Ten years ago, Torkel S Wächter discovered a number of packing cases in the attic of his parent’s home in Stockholm. They contained letters, diaries, old exercise books, newspaper cuttings and a cigar box with black and white photographs inside. Right at the bottom of one of the boxes was a plastic bag containing 32 postcards in old German handwriting, sent from Germany to Sweden during World War II. They were all addressed to somebody called “Walter”. It took a while for Torkel to realise that the “Walter” referred to, as the addressee of the 32 postcards was in fact his very own (in 1983) deceased father, whom Torkel had known as Michael.
The discovery of the 32 postcards became the starting point for a journey back in time. Over the past ten years Torkel S Wächter has looked into the material his father left behind: “I have learnt German, spent time in various archives, and met people who have answered the questions I never dared to ask my father. I have made new friends, and got to know relatives I had never heard of. I have come to realise that what was once lost does not have to remain lost forever.”
32 Postkarten tells the story of a group of people who are doomed, among them Torkel S Wächter’s paternal grandparents, and the city in which they lived, Hamburg. The postcards also tell the story of Torkel’s father, Walter alias Michael and his experience as a German-Jewish refugee in wartime Sweden. But most of all this is a story of love and belief in the future. The first of the postcards was published online on March 29th 2010, seventy years to the day since it was written. The following postcards have been published in Simulated Real Time – on the date they were written, but 70 years later. The last of the 32 postcards is published today, on December 6th 2011. It is written by Torkel’s grandparents, Minna and Gustav Wächter, 70 years ago they were deported to Riga on this exact day.
On 32postkarten.com it is possible to read 32 authentic postcards sent from Hamburg to Sweden during 1940 and 1941. The first of these was published on March 29th 2010, seventy years to the day since it was written. The following 31 postcards have been published in Simulated Real Time – on the date they were written, but 70 years later. The last postcard is published today, on December 6th 2011.