It only took 71 years, but several Christmas cards from World War II have finally reached their destination.
Stolen from a post office in December 1941, 86 WWII Christmas cards from Nazi soldiers stationed on the British island of Jersey were recovered by the Jersey Archive in 2006. Since then, historians have been working to translate and catalogue the holiday letters, finally delivering them to the families of the intended recipients in Germany.
"I think it's a wonderful story. There's just things that are talked about in the letters -- the German soldiers, what they concerned with in terms of their families, their loves, wishing people merry Christmas," Stuart Nicolle of the Jersey Archive told the BBC. "It's a wonderful tale."
One of the Christmas cards, yellowed with age, read:
My dearest Kate, I hope you haven't forgotten me. Christmas won't be so happy for me this year, because I am only happy when I am with you.
While it took weeks for the Jersey Archive to track down family members and obtain postal addresses for many of the cards, the first was finally delivered to a farm near Frankfurt this week.
Out of 86 Christmas cards, nine more descendants of intended receipients have been located. However, not everyone is elated to receive the historic mail. Germany's Deutsche Post told The Local some of the holiday cards have been rejected by descendants of the intended recipients, likely because of the Nazi ties.
The load of mail containing the WWII Christmas cards, written by Nazi soldiers occupying the Channel Islands in 1941, was stolen by local youths in an act of rebellion against the occupation. An anonymous man returned the stack of cards to the Jersey Archive in 2006.
Recently, other WWII-era letters washed up on New Jersey's shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Katheleen Chaney, whose 14-year-old son Patrick found the love letters along a beach in Atlantic Highlands, also sought out the family of the woman who wrote them.