Director of the German Friedrich Krupp AG heavy industry conglomerate from 1909 until 1941. He and his son Alfried would lead the company through two world wars, producing almost everything for the German war machine from U-boats, battleships, howitzers, trains, railway guns, machine guns, cars, tanks, and much more. Krupp produced the Tiger I tank, Big Bertha, and the Paris Gun. His passport was issued on Feb. 15, 1926, in Essen. As expected, the passport contains several dozen visa stamps documenting the vast international travels. Included are visits to Egypt, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey. Almost all of whom became customers for Krupp products. The passport comes with a signed copy of “The Arms of Krupp” by WILLIAM MANCHESTER, (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.), 1968. 942p. In black cloth with lightly worn dust jacket, signed and dated 1983 on the title page. A 1955 Krupp brochure is also included. The book and passport are presented in a custom presentation one-quarter leather clam box case with a special section protecting the passport. Gustav Krupp Bohlen Halbach
This very interesting travel document was sold at a US auction for $550 (including premium).
By World War I, the company had a near-monopoly in heavy arms manufacture in Germany. At the start of the war, the company lost access to most of its overseas markets, but this was more than offset by increased demand for weapons by Germany and her allies (Central Powers). In 1902, before Krupp’s marriage, the company leased a fuse patent to Vickers Limited of the United Kingdom. Among the company’s products was a 94-ton howitzer named Big Bertha, after Krupp’s wife, and the Paris Gun. Gustav also won the lucrative contract for Germany’s U-boats, which were built at the family’s shipyard in Kiel. Krupp’s estate, the Villa Hügel, had a suite of rooms for Wilhelm II whenever he came to visit. Gustav Krupp Bohlen Halbach
The Versailles Treaty prevented Germany from making armaments and submarines, forcing Krupp to significantly reduce his labor force. His company diversified to agricultural equipment, vehicles, and consumer goods. However, using the profits from the Vickers patent deal and subsidies from the Weimar government, Krupp secretly began the rearming of Germany with the ink barely dry on the treaty of Versailles. It secretly continued to work on artillery through subsidiaries in Sweden and built submarine pens in the Netherlands. In the 1930s, it restarted the manufacture of tanks such as the Tiger I and other war materials, again using foreign subsidiaries.
Krupp suffered failing health from 1939 onwards, and a stroke left him partially paralyzed in 1941. He became a figurehead until he formally handed over the running of the business to his son Alfried in 1943. Krupp industries, under both his leadership and later that of his son, was offered facilities in eastern Europe and made extensive use of forced labor during the war. On 25 July 1943, the Royal Air Force attacked the Krupp Works with 627 heavy bombers, dropping 2,032 long tons of bombs in an Oboe-marked attack. Upon his arrival at the works the next morning, Krupp suffered a fit from which he never recovered. Following the Allied victory, plans to prosecute Gustav Krupp as a war criminal at the 1945 Nuremberg Trials were dropped because by then he was bedridden and senile. Gustav Krupp Bohlen Halbach
He died at his residence near Werfen, Salzburg in Austria on 16 January 1950. His widow died in 1957. He had eight children including Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1907–1967), the last owner of Krupp (succeeded by his Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation).
A significant travel document of one of Germany’s key industrialists. Gustav Krupp Bohlen Halbach
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?
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 😉
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...