In WWI Pilviškiai (Pilvishki, Pilwischki), a town in Suvalkija with a railway station on the vital East Prussia – Kaunas – Vilnius rail route, was taken by units of the German 10th Army (10. Armee) during its preparations to take the Kaunas fortress, which fell on August 18, 1915.
When the German army retreated from Russia at the end of 1918, Pilviškiai and adjacent areas were not vacated but retained some importance as transit points for incoming and home-going German volunteer border guards, the Grenzschutz. Their administrative centre was at nearby Vilkaviškis (Wilkowischki). Between early July and August 14, 1919 Pilviškiai served as a pre-entrainment area for part of the home-going 20th Saxonian Volunteers Regiment which had held back Bolshevik troops and later Polish reco attempts around Kaišiadorys (Koschedary).
A mandate as a temporary postmaster (laikinas įgaliotinis) to open a Lithuanian post office at Pilviškiai was given to apparently a local person Vincas Sutkaitis, as from March 16, 1919. As from July 19, 1919 he was appointed to establish a post office at Kazlų Rūda, his replacement being Juozas Sodaitis who had been postmaster at Seinai. Before long this exchange was annulled and Vincas Sutkaitis stayed on until he was replaced by Pijus Vosylius from Prienai as from February 1, 1920.
Among the earliest, if not the very first, stamp issues sold at Pilviškiai are known to have been Second Kaunas and Third Kaunas Issues, followed by Fourth Berlin, the Sėjėjas Issue etc.
In the absence of a regular postmarker, stamps were at first cancelled by handwriting, indicating place and date, and sometimes the country as “Litauen”.
In the second half of 1919 Pilviškiai acquired a makeshift two-line cachet, again showing place and date. At some later time this two-liner, distinguishable by “Pilviškiai” in lower-case, was replaced by a one-liner with “PILVIŠKIAI” in upper-case. A standard postmarker was supplied in 1920.
By contrast, for at least 2 years Pilviškiai did not have a formal registration cachet, so a provisional hand-drawn imitation of a registration cachet was still resorted to as late as 1921.
Known provisional postal markings:
Cancelling by handwriting:
no date, postcard to Germany, cancelled “Pilviškis[?] / Litauen”, Königsberg censor, Kaunas II 30 x2 [formerly Lindberg]
no date, single, Kaunas III 10 [colln. ?]
13 – IV – 19, single, Kaunas III 15 [colln. Brazdeikis]
no date, single, Kaunas III 20 [colln. Doniela]
25 – IV – 19, letter to Kaunas, Berlin IV 30 reported by Norton]
17 – VI – 19, pair, Berlin IV 15 [colln. Doniela]
Two-liner lower-case “Pilviškiai and date”:
— X 19, pairs Berlin IV 1a [colln. Doniela, also Matuzas]
various dates, singles, Berlin IV 20, 1a [colln. Doniela]
various dates 1920, singles, Berlin IV 30, 40 [colln. Liesis]
One-liner upper-case “PILVIŠKIAI”:
no date, single, Sėjėjas 1a [colln. Doniela]
Hand-drawn registration box:
430 reg. letter to USA, Berlin IV 60, 1a [colln. ?]
710 reg. letter to USA, Berlin IV 60, 1a [colln. Doniela]