What you see here is a fantastic document of German passport history, and I am delighted to have it now in my exquisite collection. Prince Reuss Heinrich XXXVII
Henry XXXVII Prince Reuss (younger line) was born on 1 November 1888 in Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg. Heinrich XXXVII Prince Reuss was the son of Count Heinrich II Prince Reuß younger line, chief of the younger branch (1855-1911), Prussian general of the cavalry à la suite of the army and the 1st Grand Ducal Mecklenburg Dragoon Regiment No. 17. On March 22. 1907 he entered the imperial navy with the character of lieutenant at sea. He completed his training on the training ship “Charlotte” and at the naval school Mürwik. On 27 September 1911, he was promoted to lieutenant, three days later he became 2nd torpedo officer on the “SMS Moltke”, the lead ship of the Moltke-class battlecruisers of the German Imperial Navy, named after the 19th-century German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke. On 27 September 1913, he was promoted to lieutenant at sea and appointed company commander in the 1st Marine Artillery Department.
On 12 August 1914, he took command of the torpedo boat “T 60”. In January 1915, he traveled to Turkey. Here he became commander of the torpedo battery at the High Command of the Straits in the Dardanelles and at the same time head of mining. In April 1916, he returned to Germany and completed submarine training. On 14 May 1917, he took command of the submarine “UC 54” at the Mediterranean submarine flotilla. With this boat, he sank 14 enemy ships on several enemy voyages and damaged two more. On 26 April 1917, he had been promoted to lieutenant captain. On 18 June 1918 he gave command of the boat, and then on 22 June 1918, he took command of the newbuilding “UB 130” at the I. Unterseeboots-Flottille. With this boat, he completed another enemy voyage, which ran, however, without a result. On 18 November 1918, he was then commanded to the admiral’s staff of the navy and on 19 March 1919 IIa in the team of the Freikorps Dohna. Prince Reuss Heinrich XXXVII
On 20 September 1920, he took command of a company in the III Marine Brigade. On July 21, 1920, he became a company commander at the Coast Guard Division V in Pillau, before he retired from military service on March 31, 1921. Subsequently, he worked as an independent merchant, at a bank, an insurance company and as an unskilled worker in the naval management.
On January 14, 1935, he became an officer in the Central Department of the Reich Aviation Ministry as a candidate for e-office officer. On May 1, 1935, he was promoted to Major as an E-Officer. On April 1, 1937, he was commanded to the I. Department of the Flak Regiment 13, and on October 1, 1937, he was chief of an anti-aircraft battery in this regiment. Promoted to lieutenant colonel on March 1, 1938, he was assigned the command of the first section of the Flak Regiment 13 on April 1, 1938, of which he became commander on October 1, 1938. On August 1, 1939, he was promoted to colonel.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, he became commander of the Flak Group 8 in Breslau until he became commander of the Flak Regiment 123 on October 8, 1939. On 23 October 1940, he then became commander of the air defense command Denmark and on 26 November 1942 commander of the anti-aircraft brigade VI in Munich. Promoted to Major General on 1 February 1943, he became commander of the 18th Flak Division one month later.
On 31 January 1944, he was finally transferred as an officer e.g.V. to the Reich Aviation Ministry, on 1 April 1944 to the Lieutenant General and on 30 April, 1944 dismissed from military service. On April 3, 1944, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold. He died on 9 February 1964 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Prince Reuss Heinrich XXXVII
To find a Federal Republic of Germany passport issued to a former Prince of the German Empire is extremely rare as law changes in the early 1960s in Germany banned the use of noble titles like Prince in passports. This document was issued in 1961, expired in 1966, and must be one of the very last documents with such a claim made by the German government. Besides the military career of Prince Reuss above, I couldn’t find any more details of his private or professional life after the war.
Curious fact: In 1973, the 5th President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Avery Brundage, married Princess Marianne Charlotte Katharina Stefanie Reuß, the daughter of Prince Reuss. Brundage was 85 years old, Marianne was 36 years young. Brundage died two years later in 1975. Brundage participated as an athlete in the Olympic Games in 1912 and 1936 in Berlin as a sports functionary and then as IOC President in Munich in 1972. Watch a video clip of the wedding here.
Prince Reuss Heinrich XXXVII