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

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

Source: 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

 

 

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...