Occupied Germany – Relocation into the Soviet zone

Occupied Germany Soviet Zone

The German passport belonging to Horst Werth, a 16-year-old apprentice in metalworking, evokes a vivid story as we look into its pages. Issued in Berlin-Charlottenburg on April 6th, 1936, this travel document carries an air of intrigue. Horst, with his dark-blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, becomes a figure that materializes before our eyes.

However, it is the assortment of stamps adorning the passport that truly captures our attention and breathes life into its narrative. The first stamp, emblazoned on the very front page, speaks volumes: Occupied Germany Soviet Zone

“Inhaber siedelt endgültig in die russische Zone über. Eine Rückkehr ist nicht möglich.”
(Translation: “The bearer relocates finally to the Soviet Zone. A return is not possible.”)

As we turn to page six, our gaze falls upon two more stamps, meticulously applied on October 20, 1945. They hold within their ink the weight of history. Page seven reveals yet another stamp, this one dated June 14, 1946, marking a significant passage. The stamp on page six tells a tale of its own:

“Registered in transition camp… from (place), Zone ‘am’ (American) to (place), Zone ‘Ru’ (Russian).
Bearer remains in the Russian zone.” 

These stamps serve as indelible imprints, signifying moments of transition, upheaval, and the shifting tides of post-war Germany. They offer glimpses into the journey and experiences of Horst, leaving us yearning to unravel the intricate tapestry of his life in the aftermath of war and throughout his time in the German Democratic Republic. Occupied Germany Soviet Zone

Truly, stumbling upon a passport adorned with such remarkable stamps is akin to discovering a time capsule, a vivid and eloquent testament to the twists and turns of German history. It invites us to embark on a voyage of imagination, tracing the footsteps of a young apprentice who bore witness to a tumultuous era.

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FAQ Passport History 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...

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