This East-German passport was issued on 23 November 1989, just a few days after the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. german passport Karl-Marx Stadt
This passport is fascinating on multiple levels. First, it keenly portrays the passport holder’s desire to travel for tourism purposes following the Warsaw Pact’s end to strict travel restrictions and the resumption of unmitigated travel throughout Europe. This man, who probably had a strong desire to visit the Mediterannean and its historical sights, journeyed from his residence in Karl-Marx Stadt (presently Chemnitz) all the way to East-Berlin (a 3-hour drive) to obtain two visas for his travels: one from the Turkish embassy and the other from the Yugoslav embassy. german passport Karl-Marx Stadt
Interestingly, we can follow his travels from the many border stamps he obtained en route in this case. We can also know his vehicle’s make and license plate: a Volkswagen with license plate number XY3041. This information has been annotated in his passport at two border stops. His travels have taken him from East Germany to Turkey via Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Greece. This is a fascinating example of post-Berlin Wall tourism. german passport Karl-Marx Stadt
Secondly, this passport is also fascinating because it was issued in Karl-Marx Stadt, a city that would vote by popular referendum on 23 April 1990 to change its name back to Chemnitz, its pre-1953 name. The decision to revert to the city’s former name was approved by 76% of the voters. On 1 June 1990, Karl-Marx Stadt was officially renamed, Chemnitz. This passport issued in 1989 when the city was still named Karl-Marx Stadt clearly mentions the city’s name change on an official stamp dated 11 December 1990 on page 7. This is a remarkable example of borders and countries dynamically changing their historical realities during a concise period of time. german passport Karl-Marx Stadt
A contribution from fellow collector Matt. L.