Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ernst Reuter

U.S. 1959 8¢ Ernst Reuter stamp shown on this cover is part of the Champions of Liberty series. This stamp shows Ernst Reuter, themayor of West Berlin during the early years of the Cold War. This stamp was released on 29.9.1959 at Washington, DC.

After World War II, the German capital of Berlin was split into East and West Berlin – the East run by the Soviet Union and the West by the U.S., Great Britain, and France. Reuter became West Berlin’s mayor at this time. As the Soviets tried to block access to West Berlin, Reuter became the spokesman for the West Berlin citizens, appealing to the world before a crowd of 300,000 to not abandon Berlin. In response, the Allies coordinated the “Berlin Airlift,” a massive effort of over 200,000 flights to provide supplies.

Reuter continued his efforts to unify West Berlin, which had a population of over 2 million people. He helped for the “Free University of Berlin,” since the University of Berlin was in Communist-held territory. Reuter served as mayor until his death in 1953. His funeral was attended by more than a million people.

Champions of Liberty. In 1957, the Post Office Department issued a stamp honoring Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay as a “Champion of Liberty.” Magsaysay’s stamp marked the beginning of a 10-stamp series honoring non-Americans who fought for freedom in their homelands. After Magsaysay’s single commemorative stamp was issued, the rest of the series had two stamps printed for each subject – one in a single color, and one with three colors. The pairs were also of different denominations. The series was issued from 1957 to 1961. It featured Ramon Magsaysay, Simón Bolívar, Lajos Kossuth, José de San Martín, Ernst Reuter, T.G. Masaryk, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Gustaf Mannerheim, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Mahatma Gandhi.

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