Among the many postcards my mother and grandparents collected over the years is one which definitely speaks of Easter (pictured above). It is of a lady dressed colourfully, with a small red hat on her dark brown hair, an upturned collar and what looks like a green scarf tied around her waist. Under each arm she holds a giant Easter egg – one red and one blue. There is no indication of the artist, apart from the initials A. D. in the bottom right hand corner of the postcard. But the publishing house is Olga Diakow & Co, Berlin W.
Despite an hour or so of Googling, I have unearthed very little information about the Olga Diakow publishing house. It was founded in 1920 in Berlin by husband and wife Ippolit Nikolayevich Diakow and Olga Gustavovna Diakow. Apparently they specialised in publishing modern fiction, reprinted popular Russian pre-revolutionary books, literary and artistic almanacs and Russian postcards.
This particular postcard was sent to my mother on 12 April 1934 from her maternal grandmother for Easter. My mother would have been twelve and living in America. Her grandmother was living in France, the country where my mother was born. The card must have originally been enclosed in an envelope as there is no stamp or postage mark on it.
On the back of the card is handwritten:
“Христос воскрес! (which means Christ has Risen!) My own Darling little girl, We all of us Kiss and bless you, wishing of you much health, joy and happiness. Hope you have had a nice time at Easter. Sorry I couldn’t send you an Easter egg, but I was very busy and rather unwell – am better now. God bless you, Deary. Am so glad to know you are well. Much love from your Grandma.”
Easter is without doubt the most important of religious holidays on the Russian Orthodox calendar and I am certain my grandparents and my mother would have attended the midnight Easter service on Easter Saturday, walking around the church, carrying lighted candles. I have written about Russian Orthodox Easter here and here and about one of Tsar Nicholas II’s Easter traditions here.
It is nice to think that my mother, the young Tatiana, would have held this postcard, perhaps reading it several times before putting it away safely. It then must have travelled with her through every home relocation, even across the ocean, until it now sits in my apartment, together with the other postcards they collected. I hope that Easter was a lovely one for my mother and my maternal grandparents.
NOTE: Since I posted this, I have learnt that the woman is actually a boy! Thank you to those who let me know and pointed out the fashion for young boys at the time.