Federal German passport with a hidden message

Sometimes you hear astonishing stories from readers, here comes another one. Federal German passport

By Hernan B.G. Schneider, Argentina

Colonel Hans Kusch 1974 at age 60 in gala uniform.

Hello Tom, this is the story of my grandfather and his passport. My grandfather was born in Germany in the city of Chemnitz (Saxony), his father, was a German merchant, who represented a German company based in different countries, including Argentina. My grandfather’s name was Hans Kunsch, who came to Argentina at the age of five years in 1919, his father, traveled to Argentina, with a shipping company, and left his son to study in Buenos Aires, in a German-Argentinian school. Federal German passport

Between 1919 and 1939, my grandfather traveled between Argentina and Germany four times. On his third trip, he went to military school in 1932, leaving in the rank of a Lieutenant, and was then sent to the German Embassy in Buenos Aires, to work as a military liaison, since he spoke Spanish perfectly. In 1935, he married my grandmother in Buenos Aires. She was born in Argentina, but of German origin.

By August 1939, all young German embassy personnel was sent back to Germany to become young officers in the upcoming war. My grandfather embarked on Germany and had to leave my grandmother and my mother in Buenos Aires. For him, the war started indeed actively on September 1, 1939, in Poland, then further in France, and Russia. At the end of the war, he was in the rank of a colonel in the Netherlands and could leave Rotterdam with a Red Cross refugee passport in the name of Julio Aníbal Dallegri. Federal German passport

He arrived in Argentina in 1947, where he finally saw his wife and daughter again after eight years apart. He managed to get a job at a German company in Buenos Aires, which helped every German who fought at the front with priority.

He lived quietly under the Peron government until the military coup in 1956 when Peron was expelled. Many Germans began to seek cover in South American countries to shelter them. So many people started to move to Paraguay, and so did my grandfather. When he applied to travel to Paraguay, the Government of General Alfredo Stroessner, hired him and he works for the government for some years to fight against communism in countries like Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. Federal German passport

He returns to Argentina in the 60s when the new military governments took over, and the economic situation became better. He remained in Argentina until his death in 2005. Like so many Germans, he lived in the high anonymity with a fictional name, even on his grave, with or without being sought for their past.

“When I apply for a passport from the German embassy in Buenos Aires, I showed his old German passport from 1956, pointing to the miniature medal on the photo. The German embassy staff wasn’t much surprised as in the 1960s it was somehow “normal,” as the Germans were seen as patriots defending the country against communism.”

To find a Federal Republic of Germany passport issued in Argentina in 1956 with such a passport photo (and badge) is undoubtedly a most curious finding!

Federal German passport with a hidden message

Thank you very much for sharing this fantastic story, Hernan, and for permitting me to publish, much appreciated.

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  1. when i grew up in Germany, the getaway of so many Nazis to South America was not something to be talked about in detail. Thanks for this story throwing light on this relationship between Germany and Argentina from as early as the 1930s.

    1. Thank you, Martin. The story of this man might be different as he already lived in Argentina but indeed the mystery of the Ratline is most interesting.

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