German Passport – Haifa 1938 – Arab Revolt – WOW

I chanced upon this lot and made an instant purchase. It narrates the tale of a German couple in British Mandate Palestine. Included are a German passport from the Haifa consulate and a photo album featuring around 180 captivating images, primarily showcasing Haifa and its environs, capturing moments during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939.

British policemen searching Arab men, harbor work, tanks, armed vehicles in front of a police station, prominent visitors and military figures, family outings, visits to Lebanon, Sabbath pacifists, Damascus, etc.

Included is a certificate from the Advent Mission Society for the passport holder, Lina Piorr. A letter of 1957 confirming her stay in Haifa from 1933 to 1937.

The passport of Lina Piorr (issued by the German Consulate in Haifa in 1938) and Alfred Piorr’s German identity card (issued in 1980). German Passport Haifa

German Passport Haifa
Photo album with 180+ photos of British Palestine in the 1930s, mostly Haifa and its surroundings.

Dombrowsky and Piorr met at the Mission School Neanderthal of the Seventh-day Adventists; then, they trained together as nurses at the Waldfriede Hospital in Berlin-Zehlendorf. They married and worked as nurses in Haifa in the 1930s, where they lived with their two children. German Passport Haifa

German Passport Haifa
The passport of Lisa Piorr was issued in 1938 at the German consulate in Haifa.
German Passport Haifa
including Trans-Jordan and Palestine visas

The British Mandate for Palestine (1918-1948)

The British occupied former Ottoman territories, reshaping borders. Peace treaties post-World War I influenced changes. The Self-determination principle guided new state formations. German Passport Haifa

By the time Britain conquered Palestine at the end of 1917, it had made several conflicting agreements to support various groups in the Middle East.

These included: the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence (1915-1916), a series of letters exchanged during World War I in which the British government agreed to recognize Arab independence after the war in exchange for Husayn ibn Ali, King of Hejaz (c. 1853-1931), launching the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916), which divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence, and the Balfour Declaration (1917), in which the British government committed itself to a “national home” for the Jewish people.

Before the British occupation, Palestine was part of Ottoman Syria. The British army ruled Palestine until a civil administration was established on 1 July 1920. Britain received the Palestine Mandate on April 25, 1920, at San Remo. The League of Nations approved it on July 24, 1922.

The Pictures

Here are some more pictures (on readers’ requests) of the photo album (1933-1937). Unfortunately, there are rarely any descriptions of the photos, but many seem to be from the Arab Revolt.

British policemen searching Arab men, harbor work, tanks, armed vehicles in front of a police station, prominent visitors and military figures. I’m still trying to figure out the important people. If you recognize someone, please let me know!

German Passport Haifa

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...