Jewish Names in German Passports

Spread the love

Jewish Names German Passports

A fellow collector made a comprehensive summary of the applicable decree and the use of Jewish names. The picture at the end of the article is also from a fellow collector and shows an official document from Oct. 1939 confirming that mentioned lady has additionally attached the middle name “SARA” to her current first and family name. I believe this is an extraordinary document and I never saw such one before.

1) Middle Names

On 17.08.1938 a decree was issued forcing Jews to adopt the middle name “Israel” for men and “Sara” for women. It applied to German and stateless Jews, not to foreigners. The decree was put into force on 01 January 1939. Jews who already had a name contained in a list published on 18.08.1938 did not need to additionally add “Israel” or “Sara” to their names. The list is below (at the end of this article). Newly born Jews could only carry a name mentioned on the list. Jews had to report within one month their new names to the authorities where they were born or married and where they lived. German Jews living abroad hat to report to the nearest consulate. Penalties for non-compliance were prison between 1 and 6 months. This decree was NOT applicable to Austria.


Zweite Verordnung zur Durchführung des Gesetzes über die Änderung von Familiennamen und Vornamen

2) Passport Endorsement

On 05.10.1938 (Wednesday) passports held by German Jews living within Germany were declared invalid. Passport holders were required to submit the passports within 2 weeks to authorities for them to be specially marked (“J” stamp). This decree was in force from 07.10.1938 (Friday).


Verordnung über Reisepässe von Juden

As Austria was already incorporated into Germany by that date the decree would include any Austrian passports. Given the sentiments the Nazis had for the Austrian State it is, however, improbable that many Austrian passports were still in circulation.

3) Extension to Austria/Middle Names

On 24.01.1939 a decree was issued for Austria (and the annexed “Sudentenland”) which introduced the legislation regarding middle names as mentioned above (no. 1). The decree was applicable as from 01.02.1939 and Jews had to change their names within one month from 01.04.1939.


4) Application

a) Passports issued in Germany proper (excluding Austria)

All passports issued on or after 07.10.1939 had the “J” stamp. Passports issued after 01.01.1939 should show “Israel” and “Sara” as middle names. Passports issued before would have the “J” stamp and endorsements concerning the names affixed on or after these dates.

b) Passports issued in former Austria (eg Vienna)

“Israel” and “Sara” should appear in all passports issued after 01.02.1939. They would automatically have the “J” stamp.

5) List of allowed Jewish Private Names

a) Male names

Abel, Abieser, Abimelech, Abner, Absalom, Ahab, Ahasja, Ahasver, Akiba, Amon, Anschel, Aron, Asahel, Asaria, Ascher, Asriel, Assur, Athalja, Awigdor, Awrum; Bachja, Barak, Baruch, Benaja, Berek, Berl, Boas, Bud; Chaggai, Chai, Chajin, Chamor, Chananja, Chanoch, Chaskel, Chawa, Chiel; Dan, Denny; Efim, Efraim, Ehud, Eisig, Eli, Elias, Elihu, Eliser, Eljakim, Elkan, Enoch, Esau, Esra, Ezechiel; Faleg, Feibisch, Feirel, Feitel, Feiwel, Feleg; Gad, Gdaleo, Gedalja, Gerson, Gideon; Habakuk, Hagai, Hemor, Henoch, Herodes, Hesekiel, Hillel, Hiob, Hosea; Isaac, Isai, Isachar, Isboseth, Isidor, Ismael, Israel, Itzig; Jachiel, Jasse, Jakar, Jakusiel, Jecheskel, Jechiel, Jehu, Jehuda, Jehusiel, Jeremia, Jerobeam, Jesaja, Jethro, Jistach, Jizack, Joab, Jochanan, Joel, Jomteb, Jona, Jonathan, Josia, Juda; Kainan, Kaiphas, Kaleb, Korach; Laban, Lazarus, Leew, Leiser, Levi, Lewek, Lot, Lupu; Machol, Maim, Malchisua, Maleachi, Manasse, Mardochai, Mechel, Menachem, Moab, Mochain, Mordeschai, Mosche, Moses; Nachschon, Nachum, Naftali, Nathan, Naum, Nazary, Nehab, Nehemia, Nissim, Noa, Nochem; Obadja, Orew, Oscher, Osias; Peisach, Pinchas, Pinkus; Rachmiel, Ruben; Sabbatai, Sacher, Sallum, Sally, Salo, Salomon, Salusch, Samaja, Sami, Samuel, Sandel, Saudik, Saul, Schalom, Schaul, Schinul, Schmul, Schneur, Schoachana, Scholem, Sebulon, Semi, Sered, Sichem, Sirach, Simson; Teit, Tewele; Uri, Uria, Uriel; Zadek, Zedekia, Zephania, Zeruja, Zewi.

b) Female Names

Abigail; Baschewa, Beile, Bela, Bescha, Bihri, Bilha, Breine, Briewe, Brocha; Chana, Chawa, Cheiche, Cheile, Chinke; Deiche, Dewaara, Driesel;Egele; Fangel, Feigle, Feile, Fradchen, Fradel, Frommet; Geilchen, Gelea, Ginendel, Gittel, Gole; Hadasse, Hale, Hannacha, Hitzel; Jachet, Jachewad, Jedidja, Jente, Jezabel, Judis, Jyske, Jyttel; Keile, Kreindel; Lane, Leie, Libsche, Libe, Liwie; Machle, Mathel, Milkele, Mindel; Nacha, Nachme; Peirche, Peßchen, Pesse, Pessel, Pirle; Rachel, Rause, Rebekka, Rechel, Reha, Reichel, Reisel, Reitzge, Reitzsche, Riwki; Sara, Scharne, Scheindel, Scheine, Schewa, Schlämche, Semche, Simche, Slowe, Sprinze; Tana, Telze, Tirze, Treibel; Zerel, Zilla, Zimle, Zine, Zipora, Zirel, Zorthel.

Source: Jewish Names in German Passports

Richtlinien über die Führung von Vornamen

“J” Stamp and Jewish Names in German Passports

FAQ Passport History
Passport collection, passport renewal, old passports for sale, vintage passport, emergency passport renewal, same day passport, passport application, pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट

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...