POSTAL CENSORSHIP IN ESTONIA 1900 - 1944

By Alar Pastarus

During the first half of the 20th century in Estonia there has been only some few years when postal communication without censorship existed. In the Imperial Russia freedom of expressions in writing, speech etc has always been restricted by control and censorship. Such censorship also included all printed matters, books, magazines and newspapers from abroad arriving by postal or other means. Postal censorship also took place in military units, hospitals and prisons. The outbreak of world war I in 1914 caused a general postal censorship to be instituted.

During the years of 1922 until 1939 in independent Estonia no postal censorship existed, with exception of mail of person under custody pending court proceedings and this only by special orders from Court Investigators of Prosecuting judges. On the other hand, it is possible that mail from Estonia, arriving in some other countries was submitted there for censorship.

Different Censorship in Chronological Sequence:

1900
Imperial Russian Censorship in Estonia before W.W.I - up to 1914.

1914
Russian Censorship in Estonia during W.W.I - 1914 - 1918.

1918
German Censorship in Estonia during "Ob. Ost" period.

1919
Estonian Censorship during Independence War - 1919 - 1922.

1939
Estonian Censorship during the period of Soviet Union's Military Bases - 1939 - 1940.

1940
Soviet Union Censorship in Estonia - 1940 - 1941.

1941
Estonian Censorship during German Occupation 1941 - 1944.

1942
German Censorship of Mail sent abroad from Estonia during W.W.II 1939 - 1940 and again 1941 - 1944.

The "Estonia Philately & Postal History Handbook" by Vambola Hurt and Elmar Ojaste (in English and German) gives additional information about Postal Censorship in Estonia.