German passport 1939 – Israel Consul Shanghai

German passport Israel Consul

Various organizations in Israel put a plight before the United Nations. As a result, the Jewish Agency and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association (UNRRA) began to make special arrangements to bring out the remaining Jews from China to Israel utilizing chartered sea-going vessels and airplanes. To facilitate these arrangements, the Jewish Agency requested that Moshe Yuval, the newly appointed Vice-Consul of Israel in New York, visit Shanghai and coordinate all efforts for a smooth evacuation of China’s Jewry.

German passport Israel Consul
Moshe Yuval, Israel vice-consul in New York, was scheduled to leave today for China to facilitate the emigration of Jews from China to Israel. Yuval expects to arrive in Shanghai Tuesday to serve as the representative of the Israeli Ministry of Immigration (JTA, November 29, 1948).

Yuval arrived in November 1948 and was met at the airport by a ten-member committee, myself included, representing the Jewish community of Shanghai. At the Cathay Hotel, the clerk asked Yuval for his signature and his profession. Calmly, in a matter-of-fact voice, Yuval replied, “I am the Vice-Consul of Israel.” Most likely, he did not notice the smiles of pride and happiness on our faces. Some of us could not control our tears. Just imagine that here in a Chinese hotel in Shanghai, we heard the words, “Vice-Consul of Israel!” At once, Israel became a state, and I ceased to be stateless. These four words said it all. We are no longer homeless! We have a Vice-Consul! We are equal among people! We have a Jewish state! Together with Moshe, a committee, the Palamt, was formed to take charge of all preparations, interviews, and financial arrangements for the various expeditions by sea and air.
(Source: My China – Jewish Life in the Orient, 1900-1950, Yaccov Liberman). German passport Israel Consul

But let’s have a closer look at the details of the German NS passport. A standard passport issued to Siegfried “Israel” Friedberg from Stettin, a civil engineering worker, born September 21, 1889. Page four shows the document was issued on April 11, 1939, and confirmed by the police on April 15. Some days in between for processing wasn’t unusual at these times. His travel document was valid for one year until April 10, 1940. The red J-stamp for JEW was added and should have April 11, 1939, instead of April 10. The clerk likely looked at the expiry date rather than the issuing date, explaining the difference of one day. German passport Israel Consul

What is EXTRAORDINARY, of course, is the ISRAELI VISA issued by Vice-Consul Moshe Yuval in Shanghai on December 15, 1948, in a GERMAN NS PASSPORT to bring Jews home to Israel! At that time, the STATE OF ISRAEL existed for just seven months! NEVER SEEN BEFORE! German passport Israel Consul

This passport historical treasure is paramount in relation to the Holocaust and the newly founded State of Israel!



Moshe Yuval
(Zimbal) (September 24, 1913 – April 1982) was one of the leaders of the youth aliyah from Latvia, a member of the Foreign Service, and deputy director of Yad Vashem. Served as Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, Peru. Born in the city of Devinsk, Latvia he emigrated in 1932 at the age of 18 to Eretz Israel.

As an avid Zionist and speaker of languages, he joined the Jewish Agency in 1936, which was the representative body of the Jews of Palestine at the time. In this capacity, server correlation with military officials and civilian unit of APS. During World War II, he served as secretary of the “Center for mobilization”, and dealt with, inter alia, on volunteerism Jewish British army. His role in the Jewish Agency served as the right hand of Moshe Sharett, who had been prime In the agency’s political department, in Moshe Sharet’s letters, Yuval was nicknamed “Inbal”, and on Sharett’s advice, as documented in the letters, you changed his last name from Zimbal to Yuval, in August 1946. A well-known operation, in which Yuval took part, took place in 1946, by order of Zalman Shazar, when Yuval went to Tel Aviv to work to regulate the certificates of “Babylonian women” – the intention is to regulate the status of five Jewish women who married Israeli men who served in the army The British in Iraq during World War II, but the Iraqi authorities prevented their immigration. German passport Israel Consul

Katriel Katz (left) with Moshe Yuval (Deputy Consul in New York) and Yeruham Cohen, 1949.

On May 16, 1948, with the establishment of the state, Yuval began working in the Foreign Ministry, serving in various positions in Israel and abroad until his retirement in 1978. As part of his work, he served as Israel’s representative in Shanghai, China, for several months. During these months, he was mainly involved in bringing Jewish war refugees from Europe and the Chinese Jewish community, most of them from the city of Harbin. Yuval had 7,000 visas to bring Jews to Israel, and from December 1948 to the spring of 1949, between 4,000-5,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, including leaders of the Zionist movements in Shanghai. Among the famous families above her was the Olmert family. Yuval was one of the first representatives of the newly founded State of Israel abroad. From 1978 to 1982, he served as deputy chairman of Yad Vashem. After retiring from the Foreign Ministry as a volunteer in the State Archives. German passport Israel Consul

2 Comments

  1. Bringing history to life! Thanks for finding and showing this passport.

    My feeling about the red J on the front cover, and the handwritten 10. 4. 39, is that the passport was stamped with the big J one day before the official issue. Also, the detail of the 0 and the 4 say to me that it was written by a different clerk, who was possibly working for a different department in the passport office. Do you know how their set-up functioned in those days?
    Kind regards, Martin

    1. Hi Martin. Thanks for your feedback as always but partly your comment makes no sense regarding the 0 and 4 digits, as that would mean the date alone would have been issued by two different people. Surely not. The J stamp was stamped on the day of the issue when the passport was made after the law of “special marking” came into force on 5th Oct 1938. As I describe in my article I truly believe the clerk looked at the expiration date, instead of the issue date. Hence the wrong date (before the issue date) near the J stamp. Additional documents with the passport and research results suggest the document is genuine. Cheers, Tom

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