Stamp collecting offers a unique perspective on maps and history, and Simon Wiesenthal's collection of Wiesenthal postmarks, many from the late 1800s, is no exception.
Wiesenthal gathered Wiesenthal postmarks and postcards from towns in two German states, Baden and Saxony. During the late 1800s, states like these banded together within the German Empire while remaining separate entities.
He also collected postmarks for two Wiesenthals in Bohemia, a region in Austria-Hungary that later became part of Czechoslovakia and is now in the Czech Republic. (He collected a few postmarks from the Czechoslovakian era, too.)
Created in 1867, Austria-Hungary was a vast conglomeration of lands that stretched across Central Europe. Its territory included not only modern Austria and Hungary, but also the present-day Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzogovina, and Croatia, as well as parts of modern Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Italy. It dissolved in 1918 after World War I.
Bohemia was mainly a Czech-speaking region, but there were German-speaking areas along its western and northern borders, where the Wiesenthals were located. Today, the Bohemian towns formerly named Wiesenthal have Czech-language names instead.