According to a news item in the Winter Issue of Ephemera News, Richard Sheaff has published an article in the December issue of American Philatelist that tells the story of his research into an unstamped 1947 envelope marked "Free Civil Internees Mail." In research prompted by the envelope, Sheaff found there were 11,000 American-born Germans and 3,000 Italian Americans confined to detention camps. The story of naturalized citizens of Japan being interned is well known, but Sheaff sheds light on this lesser known phenomenon. The Ephemera News pieces goes on to say, "The return address on Sheaff's envelope was the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Ellis Island, NY. He's fond other from a camp at Crystal City, TX.
"One reason this whole subject has remained relatively unknown," Sheaff wrote in his article, is that the U.S. Government required internees to sign secrecy oaths before being released, under threat of deportation for speaking of their experiences. Most kept quiet."
Sheaff's research was sparked by the discovery of an old envelope. In some ways, Sheaff's mysterious WWII envelope is similar to the envelope I found (tucked inside an old book) address to the controversial figure, author, and diplomat Lawerence Dennis, which included an incriminating return address sticker from the America First Committee, a group Lawerence was alleged to be involved with.
Perhaps a savvy researcher will pick up on this historical trail of intrigue...
I've written several other posts about the mysterious Lawrence Dennis and the ephemera I found of his inside a book that once belonged to the legendary figure:
- The Romanian King & Lawrence Dennis
- S.S. Normandie Postcard
- Dennis' Uraguay Postcard
- Invitation to Dennis from King Ferdinand