Visa Issued By Warsaw Ghetto Commander

Visa Warsaw Ghetto Commander
At the first view this Lithuanian passport, or to be more exact “Safe Conduct”, shows a 27 yo woman but the back of the document reveals a German transit visa issued in May 1940 by the department of the “Chief of the District Warschau”, here “Passstelle” (passport office). The person in charge was Ludwig Fischer, who was not only in charge of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw but also a convicted war criminal, hanged 1947 in Poland. I’ve never seen such a visa before and even it’s not signed by Fischer himself this visa is most rare to spot.

Visa Warsaw Ghetto Commander
Ludwig Fischer

Appointment as Governor of the Warsaw District

After the 1939 Invasion of Poland, Fischer was appointed Governor of the Warsaw District in the occupied General Government (the area of Poland that was not formally annexed). He held this position until the withdrawal of the German forces from Warsaw in January 1945.

War Crimes

Fischer was directly responsible for a number of war crimes, as well as crimes against humanity. He was responsible for the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto, issued many anti-Semitic laws, as well as participating in the bloody Ghetto de-establishment and deportation. He was also responsible for terror in the occupied city, including mass executions, slave labor programs and deportation of Polish Jews to the various Nazi Concentration Camps.

Sentenced to Death

He was sentenced to death by the Special Courts of the Polish resistance movement for crimes against Polish citizens. His name was first on the list of “Operation Heads”—the serial assassinations of Nazi personnel by the Polish Resistance. Before the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, his car was shot at in Operation Hunting, but Fischer survived.

Following the defeat of the Warsaw Uprising, Fischer assumed a significant role in the Nazi Germany’s orchestrated scheme to devastate Warsaw. Additionally, he bore responsibility for the deplorable conditions within the temporary transit camp in Pruszków, designed to confine individuals expelled from the capital. Visa Warsaw Ghetto Commander

At the age of 41, Fischer was apprehended by the Allied forces following the war and subsequently transferred to Polish authorities. The Supreme National Tribunal conducted his trial, ultimately condemning him to death. During the proceedings in 1947, Jankiel Wiernik, a survivor of Treblinka and the Warsaw uprising, provided testimony against him.

Visa Warsaw Ghetto Commander
Lithuanian Passport Visa Issued By Warsaw Ghetto Commander’s Department


He was executed by hanging in Warsaw’s Mokotów Prison. A 2013 National Geographic Channel documentary “Bloody Tales” claims that a film thought to be of the execution of the Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth is in fact that of Fischer’s execution.

Read more on Prosecution of Nazi Crimes in Poland in 1939–2004 and on the Warsaw Ghetto.

Visa Warsaw Ghetto Commander


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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...