After a Australian reader was asking me if his mothers passport issued 5th April 1945 was the very last Nazi-Germany passport I can tell now clearly – almost! As what you see here seems to be the very last passport issued by the Nazi regime. Thanks to fellow collector N.K. for sending in this interesting document from a 15 years young German boy.
The passport was issued on 4th May 1945 at the German Consulate in Shanghai (which is already rare to find) just 4 days after Hitlers suicide and another 4 days before end of WWII.
Hitler’s death: On 30 April, as the Battle of Berlin raged above him, realizing that all was lost and not wishing to suffer Mussolini’s fate, German dictator Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Führerbunker along with Eva Braun, his long-term mistress whom he had married less than 40 hours before their joint suicide. In his will, Hitler dismissed Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring who was his second-in-command and Interior minister Heinrich Himmler after each of them separately tried to seize control of the crumbling Third Reich. Hitler in their place appointed his successors as follows; Großadmiral Karl Dönitz as the new Reichspräsident (“President of Germany”) and Joseph Goebbels as the new Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany). However, Goebbels committed suicide on 1 May 1945, leaving Dönitz as sole leader of Germany.
German forces in Italy surrender: On 1 May, SS General Karl Wolff and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group C, General Heinrich von Vietinghoff, after prolonged unauthorised secret negotiations with the Western Allies named Operation Sunrise, which were viewed as trying to reach a separate peace by the Soviet Union, ordered all German armed forces in Italy to cease hostilities and signed a surrender document which stipulated that all German forces in Italy were to surrender unconditionally to the Allies on 2 May.
German forces in Berlin surrender: The Battle of Berlin ended on 2 May. On that date, General of the Artillery Helmuth Weidling, the commander of the Berlin Defense Area, unconditionally surrendered the city to General Vasily Chuikov of the Soviet army. On the same day the officers commanding the two armies of Army Group Vistula north of Berlin, (General Kurt von Tippelskirch commander of the German 21st Army and General Hasso von Manteuffel commander of Third Panzer Army) surrendered to the Western Allies.
German forces in North West Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands surrender: On 4 May 1945, the British Field Marshal Montgomery took the unconditional military surrender from Generaladmiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, and General Eberhard Kinzel, of all German forces “in Holland, in northwest Germany including the Frisian Islands and Heligoland and all other islands, in Schleswig-Holstein, and in Denmark… includ[ing] all naval ships in these areas.” at the Timeloberg on Lüneburg Heath; an area between the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen. On 5 May, Großadmiral Dönitz ordered all U-boats to cease offensive operations and return to their bases. At 16:00, General Johannes Blaskowitz, the German commander-in-chief in the Netherlands, surrendered to Canadian General Charles Foulkes in the Dutch town of Wageningen in the presence of Prince Bernhard (acting as commander-in-chief of the Dutch Interior Forces).
German forces in Bavaria surrender: At 14:30 on 4 May 1945, General Hermann Foertsch surrendered all forces between the Bohemian mountains and the Upper Inn river to the American General Jacob L. Devers, commander of the American 6th Army Group.
Central Europe: On 5 May 1945, the Czech resistance started the Prague uprising. The following day, the Soviets launched the Prague Offensive. In Dresden, Gauleiter Martin Mutschmann let it be known that a large-scale German offensive on the Eastern Front was about to be launched. Within two days, Mutschmann abandoned the city and was captured by Soviet troops while trying to escape.
Hermann Göring’s surrender: On 6 May, Nazi leader and Hitler’s second-in-command Hermann Göring surrendered to General Spaatz who was the commander of the operational United States Air Forces in Europe, along with his wife and daughter at the Germany-Austria borders. He was by this time the most powerful Nazi official who was alive.
German forces in Breslau surrender: At 18:00 on 6 May, General Hermann Niehoff the commandant of Breslau, a fortress city surrounded and besieged for months, surrendered to the Soviets.
German forces on the Channel Islands surrender: At 10:00 on 8 May, the islanders were informed by the German authorities that the war was over. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a radio broadcast at 15:00 during which he announced: “Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, but in the interests of saving lives the ‘Cease fire’ began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.”
Jodl and Keitel surrender all German armed forces unconditionally: Thirty minutes after the fall of “Fortress Breslau” (Festung Breslau), General Alfred Jodl arrived in Reims and, following Dönitz’s instructions, offered to surrender all forces fighting the Western Allies. This was exactly the same negotiating position that von Friedeburg had initially made to Montgomery, and like Montgomery the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, threatened to break off all negotiations unless the Germans agreed to a complete unconditional surrender. Eisenhower explicitly told Jodl that he would order western lines closed to German soldiers, thus forcing them to surrender to the Soviets. Jodl sent a signal to Dönitz, who was in Flensburg, informing him of Eisenhower’s position. Shortly after midnight, Dönitz, accepting the inevitable, sent a signal to Jodl authorizing the complete and total surrender of all German forces.
At 02:41 on the morning of 7 May, at the SHAEF headquarters in Reims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies. General Franz Böhme announced the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway on 7 May, the same day as Jodl signed the unconditional surrender document. It included the phrase “All forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European Time on May 8, 1945.” The next day, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and other German OKW representatives traveled to Berlin, and shortly before midnight signed a similar document, explicitly surrendering to Soviet forces, in the presence of General Georgi Zhukov. The signing ceremony took place in a former German Army Engineering School in the Berlin district of Karlshorst which now houses the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst.
Victory in Europe: News of the imminent surrender broke in the West on 8 May, and celebrations erupted throughout Europe. In the U.S., Americans awoke to the news and declared 8 May V-E Day. As the Soviet Union was to the east of Germany it was 9 May Moscow Time when German military surrender became effective, which is why Russia and many other European countries east of Germany commemorate Victory Day on 9 May.