Eirik Labonne, born in Paris on and died on, was a French diplomat who began his career just before the First World War. Vichy Diplomatic Passport Labonne
Eirik Labonne notably held the following positions: Vichy Diplomatic Passport Labonne
- Secretary General of the French protectorate in Morocco from 1928 to 1932 (under the general residence Theodore Steeg, until January 1929, then Lucien Saint )
- Ambassador to the Spanish Republic, in Barcelona, during the Spanish Civil War, from October 1937 to November 1938
- Resident general in Tunisia from November 1938 to June 1940
- Ambassador to the USSR, in Moscow, during World War II, from June 12, 1940, to April 1941
- General resident in Morocco from March 2, 1946, to May 14, 1947
Mr. Labonne was a career diplomat who survived several French governments, including the pro‐Nazi Vichy regime in the early months of World War II. According to one report, after serving in a series of high diplomatic posts, in 1941 he commanded a detachment of the Foreign Legion that took an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler. The unit later joined the Germans fighting the Russians in Ukraine, although Mr. Labonne did not go with his troops. Vichy Diplomatic Passport Labonne
In 1937, he was appointed ambassador to Republican Spain after having been his Government’s representative in Mexico. He then served in Moscow, before he was recalled by the Vichy Government.
Both before and after the war, Mr. Labonne was France’s Resident-General in Morocco and Tunisia, when they were regarded as provinces. These were the last major diplomatic posts to which he was named. Vichy Diplomatic Passport Labonne
In 1949, he was named to the United Nations post of vice-chairman of the committee of economic studies for Palestine.
Vichy France is the common name of the French State (État français) headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Evacuated from Paris to Vichy in the unoccupied “Free Zone” in the southern part of Metropolitan France, (including French Algeria) it remained responsible for the civil administration of France as well as its colonies. At this time, most of Metropolitan France was under German occupation, as a part of the ”Occupied Zone”.
In 1940, Marshal Pétain was known as a First World War hero, the victor of the battle of Verdun. As the last premier of the Third Republic, being a reactionary by inclination, he blamed the Third Republic’s democracy for France’s sudden defeat by Germany. He set up a paternalistic, authoritarian regime that actively collaborated with Germany, Vichy’s official neutrality notwithstanding. The Vichy government cooperated with the Nazis’ racial policies.
After the National Assembly under the Third Republic voted to give full powers to Philippe Pétain on 10 July 1940, the name République Française (French Republic) disappeared from all official documents. From that point on, the regime was referred to officially as the État Français (French State). Because of its unique situation in the history of France, its contested legitimacy, and the generic nature of its official name, the “French State” is most often represented in English by the synonyms “Vichy France”, “Vichy regime”, “government of Vichy”, or in context, simply “Vichy”.
The territory under the control of the Vichy government was the unoccupied, southern portion of France south of the Line of Demarcation, as established by the Armistice of 22 June 1940, and the overseas French territories, such as French North Africa, which was “an integral part of Vichy”, and where all antisemitic Vichy’s laws were also implemented. This was called the Unbesetztes Gebiet (Unoccupied zone) by the Germans, and known as the Zone libre (Free Zone) in France, or less formally as the “southern zone” (zone du sud) especially after Operation Anton, the invasion of the Zone libre by German forces in November 1942.
FAQ Passport History
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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?
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 😉
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.
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