German Courier Ministerialpass – Barbarossa

German Courier Ministerialpass Barbarossa

German-Soviet relations have always been exceptional, and this passport is an excellent example of these relations. Hermann Saam was a consular secretary and diplomatic courier at the German embassy in Moscow. Such Third Reich documents of duty in the USSR are scarce to find! Hermann’s Ministerialpass was issued on 11th Nov 1939, about twelve weeks after signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and nearly a month after WWII began.

The signing of the German-Russian non-aggression pact on 23 August 1939 in Moscow. The Russian Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, in the back: German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (left) and Joseph Stalin

The Ministerialpass has document number 2135 and was valid till 10th Nov 1944. However, the last entry in his diplomatic travel document was from 23rd July 1941. More on this interesting handwritten entry, later. Saam was in 1939 when he was on diplomatic courier duty, 29 years young.

The visas in his travel document include Lithuania, Latvia, several USSR, and several German visas (issued at the German embassy in Moscow!) Nothing I saw so far was so closely related to “Operation Barbarossa” than this diplomatic travel document.

Coming back to the last entry which reads

“I confirm herewith that Mr. Herrmann Saam is traveling from 23rd July 1941 by a special transport back to the Reich, to work as a Russian interpreter”.

Stamp from the German embassy in Moscow, a signature (I can’t read – from an embassy official) and from Werner von Trippelskirch, the second-highest German official who led the embassy when ambassador Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenburg wasn’t present.

After the German attack on the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941 Tippelskirch returned to Germany (departure from Moscow on June 24, 1941). From July 24, 1941, he was employed in the “Political Department” at the German Foreign Office, where he worked as a counselor with the title of an ambassador to Russia, the Baltic States, and Poland. He remained in this post until 1945. Tippelskirch was taken prisoner of war in America. Subsequently, he was a witness at the Nuremberg trials. Tippelskirch’s cousin was the head of the General Staff of the Army, Kurt von Tippelskirch.

It seems Saam was in briefly in a Soviet internment camp as the document lot also includes two editions of the camp newspaper “KZ am Mittag,” Kostromaer Zeitung der Deutschen Internierten in der Sowjetunion. Kostroma and der Wolga den 1. Juli 1941 (in German). These two issues of the camp magazine are most interesting as they report the first-hand experience of inmates. The first issue was distributed quickly after just ONE WEEK in the camp: issue number two, FOUR WEEKS after internment. A statement reads

“22nd June 1941 – Farewell from Moscow – Our chronicle adventures, part one:
A ciphered telegram received by the German embassy at 3 am at night and is asking to send somebody from the embassy to foreign minister Molotov, to communicate that the hostility has begun. Embassy documents started to get destroyed. The Bulgarian ambassador is taking care of German interests. The German embassy doesn’t exist anymore. We are cut off from our homeland…” German Courier Ministerialpass Barbarossa

All events are described in detail happening on 22/23 June 1941 at the German embassy.

They are further describing life at the camp. Issue no.2 of the camp magazine describes events from June 25 to July 24. It seems key German staff of the embassy in Moscow was imprisoned only briefly for a few weeks as they describe their arrival on July 24 in Berlin, Germany. WOW, great first-hand stories!

German visa issued in Moscow in 1940 (right)

Hermann Saam (born on 7. March 1910 in Neckarsulm and died on 22. December 2005 in Bad Wildbad) was a German diplomat and politician (FDP / DVP).

After graduating from high school, Saam trained in public and municipal administration in the Free People’s State of Württemberg. He then entered the diplomatic service and worked from 1934 to 1942 as secretary of the consulate at the German embassies in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, and Moscow. In addition, since 1939 he undertook special courier trips to Japan, North, Central, and South America. From 1942 to 1945 he participated as a soldier in World War II and was deployed on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans. He was captured by the United States, from which he was released in August 1945. German Courier Ministerialpass Barbarossa

Saam was appointed head of the Freudenstadt District Economic Office in December 1945 by the French military government, which he supervised until 1948. He returned to the diplomatic service in October 1955. Until 1958 he was consul or Permanent Chargé d’Affaires of the Federal Republic of Germany in Accra ( Ghana ) and from 1959 worked as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Trade Policy Department. In 1960 he returned to Germany for health reasons.

Saam joined the NSDAP in 1937 (membership number 4 457 267). After the end of the war, he joined the DVP, which later became the Baden-Württemberg state association of the FDP. As a successor to Wolfgang Haussmann, he was chairman of the FDP / DVP of Baden-Württemberg from 1964 to 1967. From 1966 to 1968 he was also a member of the national executive of the Liberals.

Documents on his work for the FDP can be found in the Liberalism Archive of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Gummersbach.

Saam was a member of the Baden-Württemberg Landtag from 1952 to 1955 from 1960 to 1964. He was a member of the Bundestag from 1965 to 1969. He was elected via the state list.

Saam war von 1948 bis 1955 Bürgermeister von Freudenstadt und spielte in dieser Zeit eine wichtige Rolle beim Wiederaufbau der zerstörten Innenstadt. Von 1960 bis 1974 war er Bürgermeister von Wildbad .

German Courier Ministerialpass Barbarossa

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Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

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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...

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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

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