Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6

Postcard Reaches Destination After 53 Years

Some grandchildren were just trying to do something nice for their grandma.

Berlin in 1964.
Berlin in 1964. Horst Sturm/CC-BY-SA 3.0

In January of 1964, some children in Germany decided to do something nice for their grandmother, Frieda Lehmann. They bought a postcard with some Berlin landmarks on the front, and filled the back with questions about her life. “Dear Oma,” they wrote. “Has the wool arrived yet? How was the slaughter fest?” They added her address, in Luckenwalde, and signed it “your children.”

It appears those well-meaning kids never learned about the slaughter fest. As The Local reports, the postcard wasn’t delivered until last week—53 years after it was sent, and long after Oma passed away.

The card was delivered to an office building in Luckenwalde, where it was picked up by a worker named Peggy Gerike. She first noticed the stamps, which each said “10 Pfennig.” (The pfennig hasn’t been in circulation since 2002.) The front, too, was clearly from another time.

Gerike asked around the neighborhood about Freida Lehmann, and learned that she had, indeed, lived there, but had passed on. Then she took the card to the post office, to figure out where it had been for 53 years.

They were surprised, too, and said it couldn’t have languished in their sorting centers. Perhaps some good Samaritan picked it up at a yard sale, saw that it hadn’t reached its proper destination, and threw it in the post again, they said. Better late than never.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to [email protected].