The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

Postcards to Pollo

Our family always called Great-grandpa Franz Georg Leopold Lessiack by the nickname “Leo”, but I have a great many postcards addressed to “Pollo Lessiack” which I assume is also a nickname for Leopold. Most of them are handwritten in German, and thus difficult to decipher. I’m working on it, though, because I know there’s a wealth of information about Leo’s friendships, travels, and concerns buried in them.

Here’s one of the rare postcards in English, even though it was both sent and received in Hamburg in November of 1908. Leo would have been 18 years old when he received it.


The shop (and family, I presume) of Carl Kellerborn.

This was a fun card to explore with my magnifying loupe, because you can almost taste the delicacies for sale at the well-stocked  “Carl Kellerhorn Delicatessen and Wein…” (the sign in the window is cut off). Among the comestibles on offer are “A. Zulnz Java Kaffee”, and “Feroni Schwarzbrot” which translates to black bread. Along the top of the display are glass jars containing different kinds of sweets, and a variety of wine bottles are assembled in the left side of the window. Canned goods and fruits and vegetables are stacked in the center, and hanging on the right appears to be a stalk of ripening bananas, which must have been quite the exotic treat in that cold northern city. Food adventurer that I am, this shop looks like a place I would totally want to hang out.

And what does the postcard say? It’s addressed to Mr. Pollo Lessiack, Ausschlägerweg, Hamburg, Germany, and it reads:

“Hamburg, 26 November 1908

My dear friend: I am awaiting you tomorrow in the morning with the train 8:39 h. at the central railway station. The best regards to your parents.

I am your friend,

L. Kellerborn.”


I don’t know if the mysterious “L” is one of the people pictured in front of the shop or not, but it sounds like Leo is about to have an adventure. Whatever the case, I bet he was well fed.

Happy Monday, People.

13 comments on “Postcards to Pollo

  1. Amy
    December 8, 2014

    Wonderful photo on that card. Any idea why it was written in English?


    • Pancho
      December 8, 2014

      None whatsoever. All I can imagine is the mysterious “L” wanted to practice? Leo visited the US shortly after this, so maybe he was learning too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chips Off the Old Block
    December 9, 2014

    Fantastic photo of the family, and quite a treasure trove of treats!


    • Pancho
      December 9, 2014

      Thank you! It was a fun, if whirlwind, weekend.


  3. Jana Last
    December 11, 2014

    This is so awesome! Postcards are such fun family history treasures. I’ve been able to share my grandparents’ vintage postcard collection in my postcard blog. I also have been the recipient of many vintage postcards that belonged to the family of my 2nd great-grandaunt.


    • Pancho
      December 14, 2014

      I love your postcard blog–it’s such a great idea. I have a huge number of Leo’s postcards, but they’re all in German. A friend of mine is about to help me start translating them. I also got some super special ones in the mail from my cousin the other day, so there are many postcards to come on the blog!


  4. Jana Last
    December 12, 2014


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!


    • Pancho
      December 14, 2014

      Thank you, Jana! I always find such great nuggets in your lists–I’m honored to be listed among them.


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  7. Werner-EINBECK
    June 4, 2016

    The shop owner is Carl KELTERBORN
    [short horizontal dash at top of ” t” !!]
    neither “Kellerborn”, “Kellerhorn” nor
    “Kelterbern” . . . the “mystery friend”
    is Franz KELTERBORN.


  8. Werner-EINBECK
    February 22, 2017

    Sorry, I didn´t pay attention to the “L”! It may stand for “Ludwig” (Kelterborn),
    a brother of Franz, mentioned in the letter from Leo´s “Mutter” to “Grete”,
    her daughter in law.


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