unique danzig-germany passport

Danzig, the city where the hell began in 1939. German troops crossed the Polish frontier and ignited a conflagration that claimed the lives of tens of millions of innocents. This descent into the jaws of destruction has been impregnated on our collective memory by the imagery of gleeful Nazis raising the border post to enter the free city of Danzig and reclaim it for the Reich.

In 1938 Karl Wohlgemuth and his wife Valeria, nee Jezenovski, got their passports of the Free City of Danzig (nowadays Gdansk, Poland). Valeria’s document was issued on 1 April 1938, and the passport from Karl was issued a month later on 4 May 1938. Both papers were valid until 1943. unique danzig-germany passport


Throughout the centuries, the port — Danzig to the Germans, Gdansk to the Poles — had been fought over. It is the point at which the Vistula, a crucial trading waterway, issues into the Baltic Sea. Until 1793, Gdansk was ruled by Poland and after the Napoleonic wars integrated into Prussia as Danzig. It was, however, lost to Germany after its defeat in the First World War — it became a “free city instead,” but allowed Poland access to the sea.

After the upheavals of the First World War, Danzig had become a temporary location for stateless and persecuted Jews, seeking a better life elsewhere. Many were camped in a particular transit facility on the city’s outskirts, where Danzig’s Jewish community helped them. In the 1920s, some 60,000 homeless Jews passed through.

The seizure of Danzig in 1939 signaled the beginning of the struggle against Nazism. In 1980, the strike in the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk signaled the birth of Solidarity and the death-knell of Communism. unique danzig-germany passport


The couple survived the war in Danzig, and they both got their Federal German passports on 1 September 1951, issued in the city of Bremerhaven. Their passports were valid until 1953 but extended until 1956. Karl and Valeria emigrated to the United States according to the US immigration visa from 1953 issued by the American consul in Hamburg.

Hamburg harbor was left on 20 November 1953, and they arrived in New York on 1 December 1953. According to the manifest of arriving aliens at Ellis Islands, they traveled on the MS Gripsholm to New York.

unique danzig-germany passport

I wonder how they were doing in America? So far, I didn’t found any more details about them. A unique travel document set missing the US passports of the couple to make it complete.

unique danzig-germany passport

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