Bremen passport 1919 shows travel to occupied territories

The following passport of Bremen is gripping by several aspects. First of all, the Free City of Bremen is a rare type when it comes to passport booklets. The second remark is about citizenship. The passport is from Bremen, but citizenship is mentioned as Prussian, which we don’t see much.

Then there is the request of the bearer to travel to the occupied territory, here to Cologne. The chamber of commerce in Bremen confirmed the urgency to travel. And lastly, we find a travel permit from the British Rhine Army to enter the occupied zone. Page six and seven explains in detail the purpose of the journey. Bremen passport occupied territory.

Bremen passport 1919 occupied territory

The lady, as a business owner, needed to visit her suppliers and customers in Cologne. The military permit was valid until 12 Feb 1920. Her passport was issued on 4 Nov 1919, valid for one year.

Unusual is also that she used a rather large passport photo, but at these times, everything was allowed as long the photo was fitting on a passport page. The inner cover page has a label that states she paid the (passport?) fee of 1 Mark. Bremen passport occupied territory.

Bremen passport 1919

Looking into the pass register, I found the following data which matches the passport details

Passport number: 120
Issue date: 04.11.1919
Duration of validity: 1 year
Last name: Graventhein
Birth name: Howe
First name(s): Berenthine Caroline Elise
Status/occupation/title: Businesswoman
Origin (place of birth): St.A. Preussen; Bremen
Destination: domestic and occupied areas
Age/Date of birth: 03.08.1870
Source: 4.14/3-98

Besides Bremen, only two more Free Cities issued passports. Hamburg and Lübeck. While the Hamburg type is easier to find, Bremen is not, and Lübeck is tough to find. I have only one example from 1895 in my collection.

From Bremen, I have even a rare Passverein version from 1866 before the German Empire was founded.

Even under the Weimar Imperial Constitution, Bremen remains a state and retains a seat and vote in the Imperial Council. Like the Empire, the Weimar Constitution left the German states with their own responsibilities. Land boundaries create different responsibilities.

This was particularly noticeable on the Lower Weser, where a geographically and economically coherent area with the cities of Bremerhaven and Geestemünde was split into Bremen and Prussian territory. In order to ward off the disadvantages of the different state sovereignties here for the national economy as a whole, Bremen and Prussia come together and conclude a state treaty on June 21, 1930, on joint cooperation between Bremen and Prussia, which includes various agreements in the fields of deep-sea fishing, traffic regulation, state planning, police, and municipal policy.

Development begins to lead Bremerhaven to the top of the deep-sea fishing ports of mainland Europe. Bremen passport occupied territory

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...