2021 MUELLER AWARD
J. S. Sawyer’s article “Prisoner Mail System in KL Lublin/ Majdanek” published in the April 2020 issue of The American Philatelist has been selected as the 2021 Barbara R. Mueller Award winner.
The USSS/Barbara Mueller Award goes to the author of the best article published in a single year of The American Philatelist, monthly journal of the American Philatelic Society. The award is named for the United States Stamp Society (USSS) and for one of its most prominent members, authors, and editors, APS Life Member Barbara R. Mueller.
Among her numerous honors in six decades of devotion to philately, Mueller was a member of the Hall of Fame of both the USSS and APS Writers Unit #30, and the recipient of the APS John . Luff Award for Distinguished Philatelic Research in 1956. In 2007, the United States Stamp Society founded the award to promote the USSS, its goals and its mission to the 28,000 members of the APS, an estimated 75 percent of whom collect U.S. material.
Sawyer’s article is a moving explanation of the combination concentration/extermination camp built in the town of Lublin, Poland, in 1941. Sawyer lays out the prisoner mail system in this particular camp, including deceptive mail operations, censorship, and more, illustrated by outgoing and incoming mail that survived the camp. In his own
“It is important to recognize that each of the KL Lublin postal objects shown in this article is bound up with the fate of a single individual. We know for certain that some of these prisoners did not survive the war. These cards and letters typically reside in family archives for many years, and then, for a variety of reasons, find their way to the philatelic market or the occasional museum. Not surprisingly, I have found that the best custodians of this material are stamp collectors, who seem to have an innate appreciation of the important history they embody. Letters from prisoners interned in the German concentration camps are like small bits of stone that, when combined, help form a large bedrock of evidence of Nazi crimes committed during the twelve-year reign of the “Thousand-Year Reich.”