Nazi Passport Law – The big Red J for Jew

German Nazi Passport Law – The big red J for Jew

1938 REICHSGESETZBLATT, PART I, PAGE 1342

Law on Passports for Jews, 5 October 1938

Based on the law on passport, alien police, and registration affairs as well as on identification affairs of 11 May 1934 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, Page 589), the following is ordered in agreement with the Reich Minister of Justice:

Article 1

(1) All German passports of Jews (Article 5 of the first law to the Reich citizenship of 14 November 1935-Reichsgesetzblatt I Page 1333), who reside in the Reich area, become invalid.

(2) The holders of the passports, mentioned in Section (l), are obliged to hand in these passports to the passport authority within Germany, in whose district the holder of the passport has his permanent residence or in lieu of such sojourns temporarily, within two weeks after this law becomes effective. For Jews who are staying abroad at the time of the publication of this law, this period of two weeks begins with the day of their reentry into the Reich area.

(3) The passports, made out to be valid abroad, will become valid again if marked with a sign designated by the Reich Minister of the Interior, marking the holder as a Jew.

Article 2

Whoever carelessly or willfully does not comply with the obligation described in article 1, section 2 will be punished with prison and fined up to 150 marks or with either one.

Article 3

The law becomes effective with its promulgation.

Berlin, 5 October 1938.

Besides the action mentioned above, Jewish men and women bearing first names of “non-Jewish” origin had to add “Israel” and “Sara,” respectively, to their given names.

Such passports are very rare and are clear evidence of the Holocaust – the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, a program of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, throughout Nazi-occupied territory. Some Jews were lucky enough to escape abroad with these passports.

The Nazi bureaucracy also gave clear instructions on the size of the “designated sign” – a 3cm large Red J, and where to place it on the cover page. The form of the J, however, was never specified. Hence, we can find plenty of different forms, stamped and handwritten.

German Nazi Passport Law – The big red J for Jew

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