German Passport 1949 of former NS Propaganda Photographer

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German Passport Propaganda Photographer

Hilmar Pabel (* 17 September 1910 in Rawitsch, Province of Posen) was a German journalist, photographer, and initiator of the Red Cross’s search for children after the Second World War. Despite his participation in the war propaganda of National Socialism, he can be regarded as one of the most important German representatives of humanistic, enlightened press photography.

The son of a merchant, he began taking photographs in 1924 at the age of fourteen. In 1929 he learned photography at the Agfa photo school in Berlin. From 1930 to 1935, he studied German language and literature, philosophy, and newspaper science at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin with Emil Dovifat. He then worked freelance for various newspapers, such as the Illustrirte Zeitung. German Passport Propaganda Photographer

During the Second World War, he worked as a war correspondent and photographer for a propaganda company. Among other things, he photographed in the Lublin ghetto. These photographs were also published with anti-Semitic captions. At the end of the war, he was a prisoner of war for a short time.

In 1945 he worked for the Bavarian Red Cross and was one of the initiators of their search for children. In this context, he himself photographed over 2000 children to locate their parents or relatives. In 1947 he took his series of pictures Heimkehrer, for which he accompanied a war returnee with his camera. Pabel later worked for the magazine Quick, for which he traveled to the GDR, Nepal, Indonesia, Japan, China, Taiwan, numerous African states, the USSR, and the United States. Paris Match and Life also printed his photo reports. German Passport Propaganda Photographer

In 1961 he was awarded the Culture Prize of the German Society for Photography. 1961-1970 he worked as a photographer for Stern. For the magazine, he created an impressive picture series during the Vietnam War (The Little Orchid, 1964 and Thuan May Live Again, 1968) and during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. After 1970 he worked again as a freelance photographer.

He married the author and journalist, Romy Schurhammer, in 1963. Andrea Pabel, riding instructor, children’s and horse book author, is one of his two daughters.

Pabel was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon and later the 1st Class, which he returned in 1987. The reason was a fine imposed on his daughter for her participation in a sit-in blockade of the access road to the American Pershing II depot on the Mutlanger Heide in the course of the peace movement.

Pabel past away at age 90 in 2000.

German Passport Propaganda Photographer

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...