National Postal Museum Launches Online Exhibit “Hunting for Wiesenthals”

September 7, 2010
News Release

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has launched a new online exhibit, “Hunting for Wiesenthals: Postmarks from the Simon Wiesenthal Collection” on its award-winning Arago website

Simon Wiesenthal was a Holocaust survivor who tracked down Nazi war criminals for more than half a century and located about 1,100 fugitives during his career, but he spent his evenings on a different quest—searching for vintage postage stamps. This unique online exhibit explores postmarks from towns in Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany. The postmarks are a part of Wiesenthal’s larger stamp collection, which he started in the late 1940s to occupy himself at night when he could not sleep. The exhibit also features Wiesenthal’s own collecting tools, which were donated to the museum by his family.

“The museum’s collection is greatly enhanced through the donation of philatelic objects from Simon Wiesenthal’s family,” said Cheryl Ganz, chief curator of philately. “We are especially grateful to Dieter Michelson of Heinrich Koehler auctions for facilitating this donation. It has been an honor for our staff and volunteers to work on this story.”

The memory of Wiesenthal’s lasting enthusiasm for stamp collecting is also a legacy for philatelists, as his interest in stamp collecting was well known during his lifetime and was a peaceful pursuit to contrast the violence he documented during the day.

The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, please call (202) 633-1000. Visit the museum website at

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