A German Nun on her way to Argentina in 1923

Meet sister Georgiana Anna Hamphus born in Lohne, Germany, on 8 June 1892, traveling to Argentina. Her yellow passport was issued on 19 January 1923 at the German Consulate in Maastricht, Netherlands. Sister Anna had the citizenship of Oldenburg according to the entry in her newly issued document – a passport-type which is rare to find. The travel document has two visas. One German transit visa for her journey by ship, issued on the same day when her passport was issued and an Argentinian visa issued in Hamburg on 30 January 1923. The visa was free of charge. German Nun Argentina

German Nun Argentina
This yellow consular passport was used only during the Weimar period for a short time and is not that often to spot.

German migration to Argentina in the early 1920s German Nun Argentina

The statistical analysis of German migration to Argentina reveals several emigration waves, i.e., periods during which many Germans emigrated to Argentina. As the analysis will show, the years, 1922-24 are particularly striking, as the percentage of emigration to Buenos Aires then rises sharply compared to other destination countries. In the secondary literature, this fact is often completely ignored or explained with a very general and brief reference to an evasive migration of European emigrants to South America due to U.S. immigration restrictions. This approach is based on the assumption that Argentina’s immigration policy concerning Germans between 1922 and 1924 must have been more open than that of other states such as the USA. German Nun Argentina

Even before World War I, Argentina was the main importer and exporter of the German Reich in South America. As early as 1919, the relationship between the two countries at the political level was described as friendship. The German Reich, in particular, had a keen interest in developing this economic connection with the “most important Latin American trading partner.” In fact, shortly after the end of the war, Argentina had a political and economic network of German institutions, visible in the 13 consular representations, the appointment of German officers as advisors in Argentine military schools, and large investments in insurance and electrical sectors. The German banks established in Argentina also survived the war and the problems that followed, and major German entrepreneurs major entrepreneurs such as Fritz Thyssen set up factories in Argentina. The Argentine trade with Germany experienced a major upswing211 between 1920 and 1923. A great upswing, with exports from South America to the German Reich, mostly of foodstuffs such as wheat, corn, and linseed, but also wool and animal skins, were animal skins, was greater than the import of German goods to Argentina. German Nun Argentina

In this aspect the immigration of sister Anna makes sense. German Nun Argentina

Source: Eine Reise ins Ungewisse, Die deutsche Migration nach Argentinien Anfang der 1920er Jahre, Despina Arnold



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FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...