IBRA News 13.04.2023 – A milestone for the anniversary “75 years BDPh”: Wolfgang Maaßen and his book “A look back at 25 eventful and moving years (1996-2021)

(BDPh) The author hardly needs an introduction. He was editor-in-chief of “philatelie” for almost 28 years and is the author of countless book titles and articles. In 1996, his publishing house published Wolf J. Pelikan’s book “Aufgebaut auf Ruinen” (Built on Ruins), in which he described the first 50 years of the history of the Bund Deutscher Philatelisten (BDPh) e.V.. The book was Maaßen’s idea and the last chapters were also co-edited by him, as Pelikan’s cancer forced him to put down his pen more and more.

Now, 25 years later, Maassen presented a book on the more recent history of the federation, on the exciting last 25 years as a continuation. In 26 chapters and 202 sub-chapters, he described the development of this association: the ups and downs and the changes. He spared hardly anything. Following the periods of four presidents (Michael Adler, Dieter Hartig, Uwe Decker and Alfred Schmidt), he meticulously described the experience of three International Exhibitions (IBRA 1999 Nuremberg, IBRA 2009 Essen, IPHLA 2012 Mainz), of five NAPOSTA events (1997 Stuttgart, 2001 Wuppertal, 2005 Hanover, 2009 Essen, 2020 Haldensleben), but then also paid tribute to 20 “German Philatelist Days” and 15 “Bundestages” (General Assemblies). He even has bilateral exhibitions in mind. But it is not only events that he has in mind. On the many hundreds of pages, he focuses on people and their achievements for philately. He outlines who was responsible for which ideas, who really rendered great services to the BDPh, but also who had to be said goodbye to in mourning. Almost 130 portraits recall these special personalities, many of whom are still alive today. He does not even shy away from the so-called “difficult” topics, especially those by which he himself was famously affected, be it the abolition of the annual “German Philatelists’ Day” or the events in the last phase of the “Decker era”. Instead of making hasty judgements here, he allows others to have their say, to comments that are still worth reading today with the benefit of hindsight. In this way, it becomes very clear how this association has changed over 25 years, how the austerity dictate intervened more and more in the service portfolio of a formerly very active association and Corona brought almost everything to a standstill that was previously dear to the association philatelists.

What makes the book even more worth reading is the abundance of photos, primarily those by Wilhelm van Loo. Around 1,000 (!) photos put the written word into the picture and many will recognise themselves in them. But also worth mentioning is the low price compared to the volume, which barely covers the production costs. This was made possible by the extremely generous sponsorship of the auction house Heinrich Köhler, Wiesbaden, known as the “patron” of the BDPh and its predecessor associations since Heinrich Köhler’s time in Berlin (from 1913). Since then, countless German Philatelic Days have been sustainably supported by the house in Berlin and later in Wiesbaden. The BDPh and the Stiftung für Philatelie und Postgeschichte (Foundation for Philately and Postal History) also contribute a considerable amount to the promotion of this book.

For only 49,80 Euro (plus 6 Euro domestic parcel shipping, if not taken along at IBRA 2023) this book is available at the BDPh office and will be delivered by Phila Promotion GmbH for the publisher BDPh in Bonn.

Contact e-mail for advance orders is info@bdph.de – Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V. / Phila Promotion GmbH, Mildred-Scheel-Str. 2, 53175 Bonn, Tel. 02 28/308 58-0, Fax 02 28/308 58-12, e-mail: info[at]bdph.de. The book is also available at the IBRA 2023 Philately Centre.