BERLIN: The world’s oldest message in a bottle, cast into the sea near Germany 101 years ago, has been presented to the sender’s granddaughter, it’s been reported.
Last month, fishermen in the Baltic Sea pulled an old beer bottle out of the water, along with their catch. Inside they found a postcard, dated 17 May 1913, from a man called Richard Platz asking for his message to be forwarded to his address in Berlin, the Local website reports.
Researchers at the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg were eventually able to track down Angela Erdmann, 62, who lives in Berlin. Platz was her grandfather. She visited the museum last week and was able to hold the bottle.
Erdmann told local newspapers that the surprise discovery had inspired her to look through family scrapbooks to learn more about her grandfather, a Social Democrat who liked to read.
Much of the ink on the postcard has been rendered illegible with time and dampness, von Neuhoff said.
The discovery will be on display at the museum until May 1, after which experts will set to work trying to decipher the rest of the message.
“That was a pretty moving moment,” she tells German news agency dpa. “Tears rolled down my cheeks.” Erdmann says she never knew her mother’s father, who reportedly died in 1946 when he was 54 years old. But she says the discovery of his message has inspired her to find out more about him.
The Guinness World Records had previously identified the oldest message in a bottle as dating from 1914. It spent nearly 98 years at sea before being fished from the water.