The smiling girl murdered by the Nazis

During my research, I found this passport application of a little girl. A little smiling girl murdered by the Nazis. smiling girl murdered Nazis

smiling girl murdered Nazis
Eva Abelesova, killed by the Nazis at age 11.

Who was the little girl who wanted to travel? A Holocaust victim database reveals some data about her. She was born on 29 October 1930 and was put on Transport B, no. 411 on 21. 10. 1941, Prague to Łódź, where she was murdered. Her name was Eva Abelesova, a girl with a smiley face. The passport application is dated 20 April 1939.

A Jewish policeman and a German soldier direct traffic in the street that marks the start of the Jewish ghetto. The sign says, “Wohngebiet der Juden. Betreten verboten. “(“Jewish quarter. No entrance. “). (Photo: Zydowski Instytut Historyczny Instytut Naukowo-Badawczy, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives)

Before the start of the war, 34% of Łódź’s 665 000 inhabitants (223,000 people) were Jewish, and the city was an important center of Jewish culture. The arrival of German troops on 8 September 1939 meant the start of a campaign of terror against the Jewish and Polish inhabitants of the city. In February 1940, the creation of a Jewish ghetto on the northern edge of the town, in the former Jewish poor quarter, was announced. Jews were driven out of the other parts of the city, and on 30 April, the territory of the ghetto was closed off. 164 000 Jews from Łódź had to squeeze into an area of four square kilometers, of which over a third had no building on it. In 1941 and 1942, a further 38 500 Jews were deported to the ghetto, 20 000 of whom came from the Reich and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the rest from nearby towns.

In November 1941. 5 000 Roma from Burgenland (including many children) were deported to the ghetto. They were interned in a special section of the ghetto, separated off by double barbed wire. smiling girl murdered Nazis

The Jewish administration of the ghetto, led by the dominant figure of Mordechai Rumkovski, tried to ensure that labor productivity in the ghetto was as high as possible and that all prisoners capable of working were doing so to the maximum. Not even this, however, could prevent overcrowding and starvation, and improve the utterly inhuman living conditions of the Łódź prisoners. Epidemics, fuel and food shortages, and inadequate sanitation led to the fact that some 43 500 people, 21 % of the ghetto’s population, died of malnutrition, cold, and disease. smiling girl murdered Nazis

Eva’s passport application with the date 20 April 1939

From January 1942 on, deportations flowed from the ghetto to nearby Chełmno, where prisoners were killed in mobile gas chambers. By May 1942, 55 000 Jews and 5 000 Roma temporarily interned in Łódź had been murdered. In the second wave of deportations in September 1942, almost 20 000 prisoners were killed, mostly children, older people and the sick. The whole operation started with the closing of the hospital, whose patients became the first victims. From September 1942 on, the ghetto became one giant factory, and the prisoners were forced to work for the German war economy. At the beginning of 1944, the Germans decided to close the ghetto. In the summer of 1944, the remaining prisoners were sent to extermination camps in Chelmno and Auschwitz. Between 16 October and 3 November 1941, 5 000 Czech Jews were deported to Łódź. Only 277 of them survived. smiling girl murdered Nazis

Eva’s mother – Zdenka was on a transport the same day!





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FAQ Passport History pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट

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?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

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 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

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...

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