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Preliminary date of publication: spring 2024
The Stamp Collector
An «Entertainment»

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is awfully hard to get it back in.
Harry Robbins Haldeman. Watergate and Related Activities. 1973.

Some high-ranking diplomat in the German Foreign Office seems to have an eccentric hobby: vintage and an­tique stamps, mostly of the times of the German Reich, between 1871 and 1945 — and the period fol­low­ing until 1990. He steals them together with old envelopes from the archives of the Foreign Office. Jack Boul­der gets a helpless telephone call from Berlin:

“We don't know what to do. That’s where you would come in. His office was searched se­cret­ly, no trace of these stamps could be found. Nor does he sell them — anyway, they are not very valuable. But the people working in the ar­chive have seen him slipping them in an en­ve­lope — several times. We have cameras there. Our security is excellent. So — what happens to them? You would find out, wouldn’t you?”

Jack Boulder thinks: “Who cares? Some well paid days in Berlin …” Then other people sud­den­ly care — in Ber­lin and at the other end of the world, in South America.

Boulder meets Amanda Prutz, a charming, well-preserved widow of mature age and small stature who some twenty-five years ago had left her hometown Bytów in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania. She finally reached Ger­many after a de­tour via Winona, Minnesota, in the United States, but now she spends a lot of time in Patagonia.

She speaks German and wanted to live in Ger­many or, as she put it: “Heim ins Reich — Home to the Reich.” Now a provincial hamlet in the middle of nowhere seems to attract her — ap­pa­rent­ly a closely knit German-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ty. But why does she carry old stamps from the archives of the German Foreign Office to that god­for­saken place?


The Author

Peter de Cha­mier works for an in­ter­­na­tio­­nal sci­en­ti­fic and hu­ma­ni­ta­rian foun­da­tion. He has a doc­­to­­ra­te in hi­st­ory.

The author has written and edited a number of non-fiction books that were trans­lated into seven lan­gua­ges. He has con­tri­­but­ed nu­me­­rous news­­pa­per arti­c­les to the cul­­ture and arts sec­­tions of se­­ve­­ral lead­­ing news­­pa­­pers, and has a re­­gu­­lar col­umn in a scien­­ti­­fic news ma­­ga­­zine.


→ More  about the author and some of his remarks about writing.