Leningrad: Two Rare German Consulate Passports

Leningrad German Consulate PassportsLeningrad German Consulate PassportsThese two German passports hold significance in both German passport history and the city’s overall historical narrative. In over two decades of collecting, this marks the first instance of encountering German passports issued in Leningrad.

I was determined to acquire them and was prepared to pay a substantial amount. Fortunately, I managed to secure both at a much more affordable price than anticipated. They now proudly reside in my collection. Leningrad German Consulate Passports

 

City History

From Saint Petersburg to Petrograd to Leningrad and back. It bore its current name for over 200 years.

The city was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great on marshland near the sea to assert Russia’s claim to access to the Baltic Sea. It became the capital of Russia in 1712. It was the capital of the Russian Empire from 1712 to 1918. In 1918, the Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow.

Petrograd (1914-1924) Leningrad German Consulate Passports

Only for 10 years, the city had this name. Both persons in the passport were born in Petrograd (German:Petersburg).

February Revolution

Petrograd was at the center of the February Revolution, a series of spontaneous protests and strikes that led to the overthrow of the Russian monarchy. The unrest began on March 8 (February 23 in the Julian calendar then used in Russia) when demonstrators took to the streets, leading to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917.

Provisional Government

After the abdication of the tsar, a Provisional Government was established in Petrograd. It was initially headed by Prince Lvov and later by Alexander Kerensky. The Provisional Government aimed to create a democratic system but faced challenges from various political factions and the Petrograd Soviet, a council of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies.

October Revolution

The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized power in Petrograd during the October Revolution (October 25-26, 1917, according to the Julian calendar). The storming of the Winter Palace marked a key event during this revolution, leading to the establishment of a socialist government.

Civil War Leningrad German Consulate Passports

Petrograd became a battleground during the Russian Civil War (1918-1922) between the Red Army (Bolsheviks) and the White Army (anti-Bolshevik forces). The city faced severe hardships, including food shortages and military conflict.

Formation of the Red Army

During the early days of the Russian Civil War, the Bolshevik government formed the Red Army in Petrograd. Leon Trotsky played a significant role in organizing and leading the Red Army.

Famine of 1921-1922

Petrograd, along with other parts of Russia, experienced a severe famine during the aftermath of World War I and the Civil War. The famine resulted in widespread suffering and loss of life.

Leningrad 1924-1991

After Lenin’s death, the former city of the tsars was renamed Leningrad. This was decided by the Second Congress of Councils of the USSR on January 26, 1924, at the request of the Petrograd Council of Deputies. Nevertheless, the center of power of the Soviet Union shifted increasingly to Moscow. Leningrad German Consulate Passports

Great Purge 1936-1938

Leningrad, like the rest of the Soviet Union, witnessed the brutal political purges initiated by Joseph Stalin. Many prominent figures in Leningrad were purged or executed during this time, affecting the city’s intellectual and cultural circles.

Blockade of Leningrad 1941-1944

One of the most tragic events in Leningrad’s history was the Siege of Leningrad during World War II. German and Finnish forces blockaded the city for almost 900 days, leading to severe food shortages and a humanitarian crisis. The city’s resilience and the suffering endured by its residents are deeply ingrained in its history.

1989 Name Reversion Leningrad German Consulate Passports

Following the political reforms and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city officially reverted to its historical name, Saint Petersburg, on September 6, 1991. The change symbolized a shift in the political and cultural landscape of the country.

Embassy of Germany, Saint Petersburg Leningrad German Consulate Passports

The former German Embassy in Saint Petersburg stands as an early and highly influential exemplar of Stripped Classicism. Conceived by Peter Behrens, it was erected to accommodate the diplomatic mission of the German Empire in Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire.

Former German Embassy in Leningrad, 1959https://rs.cms.hu-berlin.de/ikb_mediathek/?r=2741
Former German Embassy in Leningrad, 1959

Following the war, Germans reestablished a presence in the city in 1922, then called Petrograd. They operated a consulate from the building, representing both the Weimar Republic and subsequently Nazi Germany, until 1939. During the Siege of Leningrad, the Red Army utilized the premises as a hospital, and post-World War II, it became home to the Institute of Semiconductor Physics.

Subsequent occupants of the building have included Intourist, Dresdner Bank, and the Committee for the Management of City Property of the Saint Petersburg City Administration. Presently, the building serves as the Administration Board of the Ministry of Justice and the Chief Technical Commission to the President of the Russian Federation for the Northwestern Federal District.

The Passports Leningrad German Consulate Passports

Issued in January and August 1929 at the German Consulate in Leningrad. The names on the documents are Rimpeick and Rimmert. Her passport includes two boys. Both documents include visas to Latvia in August 1929.

Two fantastic and extremely rare additions to my collection.

Outstanding rare USSR Diplomatic Passports from 1941-1969

 

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...