Law on Passports of Jews on 5 October 1938

Based on the law on passport, alien police and registration affairs as well as on identification affairs of 11 May 1934 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, Page 589) the following is ordered in agreement with the Reich Minister of Justice:

Article 1

(1) All German passports of Jews (Article 5 of the first law to the Reich citizenship of 14 November 1935-Reichsgesetzblatt I Page 1333), who reside in the Reich area, become invalid.

(2) The holders of the passports, mentioned in Section (l), are obliged to hand in these passports to the passport authority within Germany, in whose district the holder of the passport has his permanent residence or in lieu of such sojourns temporarily, within 2 weeks after this law becomes effective. For Jews who are staying abroad at the time of publication of this law, this period of two weeks begins with the day of their reentry into the Reich area.

(3) The passports, made out to be valid abroad, will become valid again if they are marked with a sign designated by the Reich Minister of the Interior, which will mark the holder as a Jew.

Article 2

Whoever carelessly or willfully does not comply with the obligation described in article 1, section 2 will be punished with prison and fined up to 150 marks or with either one of them.

Article 3

The law becomes effective with its promulgation.

Berlin, 5 October 1938.


German Nazi passport types for Jews, marked with the BIG RED “J”

These passports are very rare to find and are clear evidence of the Holocaust – the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, throughout Nazi-occupied territory. Some Jews were lucky enough to escape abroad with these passports. These are 2 of them…

Passport of Dr. Wilhem Propper

  • passport number 85743
  • issued Vienna (!)
  • Feb 6th 1939
  • Lawyer
  • big red “J” on title page
  • incl. added middle name “ISRAEL”
  • passport only valid for one year (as usual for Jews)
  • visa for Chile incl. 5 revenue stamps issued at the consulate in Vienna
  • transit visa for Netherlands, some additional stamps (money exchange…)
  • …and finally the immigration stamp to his save harbor in Chile
  • 32 pages
  • excellent condition


Passport of Ernst Back

  • passport number 2024/39
  • issued at the German consulate in St.Gallen/Switzerland (!)
  • June 14th 1939
  • big red “J” on title page
  • including added middle name “ISRAEL”
  • passport only valid for one year (as usual for Jews)
  • Engineer
  • visa for Chile issued at the consulate in Lausanne/Switzerland (!)
  • visa for Italy issued at the consulate in San Gallo (St.Gallen) (!)
  • stamp “deregistered” Immigration office St.Gallen
  • border stamp Italy
  • …and also the immigration stamp to his save harbor in Chile
  • 32 pages
  • excellent condition


  1. I hold my grandmothers passport also from the camps with the Big Red J I would like some info.

  2. I am the son of my late father Felix Kohn. I am in possession of his Austrian passport from 1938 with the ‘big red J’, along with many other misc. older Vienna documents and photos of various members of my family most of whose identities will forever remain unknown to me since my father was unwilling to ever discuss his past in any great detail. Although I’d be loath to be so crass as to consider selling what are ostensibly family heirlooms, I would be interested in knowing what the approximate value would be to a suitable collector. Any information and/or assistance you can provide would of course be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your prompt response.

  3. Sir:

    I have been searching for two Third Reich passports stamped “J” in the name of “Bella Keller” and “Ruth Keller”, my great grandmother and grandmother, respectively. These passports were lost, together with much other sentimental memorabilia, from my home over 20 years ago follow a fire (presumably a firefighter or restoration company removed them) in Hyannis, Massachusetts. I came across your website with several other passports and was wondering if any assistance in recovery was possible.

    Thank you,
    Adam Lowenstein

    P.S. I received your information from Mr. Andreas who wanted to send his regards. Thank you.

    1. Dear Adam, thank you very much for your message. I am always willing to support. I do have several J-stamped passports in my collection but they are all in Switzerland, so right now I can’t verify the names you gave me. At the same time I was sending your request to a good friend which has also serveral of such passports. He will review his collection. As soon as I know more I will let you know. Best regards, Tom.

      1. Dear Adam I have already a answer. Unfortunately I do not have any J-stamped passport in the name of Keller in my collection nor my fellow collector does have. I am sorry not to have better news for you. Best regards, Tom

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