This passport type issued by the German Empire Government of Kiautschou is one of the rarest documents when it comes to German passport history!
UPDATE: Passport 1 German Colonial Passport Kiautschou
This document was just sold on 5 March 2023 on eBay and fetched a price of 895 EUR! The seller had also listed a rare Qyng Dynasty passport from around 1910, issued to a German. That passport document even ended at 2292 EUR! A set of 69 original Chinese (Tsingtau) photographs also fetched a price of 604 EUR. A very successful sale from this seller. The Qing Dynasty passport is for now the most expensive vintage passport sold at eBay in 2023!
Below shown passport was issued according to the bearers description to a 24 year old Theodor Broecking, tall, dark-blonde hair, and grey-blue eyes. And with mustache. Passport photos were only introduced in 1915.
Theodor was a Prussian citizen and merchant. He traveled via Mukden, Harbin, Siberia and Russia to Germany. German Colonial Passport Kiautschou
The circumstances surrounding my display of this particular document shown below are rather unusual, adding to the allure of its rarity. It was through a chance encounter with a fellow collector that I learned of its existence, as he casually mentioned that he had parted ways with it. Intrigued, I pressed for further details and was promptly presented with stunning images of this exceptional passport, now in the possession of another collector whom I have known for years.
While I must admit to feeling a tinge of disappointment at not having secured this extraordinary item for myself, I cannot help but feel genuinely happy for my colleague and friend, who has added yet another remarkable piece to their already impressive collection of vintage passports. Heartfelt congratulations are certainly in order!
But before we come to the passport itself, here are some facts about this German Kiautschou Protectorate / Colony.
German Tsingtau History
The German Empire established a leasehold in the Bay of Kiautschou in the Chinese province of Shantung in 1898, adding an Asian colony to its African and Pacific territories. During the period before World War I, the German leased area at Kiautschou Bay had about 200,000 people, including 56,000 in the colonial city of Tsingtau, the majority of whom were indigenous Chinese.
The German population consisted mainly of merchants, administrative officials, teachers, missionaries, and soldiers, as the jurisdiction was not conceived as a colony of settlers. They primarily lived in the European quarter of Tsingtaus or the barracks. The aim and primary task of the local Germans were to develop the region into a self-sufficient business location, with everyone contributing through their work. The German governor and his administration were legally responsible for the population in the jurisdiction as a result of the lease agreement.
The Germans were generally satisfied with the turnover of goods in the port of Tsingtau, which had become the seventh-largest port in China by 1908, with direct links to Russia, Japan, and other Chinese cities. The operators of the Shantung railway were also satisfied with their company’s economic success, which doubled its freight transport performance between 1905 and 1911. German missionaries were an influential group among foreigners in the province of Shantung, alongside mainly British and American Protestant missions and Franciscans from Italy.
Despite the economic successes of Tsingtau, tensions between Germany and China would ultimately lead to the downfall of the German colony. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Japan seized the opportunity to declare war on Germany and launched an attack on Tsingtau. After a two-month siege, the German forces surrendered, and Japan took control of the territory. The Chinese government then regained sovereignty over the area in 1922. Today, the legacy of Tsingtau can still be seen in the city of Qingdao, which was built on the site of the former German colony.
Passport 2 German Colonial Passport Kiautschou
The passport is issued to 36 years old (born 11 Feb 1876 in Haldersleben/Schleswig-Holstein) Navy surgeon officer Dr. Ernst Prahl, who is traveling via Vladivostok or Dalny, Siberia, and Russia to Germany. Issued at Tsingtau, 12 April 1912. The imperial governor (on behalf), signed Guenther. Dr. Prahl was tall, had blonde hair, a mustache, and a goatee. Blue-green eyes and as specific characteristics, scars on the left cheek. On the back of the document, we see some Russian visas and stamps. One stamp is also from the prestigious Metropole Hotel in Moscow, where he seemed to stay. The master list of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Academy for military medical education listed him in 1910 as Navy surgeon officer at the East-Asia Navy department in Peking. In 1914 he was a senior medical officer on the Yacht Hohenzollern, used by the German Emperors only. See the video of the ship here. General Colonel Ernst Prahl or as it is later called Marine General Staff Doctor Ernst Prahl died on 5 Jan 1931.