Max Wuensche Hitlers Aide
You see a document of a significant figure of WWII – the passport of MAX WUENSCHE, SS commander awarded with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and personal aide to Adolf Hitler.
Max Wuensche Max Wuensche Hitlers Aide
Born on April 20, 1914, in Kittlitz. In July 1933, Wünsche joined the SS. In 1935, he graduated from SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz and was promoted to Untersturmführer. Wünsche was then posted to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) as a platoon leader. In October 1938, Wünsche was assigned as an orderly officer for Hitler. In that role, Wünsche joined the Führerbegleitkommando (the SS bodyguard unit), which provided personal security for Hitler.
In January 1940, he was again posted to the LSSAH, as a platoon commander in a motorcycle company under the command of Kurt Meyer, for the invasion of the Netherlands and the Battle of France. In December 1940, he became an adjutant to Sepp Dietrich, where he stayed during the invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita) and Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). In February 1942, Wünsche was given the command of the LSSAH Sturmgeschütz (assault gun) battalion.
In 1942 Wuensche completed the General Staff training course at the Staff College in Germany and was promoted to Sturmbannführer. In September 1942, he was posted to the LSSAH and resumed command of the Sturmgeschütz battalion; in October, he assumed command of a brigade in a panzer regiment of LSSAH. His battalion’s first action was at Kharkiv in 1943. On February 25, 1943, Wünsche led his tankers into battle against a defensive position staffed by the Soviet 350th Rifle Division. Supported by artillery and a company of SS grenadiers, Wünsche’s battalion launched its attack and overran the Soviet front lines, destroying some anti-tank guns. Wünsche’s assault would lead to the destruction of 47 artillery pieces and anti-tank weapons. During the attack, 800 Soviet troops were killed. For his actions during the battles for Kharkiv, Wünsche was awarded the German Cross in Gold and later the Knight’s Cross in February 1943. Max Wuensche Hitlers Aide
In June 1943, Wünsche was transferred to a new division forming in France, the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, to take command of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment. On June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy (Operation Overlord), and the division was committed to action on June 7. The division was later trapped in the Falaise pocket, where on the night of August 20, Wünsche escaped out of the pocket on foot. He was wounded and captured by British soldiers.
In 1944, Wuensche was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in camp 165 at Caithness, Scotland, a special camp for high-ranking German officers. In 1948 Wünsche was released and returned to Germany. He died in 1995.
A passport of such a significant figure of the Third Reich is very rare! Max Wuensche Hitlers Aide
I was contacted via my website by the owner of the document, who told me that the document was owned by his grandfather for ages, together with other documents such as military documents and WWII pictures. His grandfather worked as a driver and was in charge of vehicle fleets.
According to the owner… “There’s also a letter from him after the war when he’s applying for a job – it mentions there that he was in charge of the cars for cabinet ministers and the prime minister at some point. His name was William Vincent Tetlow, and there’s a placard in his stuff that reads “NCO IC Unit Transport.”
There are also a lot of photos, including pictures of Hitler’s palace right after it was bombed, including inside (e.g., the dining room with a massive chandelier on the floor within the ruin). I’m not sure if he possibly took the passport then, or if he somehow came into contact with Wuensche after he was captured and taken to Scotland.
Looking deeper into the details of the passport, I found the following…
What is at least unusual, is that the passport was issued at the 8th police department in Berlin, including a handwritten entry, “The leader of the 8th police department”. I have dozens of NS Berlin issues, and none is issued from this unit. Usually, police department II in Berlin is in charge of issuing passports. However, the 8th police department did exist.
Secondly, the passport fixing looks quite worn with the rusty metal eyelets. Someone could think it was eventually manipulated, as the metal eyelets do not look that sleek. Again, if I look at my documents, almost all still look sleek after 75–80 years. It depends on how the documents were stored all the years, which can affect the metal eyelets.
The stamping on the passport picture shows a rather unusual gap (at least from this picture angle). The handwritten passport number is 8R/3/39, which means only three passports might have been issued till April 6, 1939, when Wünsche’s document was made. Wünsche was from Oct 1938 to the beginning of 1940 Ordinance officer with AH.
The UdSSR visa was issued on August 22, 1939, in Berlin at the embassy of the USSR (consular department) to enter the UdSSR till September 7, 1939, via the border Welikie Luki; exit must be made via the same border within 15 days after entry.
The signature of Wuensche seems to fit compared to a document offered at a past auction.
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...