paper types. The presence of the Type II paper and the uniformity of the text would indicate at least two printings. It may be possible that this set was printed by two different printers.

Pricing is based on postcards in very good condition and ranges from $25 to 50 each. Cards in excellent condition should command a premium. Cards from this series are frequently found used. Prices for used cards in similar conditions should command a small premium. Prices for postcards used with Day of the German Police or WHW (Winter Help) cancels should be higher and postcards used as Field post by Waffen SS and Police troops should be significantly higher than normal used postcards. The price for the wrapper itself should be no less than five times the average price for an unused postcard.

The Police in Poland series in the cream stock.

The Police in Poland series in the white, glossy stock.

Images for all the cards, both front and back can be found in the book “Postcards of the Waffen SS Serices cards.” This book has allocated catalog numbers to the cards for easy reference. These numbers are used when referencing the cards below.

Some of cards are known to have been forged/reproduced, but they relatively are easy to recognize.

In our research and experience with the postcards of the Polizei in Polen series, there appears to be only one type of fake and one type of forgery up to this time. For this series, the distinction we make between a fake and a forgery is that a fake is a card that does not try to mimic an existing card, but tries to “fit in with the crowd,” where as a forgery is a modern reproduction of a period card designed to mimic and pass undetected as the genuine article.

Card PO1 German police hoist the Reichs service flag over the castle in Krakau.

The fake Police in Poland card, front.

The fake Police in Poland card, back.

The only fake card evidenced up to this time appears with the image of card P03 and is shown above. The card dimensions are approximately 5.6 x 3.6 inches (14.1 x 9.0 cm). This is significantly smaller than the actual cards of the series. Text describing the card appears on the front below the image in an enlarged margin area and the text on the back reads “Photo – Hoffmann.” The fakes are printed on white stock that is not fluorescent under UV light and are coated on the front. Cards with other images have not been seen, but it should be expected that other images from this series will also appear as fakes.

The forgery of Police in Poland card, PO2.

One type of forgery has been evidenced up to this time. This forgery type has been seen with the image of P02, P05 and P06. The card dimensions are approximately 5.6 x 3.6 inches (14.1 x 9.0 cm). This is significantly smaller than the actual cards of the series. Text describing the card appears on the front within the actual image and the text on the back reads “Photo – Hoffmann.” The forgeries are printed on white stock that is not fluorescent under UV light and are coated on the front. Cards with other images have not been seen, but it should be expected that other images from this series will also appear as forgeries.

Another card from the series PO3, captioned: “A security police group before an action.”

Matthew Roth is the owner of MAR Historical and been collecting and selling German Third Reich historical collectibles for more than 30 years. He has also authored several books on German WWII postcards that, along with books by other authors on German Third Rich Stamps and Militaria, have been brought to print by his company MAR Publishing. He lives and works in Broomfield. Colo.

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