Austrian doctor stripped of title by Nazis

I was surprised that not more collectors were bidding on this exciting travel document of an Austrian Jewish doctor. So, I was lucky to get this fascinating document for a very decent price. Austrian doctor stripped Nazis


Beginning in 1933, the German Government revoked German citizenship for tens of thousands of German Jews and persons seen as political opponents, e.g., communists. This affected people in Germany and persons who had left Germany and were residents in other countries. It took similar action against persons resident in parts of Czechoslovakia which had been annexed. These public actions, totaling nearly 90,000 names of persons and firms mixed, whose property had been seized by the Nazi-led German Government, were published in the Deutscher Reichsanzeiger, the Government’s official newspaper. Most of these were listed under the category as having had their citizenship revoked, usually either due to being Jewish, political opponents of the Nazis, or having emigrated from the Reich. Austrian doctor stripped Nazis

Peter Ludwig BERGER (born on November 7, 1896, in Baden/Lower Austria, died 1978 in Vienna), had graduated from the Law School at the University of Vienna on February 21, 1921, with the academic degree ‘Dr. iur.’. Peter Ludwig Berger became a journalist, lawyer, and sociologist. Until 1938 he lived in Baden, Welzergasse 11. Together with his wife Angela, he emigrated to Rio de Janeiro/Brasilia in 1938 and to the USA in 1940.

*He managed to obtain a professorship in the United States. In Washington, he taught law at The Catholic University of America and took part in the Free Austrian Movement, as well as led the Christian Social Party of Austria, founded in the United States in 1944. He was the son of jurists Johann Berger and Angela Neumann. In his youth Berger, fought in the First World War, then studied Law and Sociology at the University of Vienna, graduating in 1921 with a doctorate in Law, then in 1924 obtained another doctorate in Political Sciences. *Biographical dictionary of refugees of Nazi fascism in Brazil  Austrian doctor stripped Nazis

*He was deprived of German citizenship on January 15, 1941. In times of Nazism, he was deprived of his academic degree on May 8, 1941, with the racist argument, that he as a Jew was not considered dignified with an academic degree from a German university (‘eines akademischen Grades einer Deutschen Hochschule unwürdig’). He returned to Austria in 1953 and became a university professor and the chief editor of the journal “Der Donauraum” and general secretary of the “Forschungsgemeinschaft für den Donauraum” in Vienna. *Source: Memorial Book for the Victims of National Socialism at the University of Vienna 1938

It took 62 years since the deprivation – and a very long time since the end of Nazism – until the regranting of the doctorate took finally place on April 10, 2003, posthumously in a solemn ceremony. He died in Vienna in 1978 and could sadly not see his doctorate to be reinstalled. Berger is also found in the Holocaust victims database of the USHMM. Austrian doctor stripped Nazis

The Passport

Austrian passport 1948 Washington
48 pages-passport for Dr. Peter Berger, issued at the Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C. on March 19, 1948.


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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...

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