East German Passport with rare DPRK Visas

Here is an outstanding GDR/DDR passport from 1960 with a visa to North Korea and a visa from the GDR Embassy in North Korea back to Berlin, East Germany! east german passport DPRK

east german passport DPRK

In 1989 the GDR maintained diplomatic relations with 139 states. With DPRK from November 7, 1949, on. USSR, Poland, Romania, CSSR, and Hungary became the first countries in October 1949 with diplomatic relations with East Germany.

east german passport DPRK

However, the accreditation of ambassadors did not take place until after the Korean War in 1954. Until the arrival of Ambassador Richard Fischer in Pyongyang, communication difficulties arose at first because of both the North Korean and German embassies in Beijing and the embassies in Moscow communicated with each other. Both felt responsible for German-Korean affairs. The ambassador in Beijing, Johannes König, was therefore appointed as the official contact person. This was communicated to the North Korean foreign minister in a letter dated July 13, 1951, which he confirmed on August 18. Nevertheless, North Korea instructed its embassy in Warsaw to take bilateral affairs between the two states.

Otto Grotewohl, then Prime Minister of the GDR, visited the DPRK for the first time on a trip to Asia in December 1955. In the following year, the then ruler Kim Il-sung visited the GDR for the first time during an almost six-week trip through the Soviet Union and other Eastern European states and asked for support in money and goods. Differences between the two states arose with the emerging personality cult around Kim Il-sung and the beginning of de-Stalinization in the GDR. east german passport DPRK

On January 27, 1955, the two states agreed on scientific and technical cooperation and defined the objectives in this regard at a meeting in 1956. In this agreement, the GDR promised technical support for reconstructing mining and metallurgical plants and re-commissioning chemical plants in North Korea and awarded internships in Germany. By 1963, a total of 125 agreements on technical and scientific cooperation had been concluded. Of these, 110 were in the interest of North Korea and 15 in the GDR’s interest. It’s well possible that Herta Baldauf, the bearer of this passport with a service visa, was somehow involved in this technical cooperation. east german passport DPRK

Kim named Erich Honecker as “brother and best friend.” During Honecker’s first state visit to North Korea from December 8 to 11, 1977, Kim pretended to welcome the two German states’ existence. The GDR and the DPRK, however, had different views on the reunification of their respective countries. While Kim Il-sung regarded Korean reunification as one of his most important goals and the DPRK as the only Korean state, the GDR leadership emphasized recognition as a separate and independent state. During another state visit by Honecker in 1984, the two statesmen signed a friendship treaty to “strengthen the socialist states’ unity. In late May 1984, Kim Il-sung visited the GDR for the second and last time. Honecker paid a third state visit to the DPRK from October 18 to 21, 1986. Besides, several agreements were signed between the Ministry of National Defense and North Korea between 1984 and 1989.

In November 1960 (around the time when this passport was issued), Otto Grotewohl announced in a letter to Kim Il-sung that he would have to limit aid efforts due to economic difficulties, which met with an understanding of North Korea. A protocol was signed on September 18, 1962, when a GDR delegation was at Hamhŭng for a bridge inauguration. This marked the end of the material aid granted by the GDR since 1952. east german passport DPRK

The Passport east german passport DPRK

Issued to Herta Baldauf, age 50, in Berlin on 7 July 1960. Herta’s occupation is mentioned as a seamstress. The visa to DPRK was issued on the same day. Her return-visa to Berlin issued by the GDR-Embassy in Pyongyang was made on 22 December 1960. Furthermore, we can see visas/stamps from China, DPRK, and USSR. The GDR visa issued at their embassy in Pyongyang is, of course, the rarest find and never seen before! east german passport DPRK

The first GDR ambassador in the DPRK was Janohnes Koenig (1951-1954), his Biography is fascinating – Jewish wife, persecution by the Nazis, escape to Shanghai (!). The last was Klaus Zorn (1990). When the GDR consular visa for this passport was issued in 1960, Kurt Schneidewind (1960-1963) was ambassador.

east german passport DPRK

FAQ Passport History
Passport collection, passport renewal, old passports for sale, vintage passport, emergency passport renewal, same day passport, passport application, pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट

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...