Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Tramways of Basle

 When I first saw this image, I thought it was a postcard, but when I turned it over I found that it was a ticket stub.  Printed on the back,

"Welcome in Basle!  Switzerland, now being honored with your visit, is but a small spot on the globe compared with the size of  your country.  Yet she has been lucky enough to preserve her freedom and independency  during the war.  Her democracy has been deeply rooted in the people for centuries.  This has always fostered friendly relations with all democratic countries.

We wish all Americans on leave the very best for their trip through this country, which offers lots of beautiful things in a narrow space.


Ticket Fr. 1-  Serie Ii  No.  8916"

I won't go into the history of Basel, spelled Basle in German.  If anyone wants to delve into the 1600 + year history of the city, they can go online or check out a book from the library.  I will note that the city is located where the German and French borders intersect with Switzerland.

Basel is serviced by the Basler Verkerhs-Betriebe, The Basel Transport Service, the BVB, owned by Basel-Statdt, the city of Basel.  The system operates both trams and buses.   Of course, ticket stubs picturing American soldiers would not be printed on a postcard sized stub for everyday use.  The service must have been offering tours for members of the American occupation forces.  I'm sure, before 1945, they were also offering tours for German soldiers on leave. After all, tourist money is always welcome.  I keep thinking that American G.I.s probably found bits of German graffiti on their tours.  Maybe a Swastika, maybe a bit of pro Hitler doodeling, or perhaps even some anti-Nazi scrawls.  No doubt, the American soldiers left a few choice remarks of their own.


  1. What a treasure that is. Basle would be an English spelling, meant to accommodate the Americans.

  2. I'm sure, before 1945, they were also offering tours for German soldiers on leave.
    I am sure that they did not. No German soldier in Switzerland, especially not "on leave", that would be "Fahnenflucht" and the man would be shot.
    Otherwise it can be possible that an American tourist found a swastika or something pro-ns there, Switzerland was not as absolutely anti-fascist as they would like.