After World War I and during the gradual break-up of Austria-Hungary, the city at first became a part of the transient “Eastern Slovak Republic,” declared on 11 December 1918 in Košice and earlier in Prešov under the protection of Hungary. On 29 December 1918, the Czechoslovak Legions entered the city, making it part of the newly established Czechoslovakia. However, in June 1919, Košice has occupied again as part of the Slovak Soviet Republic, a proletarian puppet state of Hungary. The Czechoslovak troops secured the city for Czechoslovakia in July 1919, which was later upheld under the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.
Jews had lived in Košice (Kaschau) since the 16th century but were not allowed to settle permanently. There is a document identifying the local coiner in 1524 as a Jew and claiming that his predecessor was a Jew as well. Jews were allowed to enter the city during the town fair but were forced to leave it by night and mainly lived in nearby Rozunfaca. In 1840 the ban was removed, and before that, a few Jews lived in the town, among them a widow who ran a small Kosher restaurant for the Jewish merchants passing through the city.
Remark: This Passport was issued in Sep 1941. The town was bombarded on 26 June 1941 by a still unidentified aircraft in what became a pretext for the Hungarian government to declare war on the Soviet Union a day later. Košice was ceded to Hungary, by the First Vienna Award, from 1938 until early 1945.
The German occupation of Hungary led to the deportation of Košice’s entire Jewish population of 12,000 and an additional 2,000 from surrounding areas via cattle cars to the concentration camps. In 1946, after the war, Košice was the site of an orthodox Zionist revival, with a Mizrachi convention and a Bnei Akiva Yeshiva (school) for refugees, which, later that year, moved with its students to Israel.
The Soviets captured the town in January 1945. It became a temporary capital city of the restored Czechoslovak Republic for a short time until the Soviet Red Army reached Prague. Among other acts, the Košice Government Program was declared on 5 April 1945. At that time, a large population of ethnic Germans in the area were expelled and sent on foot to Germany or the Russian border
After the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the city became part of the Eastern Bloc. Several present-day cultural institutions were founded, and large residential areas around the city were built. The construction and expansion of the East Slovak Ironworks caused the population to grow from 60,700 in 1950 to 235,000 in 1991. Before the breakup of Czechoslovakia (1993), it was the fifth-largest city in the federation.
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (German: Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren; Czech: Protektorát Čechy a Morava) was a protectorate of Nazi Germany established following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Earlier in 1938, with the Munich Agreement, the Sudetenland territory of Czech Lands was incorporated into Nazi Germany as a Reichsgau.
The protectorate’s population was the majority ethnic Czech, while Sudetenland was the majority ethnic German. Following the establishment of the independent Slovak Republic on 14 March 1939 and the German occupation of the Czech rump state the next day, the protectorate was established on 16 March 1939 by a proclamation of Adolf Hitler from Prague Castle.
The German government justified its intervention by claiming that Czechoslovakia was descending into chaos as the country was breaking apart on ethnic lines. The German military was seeking to restore order in the region. Czechoslovakia, at the time under President Emil Hácha, had pursued a pro-German foreign policy; however, upon meeting with German Führer Adolf Hitler, Hácha submitted to Germany’s demands and issued a declaration stating that in light of events, he accepted that Germany would decide the fate of the Czech people; Hitler accepted Hácha’s declaration and declared that Germany would provide the Czech people with an autonomous protectorate governed by ethnic Czechs. Hácha was appointed president of the protection the same day.
The Protectorate was an autonomous Nazi-administered territory that the German government considered part of the Greater German Reich. The state’s existence came to an end with the surrender of Germany to the Allies in 1945.
A rare passport historical document nowadays, documenting the above said. The passport shows a teacher couple, Grigory Kaminsky and his wife Marie, and was issued by the German Consulate in Kaschau in Sep 1941 and was valid till Sep 1944 (two passport renewals). Page one shows at the lower margin “Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren,” and also a stamp on page six shows the same. The passport offers no travel (maybe no wonder at these times for this area).
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...