East German passport with visa to Mali in 1962

Not only is a visa of the Republic of Mali in a GDR passport most unusual, but the passport holder – Eva Brück, née Morgenstern, escaped from the Nazis. She was born in Berlin on 13 Jun 1926. East German Passport Mali


Eva Morgenstern’s father, Milan Morgenstern, was an Austrian educational therapist and psychiatrist. During the 1920s, he served as the head of a counseling center for juvenile delinquents under the International Workers’ Aid (IAH) in Berlin. Her mother, Sophie Alice Hirschberg, worked as a special education teacher for disabled children. In 1933, following the rise of the National Socialists to power, the family fled to Vienna. Eva attended primary school there and later enrolled at the Schwarzwaldschule in 1936.

Escape East German Passport Mali

After the annexation of Austria in 1938, the family escaped to the United Kingdom. Sadly, Eva’s paternal grandmother and an aunt fell victim to the Holocaust in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Eva herself attended a Quaker boarding school and a high school in Oxford. She pursued her studies in modern languages at St. Anne’s College from 1944 to 1947 and subsequently worked as a teacher.


In 1947, she wed Josef Brück, who had been rescued from Vienna in 1939 through a Kindertransport. Together with him, a Jewish resident of Lemberg (now Lviv) who was regarded by the British as a Soviet citizen, she had intentions of traveling to the Soviet Union in 1949. East German Passport Mali

However, they were detained in East Berlin and, out of political conviction, chose to remain there. In 1958, she became a citizen of East Germany (DDR). Eva Morgenstern worked for the English edition of the trade union newspaper “Teachers of the World” and contributed to various newspapers and magazines in the DDR. Her proficiency in Russian also led her to work as a simultaneous interpreter, notably in 1952 when she interpreted for Ilya Ehrenburg at the World Peace Congress in Vienna.

The Passport East German Passport Mali

Republic of Mali visa 1962 issued as exit visa from the GDR government. It seems a GDR citizen did not need a Mali entry visa. Left: Two Mali border stamps.

She translated educational texts from Russian, museum catalogs, and even a few comics by Hannes Hegen into English. Her overseas travels took her to Scandinavia, Mongolia, North America, Asia, Africa, and also back to Austria. During these journeys, she often found herself in disputes with the SED party bureaucracy over travel permits.

She penned travelogues and short stories, though only a fraction of them were approved for publication; the rest circulated in the DDR as samizdat literature. Her international interviews appeared in the magazine “Bildende Kunst.” In addition to her professional endeavors, Brück also devoted her time to volunteering within the Jewish community of Berlin.

She died in Berlin at age 72 in 1998.




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...