Black and white sea

Havet i storm postcard

I bought this postcard from a small shop called Fåfängan Antik in Gothenburg. The print is nice enough but one of the stamps on the back is what actually caught my eye. A sizeable message also made it a perfect mini translation project.

Sea print postcard

This appears to be Varberg Fortress but finding that information was tricky. Havet i storm translates to ‘the sea in a storm’ and I coudn’t find any connection between number 87 and the photographer’s name — which I only discovered from translating a tiny circular stamp on the back. I then spotted ‘Varberg’ listed as the publisher location and an image search for that city lead me to the fortress. Whew.

Ink writing and stamps
Sent to Mr. Ramas Dahlenius

Closeup of inky handwriting

Decoding the handwriting was hard work in places so my translation may be a little off, but here is what I have so far:

We want an ethical attitude. Among them all “Bergrhrandalna” we must hope as we hope for you. Ane I spent Christmas here in Frill. How alone, longing for mother five times. Let’s go to the house. Kind regards. Elein Arne.

Thanks for mourning.

I’m not sure whether the mourning part is correct but the references to being alone and longing suggest it could be. My translation is a little crude though, so I’d be hugely grateful if any Swedish speakers could give me another opinion 🙂

Illustrated Swedish stamp
God Helg / Frillesås 31.12.48 (stamp)

God Helg is Swedish for ‘have a nice weekend’. The bundle of straw is a Julkarve (Christmas Sheaf) — the last sheaf of grain from the harvest. Traditionally, Scandinavian farmers put straw outside at Christmas for the birds to eat and lots of them visiting signified a good harvest in the year ahead. It also acted as a reminder to share, no matter how little you had left. Lovely tradition.

Gustaf V (king of Sweden) is shown on the 15 öre stamp, which was printed circa 1945. Stamped for postage in Frillesås (~20 miles from Varberg) on 31st December 1948.

Circle of stamped inky text

Text on the back of the postcard includes:

Förlag: Allian Lundgrens Bokhandel, Varberg.

Förlag means publisher.

Varimarkt garanterar hogsta kvalit. C.A.Träff. Göteborg. Reproduktion [Unreadable].

The retail market guarantees the highest quality. C.A. Träff. Gothenburg. Reproduction [Unreadable].

C. A. Träff is Carl Alfred Träff. He was a photographer who moved to Gothenburg in 1906 and died in 1947, one year before the date this postcard was sent.

Every time I analyse an old postcard, I’m amazed at the amount of information each one contains. Details of peoples lives, places (which I’ve then found and explored on Google Maps), photographers, artists, leaders and cultural traditions. Plus I learn a few words from other languages along the way.

I’m typing this with a sizeable stack of postcards sat next to me. Each one will be scanned, translated and documented over time. This one took about 5 hours, so it’s not a quick hobby but I’ll get there eventually.

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