Written by Bella Dalima
10 Apr, 2014 | 5:17 pm
Richard Platz sent his SOS to the world in the form of a postcard nestled in a bottle, before he threw it out to sea along Germany’s Baltic Coast.
Little did Platz know that it would be more than 100 years before his message in a bottle would be found and delivered.
Discovered by Konrad Fischer, a German fisherman, the bottle was found near the northern city of Kiel last month. Fischer almost threw it back into the sea before noticing Platz’s postcard inside, which asked whoever found the bottle to return it to his address in Berlin.
Researchers helped identify and track down Platz via the postcards’s address, according to the Agence France-Presse.
Platz, who was 20 years old at the time, was on a hike with a nature group when he threw the bottle in the Baltic Sea. One hundred years later, a genealogical researcher based in Berlin helped locate Platz’s granddaughter, now 62-year-old Angela Erdmann.
Last week, Erdmann got to hold the bottle after visiting the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg, Germany.
“That was a pretty moving moment,” Erdmann told the AFP. “Tears rolled down my cheeks.”
While Erdmann never knew Platz, who died in 1946, she revisited old family scrapbooks to discover what she could about her grandfather, soon after hearing about the bottle. Erdmann learned that Platz was a Social Democrat, and liked to read.
The Danish postcard, which included two stamps with images of the German Empire, is dated May 17, 1913. The International Maritime Museum believes it is a century old — the oldest message in a bottle ever found. While the bottle’s message will become 101 in May, others claim that older ones have been found.
The Guinness World Record holder for the oldest message in a bottle currently belongs to a bottle from 1914, which was lost at sea, but later found in 2012, the AFP reported.
The Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The postcard and bottle will be on display at the International Maritime Museum until May 1. After that, experts will try and decrypt the rest of Platz’s message.
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