Passports of an East German Nuclear Scientist
Here is an impressive set of two East German passports. One document is from 1958 and another from 1969. Both travel documents issued to Horst Sodan, a nuclear physicist educated in the USSR.
At least since 1984 Dr. Sodan was working at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), in Dubna, Moscow Oblast (110 km north of Moscow), Russia, is an international research center for nuclear sciences, with 5500 staff members, 1200 researchers including 1000 Ph.D.’s from eighteen states (including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Kazakhstan), members of the institution. Most scientists, however, are eminent Russian scientists.
JINR has at present 18 Member States: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Kazakhstan, D. P. Republic of Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Participation of Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Republic of South Africa and Serbia in JINR activities are based on bilateral agreements signed on the national level. The Supreme governing body of JINR is the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of the governments of all 18 Member States. Contracts are signed on the national level with Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, and the Republic of South Africa.
By the mid-1950s, there was a global consensus that nuclear science should be accessible and that only full cooperation could ensure the progressive development of this research, as well as the peaceful use of atomic energy. Thus, in 1954, near CERN, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) was established. At about the same time, the countries that belonged to the socialist community decided to create a Joint Institute for Nuclear Research based on the INP and EFLAN. Dr. Sodan was several times participant at international on nuclear research. Also in 1984 at the CERN where he was a delegate from the USSR. Passports of an East German Nuclear Scientist
The passport from 1958 is an East German type in the extended version with 52 pages. There are plenty of visas and stamps, including several “service visa,” only USSR and Poland. The last visa is from 1966. A riddle for me is a GDR-Entry visa issued at the GDR Consulate in Moscow from 1960. He was GDR citizen but why they stamped him a GDR entry visa to his home country? GDR passports before 1960 are nowadays rare to find, especially when they are well-traveled like this example.
The 1969 “Temporary Travel Document In Lieu Of Passport For German Nationals” is extraordinary. Why? Because it was issued still be the ALLIED TRAVEL OFFICE on 5 August 1969 and includes a rare combination of ALLIED MILITARY GOVERNMENT revenues of 4 DM and 16 DM. Talking with AMG revenue expert Theo Schalke, who says, “This is the latest issue of this type of passport I know, plus the revenue combination is also rare to find.” Furthermore, the travel document has a visa to Canada(!), which is also pretty unusual for such a type of travel document. Passports of an East German Nuclear Scientist
The Allied Travel Office repealed the rules governing the issue of ‘Temporary Travel Document’
for the entry of citizens of the GDR into NATO states on 26 March 1970.
The German magazine Der Spiegel wrote an article on the Allied Travel Office in August 1969. Here an extract…
The way out of the GDR into the wide world leads through a West Berlin back door. It is the oak gate at the back of the Prussian Court of Appeal, built in 1913, where the Allied Control Council moved into its quarters in 1945. There, “in the middle of the territory of the GDR” (“Neues Deutschland”), in the basement and Beletage of Schöneberg’s Elßholzstrasse 32, resides the Allied Travel Office (Nato-Slang: Travelboard), which waits for East German citizens for trips to Nato countries to passports — or denies them.
State officials such as managers, pop singers or scientists — anyone who wants to go from Cottbus to Cambridge, from Vetschau to Versailles or from Rügen to Reykjavik, for example, must first audition with the three liaison officers of the USA, Great Britain, and France. The full article in German is here. Passports of an East German Nuclear Scientist
The Travel Board Officer who issued and signed the document was Wheaton B. Beyers, who joined the US Department of State and the CIA in the 1950s and served earlier in the United States Navy in the Pacific fleet. He made quite a career! Beyers died on 21 April 2017 at the age of 91. Here is his full biography.
Passports of an East German Nuclear Scientist