East German Passport 1983 with unusual visas

My friend Mat pointed me to a captivating GDR passport from 1983 with visas to unusual destinations. The bearer was Prof. Dr. med. Dieter W. Scheuch, born 26.04.1930 in Eisenach, Professor of Pathological Biochemistry. He worked at the University of Dresden from 1970 to 1994. In 2015 he became a city council member for the left party for some years in Dresden. East German unusual visas

GDR passport

His passport was issued in Berlin on April 22, 1983, and was valid for ten years. The visas are as follows…

  • Yugoslavia, via CSSR/Hungary April 25, 1983 – Service visa
  • Brasil, April 4, 1984
  • Italy, November 10, 1987
  • Netherlands, April 15, 1987
  • France, November 14, 1988
  • Italy, May 12, 1989
  • Kenya, January 12, 1990, issued in Moscow
  • USA, June 21, 1990, one of the last visas issued at the US embassy to the GDR

Brazil, Kenya, and the USA were relatively “exotic” destinations for GDR citizens, even for passport holders with service visas. A Kenyan visa issued in Moscow in a GDR passport is surely a curiosity. Also, the history of US relations to the FRG/GDR is an interesting read.

Division of Germany and U.S. Non-Recognition of GDR, 1949 East German unusual visas

Following the German surrender to the Allied powers on May 8, 1945, Germany was occupied and divided into four zones. Each of the main Allied powers (the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France) was responsible for the administration of its zone. In 1947, the United States and Great Britain merged their zones. After tensions arose between the Soviets and the Western powers, the German Federal Republic (FRG, commonly known as West Germany) was created out of the American, British, and French zones on September 21, 1949. The Soviets then oversaw the creation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, commonly known as East Germany) out of their zone of occupation on October 7, 1949. The United States responded by stating its position that the GDR was “without any legal validity,” and that the United States would “continue to give full support to the Government of the German Federal Republic at Bonn in its efforts to restore a truly free and democratic Germany.” As prospects for early reunification of Germany dimmed, the United States established full diplomatic relations with the FRG on May 6, 1955.

Recognition of the German Democratic Republic

In response to the improvement of relations between the two German governments, representatives of the United States and GDR negotiated arrangements for U.S. recognition of the GDR and the establishment of diplomatic relations, which occurred on September 4, 1974, when the United States and East Germany released a joint communiqué to that effect. Despite this step taken to deal with the reality of the German situation, the United States continued until German reunification in 1990 to view the FRG as the sole legitimate successor government of the historical German state and a future reunified Germany.


The American Embassy in Berlin, 1974

The American Embassy in Berlin was established on December 9, 1974, with Brandon H. Grove, Jr., as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. John Sherman Cooper presented his credentials as the first U.S. Ambassador to the GDR on December 20, 1974. Richard Clark Barkley was the final ambassador in East Berlin, serving from Dec 19, 1988, to Oct 2, 1990.

A fantastic document of East German passport history, and I am glad to have it in my collection soon, in exchange for a signed book of me. 

East German unusual visas