GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON 1959

Another precious document came into my East German (GDR) collection. A diplomatic passport issued 1959! This is not only the earliest used diplomatic passport in my collection, but it was also issued to the wife and daughter of the official East German deputy delegate to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) or in German “Rat für gegenseitige Wirtschaftshilfe, RGW” (only East Germany was a member which joined 1950) which was an economic organization from 1949 to 1991 under the leadership of the Soviet Union that comprised the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with several socialist states elsewhere in the world. Comecon was the Eastern Bloc’s reply to the Organization for European Economic Co-Operation in Western Europe. GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON

GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON

 

According to some historians, Moscow was concerned about the Marshall Plan. Comecon was then meant to prevent countries in the Soviets’ sphere of influence from moving towards Americans and South-East Asia.GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON

As this organization fell apart in 1991, it’s pretty amazing to find this document related to this socialist collaboration construct.GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON

The passport itself is in excellent condition, issued to Johanna Opitz, the wife of the official deputy delegate of the GDR. It bears several early diplomatic visas of the GDR, CCCP, and Poland. Other normal visas from CSSR and Bulgaria. Her document was valid, after one renewal, till 1963. Daughter Veronika is also included in the passport. also very unusual to spot, especially for a GDR diplomatic passport.GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON

GDR Diplomatic Passport COMECON

Kurt Opitz (born January 30, 1918, in Halle (Saale), † May 23, 2008, in Leipzig ) was a German politician ( SED ). He was Minister of the State Government of Saxony-Anhalt and Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Commission of the GDR. In 1950 he received the National Prize of East Germany I Class.

From November 24, 1950, to July 31, 1952, he acted as Minister for Industry, Transport, Construction, and Labor for Saxony-Anhalt. On August 1, 1952, he was appointed deputy chairman of the State Planning Commission (SPK). He was then also the deputy of the representative of the GDR in the ComeconBruno Leuschner, as well as head of the international economic relations department in the SPK. He was part of the GDR government delegation that negotiated in December 1960 in East Berlin with the Cuban business delegation under Che Guevara about expanding economic relations. Later he was employed as plant director at VEB pumps and blowers in Leipzig. As such, he was awarded the Bronze Patriotic Order of Merit in 1978.

I like to thank my German fellow collector who made it possible to get such a treasure for my collection!

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...