Felba brings together Israeli and German philatelists

It was a special honor and privilege to have represented my country.

A poster for the Felba 2018 exhibition (photo credit: Courtesy)
A poster for the Felba 2018 exhibition
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It was a great honor to be appointed by the Israeli Philatelic Federation as the Commissioner to Felba 2018, an international bilateral German-Israeli Stamp Exhibition, which was held in Fellbach, Germany from November 16-18, 2018, with FEPA [Federation of European Philatelic Associations] recognition.
I was delighted to discover that the Deutsche Post AG, Germany’s national postal company, would be issuing two stamps commemorating the exhibition. Both stamps highlight the bilateral German-Israel relationship. The German postal company furnished two special stamps depicting the Brandenburg Gate and the Menorah and 70 years of Israeli independence.
The opening ceremony was a very well-attended event with extensive press coverage. Mayor Gabriele Zull welcomed the Israeli delegation. She told my wife and I that she visited Israel when she was 18-years-old and fell in love with the country. The resident of the German Philatelic Federation reminded the audience about the Holocaust and the dangers of fascism. He also mentioned the special relationship between our two countries.
I was asked to speak. I thanked the German Philatelic Federation and the organizers of Felba 2018 for inviting us to participate in this unique and special event. I remarked that the special cancellation which was also presented as Felba 2018 medal depicts both the Brandenburg Gate and the Menorah, which are significant symbols of both countries emphasizing unity, freedom and peace. On behalf of the Israeli Philatelic Federation I thanked the organizers and presented the mayor of Fellbach and president of the German Philatelic Federation with a silver model of Jerusalem. We were honored to sign our names in the “Golden Book” of the city of Fellbach.
After the opening ceremony the invited guests and the public marveled at the various exhibits. There were some 109 exhibitions for all to enjoy, encompassing all aspects of philately which was enjoyed by all who attended. I found it very significant that the opening exhibition was on the topic of Concentration Camp mail. Catalogues of Felba 2018 were freely available. There were many stamp dealers present.
A special postcard and letter together with the two special stamps and cancelations were available for purchase. Visitors could enjoy the exhibits, browse and buy from the stamp dealers and the German postal service.
Over 1,000 visitors attended the exhibition, which was a tremendous success. On the last day of the exhibition, the Palmares Award Ceremony took place. I am very pleased to report that the Israeli participants did extremely well. Out of our 12 exhibits, we received three gold and five special prizes.
Attending Felba 2018 was a bitter-sweet experience as my wife and I had participated in a Poland Heritage tour only four months before. There we had witnessed the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. The exhibition was held a week after the anniversary of Kristalnacht, the night of shattered glass. I was invited to showcase Israeli exhibits and help rebuild and foster new relationships and friendships.
Many people who attended the exhibition came up to me and some spoke Hebrew, while others mentioned that they had visited Israel several times.
It was a special honor and privilege to have represented my country, I was overwhelmed when I was called up to collect the Deutschland-Israel Exhibition Award medal and certificates, for which I received loud applause and congratulations. The Brandenberg Gate and Menorah that was engraved on the medal symbolizes unity, freedom and peace and friendship between our two nations and people.
The writer is a Jerusalem-based dentist and philatelist.