Passport To Freedom, a Czechoslovak Passport organized by Varian Fry

Passport To Freedom, a Czechoslovak Passport organized by Varian Fry

Following up on my previous article “Surrender On Demand – Varian Fry In Nazi Occupied France” I was able to get now some pictures of such a fake passport organized by Fry and his team from the Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC). Thanks to a Czech fellow collector who guided me to the source. What you see here is the fake Czechoslovakian passport of Ivan (here: Ivan) and Charlotte Halibut, issued in Marseilles on September 4, 1940 (Source: Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945 der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek, Nachlass Iwan Heilbut, EB 96/182)

We can assume not many of such important documents have survived so it’s great to see the German National Library has one in it’s archive.

Provisional passport type
Provisional passport type

Ivan Heilbut was a German writer and came from one of the oldest Jewish families in Hamburg. Read his biography HERE.

Between 1940 and 1941, working out of a hotel room and later a small office in the French port city of Marseille, Varian Fry rescued hundreds of artists, writers, musicians, composers, scientists, philosophers, intellectuals, and their families from the Nazis, taking enormous personal risks to bring them to the United States. Fry was one of the only American “righteous Gentiles,” a man who voluntarily risked everything to save others, with no personal connection to those he saved. At the age of 32, Fry had volunteered to go to France on behalf of the Emergency Rescue Committee, an ad hoc group of American intellectuals formed in 1940 for the purpose of distributing emergency American visas to endangered European artists and thinkers.

One Of Varian Fry’s “Passport To Freedom” here a Czechoslovak Passport

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  1. Hi Tom, Chinese colleague of mine noted a small error in the Chinese translation.
    “The Chinese embassy in Marseille issued this admission pass for Shanghai valid as of (Chinese Era) year 29, September 6th.” On the left a attention clause describing the admission pass is valid for 1 year after date of issue.

    Another passport collector has a passport with exactly the same addmission visum, only dated year 29, September 11th. He added in his comment that the visa was good to enter via Chinese treaty ports only (I didn’t got that part from my colleague). Source:

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