German Jew – Forced to Leave Switzerland

Jew Forced To Leave Switzerland

This German passport was issued in 1934 at the Consulate General in Zurich / Switzerland to Leo Neumann (I do have also another one in his name and one for his wife). As you can see the big red “J” on page one, we know he was a Jew. But Switzerland was for him not anymore a safe place when fleeing from the Nazis as Leo was EXPELLED by the Swiss Alien Police to leave Switzerland.

Most interesting here is the reason from the Alien Police as the stamp is saying “Foreign infiltration”! Switzerland was pushing him out of the country because they had “too many foreigners”. Considering that the Nazis already implemented systematic repression on Jews by 1933 the order from neutral Switzerland to expel him is most significant and life-threatening!

THIS passport is a most precious and extremely rare (maybe unique) evidence when it comes to HOLOCAUST / JEWISH / PASSPORT HISTORY and shows the action of the Swiss government against foreigners in general and Jews in specific already in early 1935. By my best knowledge, I am not aware of another such example exists – maybe in some archives?
Leo and his wife Alice made it with a temporary tourist visa to USA 1938/39. Once there the German embassy in New York issued them German passports, again with a J-stamp. Their travel documents were twice extended and valid until May 1941. What happens then… I don’t know.Jew Forced Leave Switzerland


Jew Forced Leave Switzerland

[1] The introduction of a visa requirement limited to German “non-Aryans” in October 1938 and the closing of the border for refugees entering “solely on racial grounds” in August 1942 was controversial even at the time. At the latest since the 1957 Ludwig Report, these two measures have been considered decisive turning points, key events that must be examined if the whole of Swiss refugee policy is to be made transparent and understandable. The J-stamp and the image of the “heavily laden lifeboat” became symbols for these events, which continue to arouse controversy even today. Jew Forced Leave Switzerland

[1] Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland – Second World War: Switzerland and Refugees in the Nazi-Era. Bern, 1999. ISBN 3-908661-07-2

Jew Forced Leave Switzerland


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  1. The travel documents refered to by Tom Topol were invalidated by the 11th Decree of November 24, 1941, which stripped all German Jews who had left the German Reich of their nationality. The Decree applied to all Jewish Germans who had their “ordinary abode” outside Germany. See Jews or Germans? Nationality Legislation and the Restoration of Liberal Democracy in Western Europe after the Holocaust, DAVID FRASER and FRANK CAESTECKER, Law and History Review Vol. 31, No. 2 (May 2013), pp. 391-422.

    We have a similar passport not renewed after the decree.

    1. Hello Ueli, yes it’s true but fortunately we had also such heroes like Carl Lutz or Paul Grüninger. If you are interested in a Swiss Carl Lutz protection letter – I can offer one. Thanks for your input and enjoy my articles. Best regards Tom

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