Visit to the Political Archive of the German Foreign Office in Berlin

On Oct 4th, 2011 I met up with Dr.Keiper who prepared many great examples for inspection. Just recently the archive got some binders from the German Diplomatic Archive in Mexico back to Berlin (see inventory list, impressive 13 Nassau (Germany) passports are included). Dr.Keiper was very supportive in my research and he was also interested to hear more about the passport collector’s community and how we collectors get in possession of such documents. I briefly explained to him…

The archive was well prepared and presented to me the following…

  • The recently acquired Mexican archive with documents from 1822-1862
  • The personnel file of Friedrich Lindemann – I do own his Ministerialpass (Diplomatic Passport)
  • Two binders about “Issuing of passports”
  • Two binders with passport examples (incl. Binder Solf)

I am glad that I got the permission to made pictures of several passports and related documents. Prussian Passports are in general nothing special as you still can find them often but the Mexican file had some nice examples which you do not see that often at as they were issued for traveling to Mexico or USA.

The thirteen presented Duchy of Nassau passports is almost in order to the issued numbers of the passport register. All are in excellent condition.

Some treasures are Anhalt-Dessau 1852, passport of the Danish Consul General in Hamburg 1850, Police passport Hamburg 1849 for a hat maker from Berlin to travel to Havre de Grace via Paris. Heimatschein Baden 1838, Heimatschein Hessen 1845,

Several Mexican passports issued in New York on blue paper instead of white paper.

Another file presented to me was Asservat No.328 which includes several German documents of Dr. Wilhelm Solf, State Secretary in the Imperial Colonial Office e.g. going to East Africa in 1917. Dr. Solf heads the office from 20 Dec 1911 to 4 Oct 1918.

A quite rare document is the “Grenzempfehlung No. 911″ for Friedrich Franz Grossherzog of Mecklenburg” in companion of his wife and son going to Haag issued by the German Foreign Office in Berlin on 31 Dec 1936.

Ministerialpass (Diplomatic passport) No.2396, 8 May 1920 for the wife of German Geschäftstrāger (Ambassador) for Japan, Dr.Solf. There are several Diplomatic passports for Solf. But these types of documents are quite various. Grenzempfehlung, Kurierausweis, Passierschein, Geleitschein…

The passport of ERICH LUDENDORFF, General of Infantry and deputy of PAUL VON HINDENBURG issued by the German Gesandtschaft (Embassy) 7 Jan 1919 in Stockholm was another document I hold in my hands. Further documents are seen: e.g. Certificate of appointment for some diplomats signed by e.g. A.H., another by Ribbentrop…

5 Oct 2011

Prepared was 2 personal files of Gustav Lindemann
The documents are:

  • Personal questionnaire sheet
  • Salary slip (example)
    (Lindemann’s annual salary in 1921 was 31459 RM in the position as Ministerialamtsmann), Basic salary 11800 RM, Local allowance 4500 RM, Cost-of-Living Bonus 15159 RM.

According to the files, his salary rose just one year later in 1922 to 64260 RM which more than double compared to the previous year. This because of the high inflation at that time I guess.

Salary in 1929 – 775 RM/month or 9300 RM/annually. There is a letter of Lindemann requesting emergency aid because of his serious illness for 5 weeks. The bill was 512RM which was almost one monthly salary. Additionally, it was planned that he will go on recovery for 4 weeks at a cost of min. 500 RM. His request was granted by the Foreign Office and he received a down payment of 300 RM and later again 200 RM for his medicine and doctors bill. Also, he went to the earlier planned recovery.

On 3 June 1936 Lindemann passed away. His widow will get a monthly pension of 275,92 RM. Later on, she claimed to the foreign office that the June 1936 salary was only partly sold out and she was requesting the rest in 2 other letters. Letters signed then with “Heil Hitler”. In August 1936 her request was granted.

Binder “Issuing of passports”

It seems at the beginning of 1923 Germany was stricter in issuing visas for foreigners. Several verbal notes of different foreign embassies can be found especially from USA and UK claiming the procedure. Regarding issuing of Service Passports: there is a written note from State Secretary Maltzan from 15 Mar 1924 that this type of passports is issued only from the local police departments and not from the foreign office. All Service Passports I have seen personally so far were issued by the local police.

Wondering why this exception?

According to a general decree from 5 Aug 1924, it is not allowed to use Family Passports for single individual trips of only one person.

Stay tuned and curious! This was just the introduction. More will come…