Surrounded by countries that measure their history in centuries was a country that existed for less than 24 hours.
A wooden church in one of this country’s small towns appears on an interesting stamp, the last stamp released by Czechoslovakia five months before the onset of World War II.
On March 15 1939, a stamp was issued in Prague to be used in the Czech province of Carpatho-Ukraine.
This region of Central Europe had been part of the Austro Hungarian Empire, and after World War I, endured the region’s turmoil before joining Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia, to form Czechoslovakia.
For six months in 1919, between January and June, the region existed as the independent Hudsul Republic. Its short-lived government was overthrown by Romanian troops that held control until September 1919, when it became part of Czechoslovakia.
In late 1938, Czechoslovakia began to unravel because of the Munich Agreement. Germany and Italy pressured Czechoslovakia to allow Hungary to seize control over part of Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine, remembered in history as the Sudentenland.
Even though this stamp says Czechoslovakia, in fact, it is the only stamp from Carpatho-Ukraine, the country that lasted for just one day.
The country was established on March 15th, 1939. After skirmishes between Czech and Hungarian soldiers, including battalions on bicycles, the region became part of Hungary March 16th.
Five years later, in the autumn of 1944, the Soviet army occupied Carpatho-Ukraine, which became part of the USSR. Today, Jasina, or Yasinia, is a town of 8,000 people and is part of the Republic of Ukraine. The Jasina church dates back to 1824 and has been closed since 1962.
The 1939 Jasina stamp design is based on a 1928 issue. It was produced in Prague, where postal authorities kept 600,000 copies. 300,000 copies were shipped to Khust, the capital of Carpatho-Ukraine. The 600,000 copies kept in Prague were sold out to collectors in less than two weeks.
But this was not the last time the design of the wooden church in Jasina appeared on a Czech stamp. In 1943, the Czech government-in-exile in London released a Red Cross souvenir sheet featuring the church.