Sending letters is another activity dumped by modern men. However, in the bygone era, writing a letter was the only way to communicate over long distances.
Letters were especially important during distressing times of war, when the soldiers were away from home and a letter from the front, was the one sign that they were fine.
During the Second World War, there was one kind of folded letter that had the most significance among all the letters that postman had brought: the triangular folded letter. When the postman would bring a triangular letter that meant the soldier on the Eastern Front was still alive.
No, the triangular fold was not because the soldiers were practicing their origami skills or some sort of secret communication code. The triangular fold was a result of the shortage of postcards and envelopes in the eastern front. So in the first months of the war, the Soviet soldiers invented a new format that was a letter and its own envelope in one.
There was not only a lack of envelopes and postcards, the soldiers had a deficit of paper also, so they had to use their creativity and wrote letters on a page torn from a booklet, a cigarette paper, the wide margins of a newspaper, basically on anything that could be written on. Therefore, there wasn’t enough space for long and bulky letters, so the soldiers would simply assure their close ones that they are fine, doodled something and then folded it up.
The folding process is very similar to how we, in our childhood, folded our soldier’s shako.
The triangular letters had another advantage: the content was easy to check, so it was forbidden to seal them in any way. The censors that were working on the front were searching the letters to prevent any potentially revealing of the military’s movements and plans.
As the then seventeen-year-old front post officer Valya Uvarova recounts it in the 7th of May 2008 issue of Аргументы и факты:
“There were many letters, and their stream flowed in both directions, to the front and from the front. Beside the postal service, in a special “secret” room there was a censor: her task was to open and read the triangular letters. Valentina Antonovna recalls that censors usually had a humane attitude to front letters. If only a few lines of them contained military secrets – such as the name of the base occupied or the name of the corps –, then they, having canceled it, let the letter go to the recipient. They only banned its forwarding if all its content was of such kind, but this happened very rarely.”
What is more fascinating, the soldiers not only had sent triangular letters, but they had also received the same type at the front, only these ones were with a stamp.
The blog RIowang dug up a special collection of triangular fold letters, that belonged to Yakov Lazirovich Ashurov from Azerbaijan. Ashurov was born in Baku in 1924, joined the army at the age of seventeen, and was killed in Stalingrad in 1942. His letters addressed to his parents were written in the Iranian Tat (Juhuri) language.
Photo Source: RIowang