Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Opera House - Frankfurt, Germany

The grand old Frankfurt Opera House still stands, although it is now known as the Old Opera, having been replaced by a newer building. The original Opera House was inaugurated in 1880. Kaiser Wilhelm attended and remarked that he would not be allowed such an extravagance in Berlin.

Carmina Burana premiered here in 1937, but only seven years later, a bomb nearly destroyed the opera house. It lay in ruins for many years amid proposals to demolish it and build an office building. Instead, a citizens' initiative started raising money for a reconstruction fund in the 1950s. The opera house was finally reopened in 1981.

At the time this card was sent (sometime before 1907), senders were not allowed to write a message on the back of the card. Many people scribbled message over or around the picture on the front. Salomon Marx simply imprinted the front of the card with his personalized stamp.  He sent the card to Rachel and Esther Rousseau of Ghent, Belgium.

I couldn't find anything on the Rousseau sisters, but I did find that Salomon Marx was born into a prominent Jewish family in Frankfurt. I can only assume that this is the same Salomon Marx. He was born in 1863 and was able to emigrate (to the United States?) sometime after 1933.


  1. christine, there's something about 'imprime' -- i believe the sender got a lower postal rate for not writing more than 5 words?? the precursor to twitter:) would like to see the opera house in person!

  2. Die oper schout aus wie das Burgtheater in Wien.
    Und das ist wiederum von Semper gebaut worden, wie auch die Oper in Dresden.
    Ist diese Oper auch von Semper?
    Liebe Grüße

  3. I've never seen a personal stamp before as a signature on a post card, interesting. And emigrating at over 70 years old, hard to believe you would have the energy/will to leave your homeland at that age, but as a Jew in Germany at that time I suppose the hardship of being uprooted was not an issue.

  4. The word "Postkarte" was corrected with "Imprimé", namely "Printing". In this way the postcards could travel with a cheaper stamp. But it was possible to write on such postcards only the address and no word more.

  5. I remember this place well. In 1964 I lived in Frankfurt and my school bus took a route past the ruins of the Opernhaus. It was my introduction to the misfortunes of war. I was then in the 4th grade at an Armed Forces School and it was where I took up music and my instrument, the horn. 30+ years later I joined a small American orchestra on tour in Germany and got to play a concert on the stage of the now restored Frankfurt Opernhaus! A memorable performance for me.



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