Postcards from Hell


Torkel S. Wächter, a Swedish novelist who happens to be Jewish, was rifling through his attic when he found 32 postcards written to a man named Walter Wächter. The postcards tell a fascinating family saga.

From the postcards, Torkel discovered that his father, whom he’d always known as Michael Wachter, was actually named Walter before the war. The son spent the next 10 years researching the mysterious story behind his father’s postcards and behind his changed identity. Torkel created the website, where visitors can view and read the postcards.

Torkel also includes commentary for each postcard. For instance, Postcard 3 arrives just as nearby Norway is being bombed. He also addresses the drama that isn’t being voiced in the postcards. The first postcard is a cordial and familiar letter from a woman in Germany–who, we learn from Torkel’s notes, is Walter’s childhood love. We also learn that the postcard was written just after Walter’s engagement to another woman in Sweden.

Each postcard is being printed on the site on the exact date it was sent, 70 years later. To find out more, you’ll have to keep visiting the site–its “next update” page says only, “Due to censorship and the ongoing war, it is difficult to know when the next card will arrive.”

Recommended from JTA