The SS Leopoldville was a passenger ship converted to a troopship in WWII. It was torpedoed by the Germans on December 24, 1944 while transporting US Army soldiers of the 66th Infantry Division across the English Channel. 763 of the 2223 soldiers died that evening. Also 56 crew members perished.
Unfortunately the horrific event was kept out of the media. The survivors were not allowed to talk about the event and they were told that they would lose their Veterans benefits if information leaked. Many of the families did not find out how their loved ones died until years later. Clive Cussler claims to have discovered the wreck in 1984.
This vintage postcard has great importance to my family. My father Harold Gittlen was rescued on a lifeboat in the 48 degree waters on that Christmas Eve, 1944. Growing up he never spoke of this event. Until recently I did not know the importance of this part of WWII history. Allan Andrade wrote an extensive book on the Leopoldville, published in 1997. It is called SS Leopoldville Disaster, December 24, 1944.
The postcard is uncommon in the United States. I searched for months for the card and purchased it online from Romania for about $10, and it probably dates back to the late 1930’s. It is a 60th birthday gift to my brother, who will hopefully pass it on to his children so that we remember the Leopoldville disaster.