Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tram Tuesday - Freiburg, Germany

Streetcars are alive and well in Freiburg, Germany, transporting an average of over 200,000 passengers a day. The City also has an extensive pedestrian zone and is considered to be among the 'greenest' cities in the world.

Every now and then I run across a postcard where I get the sense that there's a lot more than meets the eye. This card was sent to Don Luis Alvarez of Chihuahua, Mexico in 1904. Who was Don Luis Alvarez? I don't know for certain, but there is a Luis Alvarez who was a Mexican industrialist and the Mayor of Chihuahua as well as a candidate for President of Mexico in 1958.  Was he related to the postcard's recipient?

The message was written on the front of the card, because in 1904 no messages were allowed on the address side. It is written in Spanish and reads:
October 7, 1904
Dear friend Luis:
Here is the second dozen cards. The maps arrived safely. 
Affectionate Greetings

This is postcard #13,  addressed to Mr. Luis Alvarez. His title includes the word 'Don', which suggests that he was a person of distinction. The title is used a little more broadly today, but was originally reserved for nobility. The card was sent to Alvarez in care of Mr. Ketelson and Mr. Degetan, who were prominent in the mining and banking industries in Chihuahua. For whatever reason, Ketelson and Degetan are listed on the Enemy Trading List of the United States War Trade Board in 1917. The list is described as follows: This is a list of enemies and allies of enemies, and other persons, firms, and corporations, whom there is reasonable cause to believe have acted directly or indirectly , for, on account of, on behalf of, or for the benefit of enemies and allies of enemies.

As with so many other postcards,  I'm sure with a bit more research I could get to the bottom of this.


  1. I rushed to look at this post Christine as soon as I saw Freiburg. My daughter spent a year at the University there and it is a place where we have visited.
    But the story behind your card was something most unexpected. Good luck with you research.



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