German passport returned to family 80 years later

German passport returned family

A Jewish physician whose father fought with the British Army has told of the “remarkable” twist of fate that brought him his passport issued by the Nazis more than 80 years ago. Daniel Robitshek, 59,  from Atlanta in the US, embarked on a “fascinating” journey of discovery after a Facebook user in a moshav in northern Israel took to social media upon unearthing the document that languished among her father’s belongings for decades. German passport returned family

Zvi Robitshek’s passport issued in 1939; Robitshek pictured his wife Ina and second from the left with British Army officers, (Credits: Daniel Robitshek and MyHeritage)

“The lady who had the passport speaks broken English and obviously Hebrew. I speak broken Hebrew and English,” he told Jewish News on Friday, explaining that he had spoken to Mira Ariav over the phone this month following her extraordinary find. “She told me her father had passed away a couple of months ago and as she was cleaning out some of his stuff that was left, she found this passport. It was of my father as a teenager, and [our fathers] were good friends.” German passport returned family

Within hours of seeing Ariav’s social media appeal, which was shared hundreds of times, researchers at the Israeli genealogy website MyHeritage were able to track down Robitshek and help return the passport to him. “The one thing that caught our eyes was the fact that this passport was issued by the Nazi regime,” said Nitay Elboym, the researcher who worked on the case. “We started from there. We had hinted like the date of birth and name. It only took us a few hours and we only relied on the MyHeritage system,” he added.

The document written in German and containing several Nazi-insignia and stamps belonged to Robitshek’s late father Zvi, who died in 1995 in Los Angeles aged 72.  It appears to have been issued in 1939 after the antisemitic Nuremberg Laws stripped Jews of any citizenship rights. German passport returned family

Read the full story here…

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Rare Collection Of Nazi Documents Donated

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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...