101-Year-Old Message in a Bottle Surfaces

By Jaime Lutz

Apr 8, 2014 3:40pm
EPA message bottle 1 jtm 140408 16x9 608 101 Year Old Message in a Bottle Surfaces

: Konrad Fischer, left, and his crew Klaus Matthiesen and Thomas Buick hold a message in a bottle from 1913 on the fishing cutter "Maria" in Kiel, Germany, March 5, 2014. (Uwe Paesler/EPA)

A message in a bottle that was thrown into the ocean in 1913 and recently found by a fisherman off the coast of Germany was returned to the sender’s granddaughter.

“It was very surprising,” said Angela Erdmann, 62, to The Guardian. “A man stood in front of my door and told me he had post from my grandfather. He then told me that a message in a bottle was found and that the name that was on the card was that of my grandfather.”

EPA message bottle 2 jtm 140408 16x9 608 101 Year Old Message in a Bottle Surfaces

A postcard dated May 17, 1913 as well as an old beer bottle sit on top of a map in Kiel, Germany, March 5, 2014. (Uwe Paesler/EPA)

The message, found last month by fisherman Konrad Fischer, is largely indecipherable. However, the name and address of the sender — Richard Platz — is still legible, as is his request that the message be forwarded back to him.

Platz wrote the postcard, thought to be the oldest message in a bottle in the world, when he was just 20 years old.

Erdmann never knew Platz, who at age 54. But she had heard plenty of stories about the man from her mother, his daughter.

“I knew very little about my grandfather, but I found out that he was a writer who was very open minded, believed in freedom and that everyone should respect each other,” she said. “He did a lot for the young and later traveled with his wife and two daughters. It was wonderful because I could see where my roots came from.”

The postcard will be on display in a German museum.

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