19th Century Travels to Russia
WWI German Occupation Passes
Rare Yiddish Passport
Russia, Serbia, Germany, Lithuania, England, France, 1846-1969. Lot of 15 unique passports from various countries, featuring the occupied Baltics during the Great War, nineteenth century travellers to Russia, some notable names, and assorted matters of interest. Some were issued for one specific journey, others for longer term open travel, with examples concerning citizenship and immigrant travel. These documents vary greatly in format, including early and large single leaf printed declarations completed and signed in manuscript, to modern day wallet-sized hardcover portfolios. Together with a poem stamped by the British Passport Control office at Budapest, titled “A Morning in the Life of a Passport Control Officer.” Some creasing and age-toning, the earliest passport with professionally repaired folds, otherwise the lot in very good condition overall, and containing a few examples of certain specimens seldom procured today.
Unique design motifs, security elements, signatures and stamps, together these official and historical documents form a wide-reaching study of travel, including incidents of limitation on domestic movement, international travel freedom, and collaboration between nations for open borders. A fascinating collection touching upon a subject which is so prevalent on the minds of citizens all around the globe today.
The earliest examples, four from the nineteenth century, include a very specific courier passport dated 1846 relating to Portuguese government affairs, a well-known clergy and author who travelled on the continent for 10 years, going as far as Russia in 1875, and a British subject who travelled to Russia in 1897.
A “Passport de Courrier” issued 23 November 1846 in Paris, permitting a Portuguese courier who was carrying despatches to the Portuguese legation in Madrid, Spain, clear passage through France, specifically by way of Bordeaux and Bayonne. The holder’s name is Eduoard de Cabral, a Portuguese subject. Text is in French. The verso of the leaf bears several manuscript authorizations and stamps, enabling us to follow his journey from Paris 23 November to Bayonne 4 December, and arriving at Madrid on the 10th. The final entry on this passport is a stamp of the Legacâo de S.M. [Su Majestad] Fidelissima F.M. Madrid, annotated and signed by the Secretary of the Legation, Vasco Pinto de Bahemio. This passport has seen some professional repair at the folds and is delicately holding at others.
[Incidentally, this passport is quite contemporary to the passport issued to Washington Irving by Spanish officials in Madrid approximately 6 months earlier on August 6, 1846, when he had completed his term of service as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain, the document states being issued for his return to his home country. Irving left Spain much to the regret of the royal family and ministers on the eve of a violent uprising in the country.]
Also from the nineteenth century is a passport for Reverend and well-known author John Aldwell Nicholson (1830-1902), Rector of New Chapel and Prebendary in Cathedral of Cashel, valid also for his wife Caroline Editha (née Hunt 1846-1932), to travel the continent together, featuring numerous stamps and annotations from places visited, for example Sweden, Italy, and Russia. Issued in London, 10 August 1865, this official document features the stamped signature of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, who was serving his second term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and steel engraved armorial illustrations to header and footer. Mounted and folded into a leather passport holder made by W.J.Admas of Fleet Street, with a secure fold-over flap, embedded pencil holder and note paper which contains some Russian consular stamps and manuscript authorizations as well as Nicholson’s assorted notes. The bearer’s name is tooled in gilt.
A large single-leaf passport featuring 2 Russian stamps, issued in London on 18 August 1897 Alexander Kidd, a “British subject travelling on the continent” who went to Russia. A large textual ink stamp of the Imperial Russian General Consulate is signed and dated in the original by the General Consul. A blue stamp also in Russian text, with date inscribed in manuscript, was made in Kronstadt. This document features the stamped signature of Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and steel engraved armorial illustrations to header and footer. It is neatly folded into a purpose-made black leather pocket fold for the traveller’s convenience and to ensure preservation of the document.
We also find a German certificate of citizenship, “Heimatschein” [Homeland Certificate] issued 14 Mai 1856 to a person whose surname is Daitz, who had evidently arrived in Germany on 26 November 1834. The numbered document being #20 and the date is approaching mid-year, which suggests that not many of these were granted annually.
We also find two interesting WWI passports concerning German rule in the Baltics.
One exceedingly scarce domestic “Ober Ost” Yiddish passport issued at Wilkomierz [Ukmerge] in Lithuania 14 February 1917 for a man named Feines Kesnik, born in June 1870, living under German rule during the Great War. Text is in two languages: German (as the official language) and Yiddish, in Hebrew lettering (for the passport holder of Jewish nationality). The German eagle is prominent on the front, along with ‘PAS’ in both Hebrew and German letters. This is an internal (domestic) passport issued by German authorities, complete with his photograph and finger print. The bylaws of the German government appear in Yiddish. Punishments range from five to ten years for a person found without a passport, or carrying a forged passport. There were also penalties for anyone who did not announce the loss of their passport within 24 hours. Issued by the German military during WWI occupation of Lithuania, at that time being part of the Russian Empire, this example features the ephemeral stamps of the “Verwaltungsgebiet Litauen” [Lithuania administrative region] and “Vilkmerges Karo Kommandantur” [Wilkomierz Military Command].
The Yiddish passports are exceedingly scare as most of the Jewish population had been exiled some time earlier. Also, immediately after Germany withdrew from the area in 1919, all the passports that could be obtained, were destroyed. In May 1915, During World War I, the Russian authorities expelled most the Jews living in Lithuania. A large number of them were exiled into Russia while others found a refuge in Vilna and its vicinity. Vilkomir [Ukmerge] was taken by the Germans, and the remaining Jews from the region congregated there. The German Ober Ost passport was issued in 1917-1918 by the German occupation authorities for those people who spent the war years in Lithuania.
One rare Latvian passport (Armeepass) issued at Riga 7 February 1918 for a Jewish woman named Chaja Kurschan, gb (née) Lemmer, born in Schaulen [Siauliai], 22 October 1860, living under German rule during the Great War. There are two ration stamps made to rear of the passport, one “Brotkarte” alloting her a bread card and one “Karten-Ausgabe” confirming that the ration was provided. The front cover of the passport requires the person’s “Abstammung” [Ancestry], in this case indicated as “Jüdishch” [Jewish]. Her “muttersprache” [mother tongue] is also jidd. Her “beruf” or occupation is entered as “ehefrau” [wife].
This is an internal (domestic) passport issued by German authorities, complete with her photograph and finger print. Text is in two languages: German (as the official language) and Latvian (for the passport holder). Stamped at Riga during the short period of German rule of the Baltic regions under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. As indicated on the second page of the passport, as a resident of Siauliai, her rights were governed by the Kovno administration, which at that time was a part of the Czarist Russia occupied by the Germans (Kovno is now Kaunas, Lithuania). The bylaws of the German government are printed in both German and Latvian. The regulations list punishments ranging from five to ten years for a person who is found without a passport, or carrying a forged passport. There were also penalties for anyone who did not announce the loss of their passport within 24 hours.
The lot continues yielding variety, largely centered around travel to Eastern European nations and Russia. Following is a summary in chronological order:
A Russian passport, in Cyrillic script, seemingly issued at Bessarabia, on 24 April of 1902 or 1903, featuring several travel stamps, the earliest one being that of the Kiev City Police, dated 1903. Entries continue until 1920. The passport holder was born in 1877, and may have been a member of clergy. Page 9 contains a lengthy manuscript entry signed in manuscript and ratified with a Roman Catholic ink stamp “kiiovensis ecclesiae”. Blue cloth covers detached at spine.
[The issuing of this passport is contemporary to the horrendous anti-Jewish “Kishinev pogrom”, a barbaric 2-day massacre during which nearly 50 Jews were killed, 92 were severely wounded and 500 were slightly injured, 700 houses destroyed, and 600 stores were pillaged. It took place on April 19/21 [O.S. April 6/8] 1903 in Kishinev (modern Chisinau in Moldova), then the capital of the Bessarabia Governorate of the Russian Empire.]
A lovely foldout British passport issued by the General Consul at Paris 14 April 1920, for a female named Bessie Robinson. This passport was renewed after 2 years, and 2 young children added to the same passport in 1923. Renewals continued to validate until 1930. Two (2) and five (5) shilling consular stamps confirm each transaction. This is a heavy cardstock leaf folding neatly into blue passport portfolio boards with armorial gilt motif to front.
French passport dated 23 December 1921, given to a merchant born at Bagdag, and then resident of Bombay, Richard Jacob Cessy, issued at London and valid only for one single return trip to France.
A Serbian “Emigrant’s Travel Document”, with text in French also, “passport d’émigrant” [Immigrant Passport], issued at Batchka à Sombor [Sombor in Backa], 5 March 1928, one year before the region would be incorporated into the province of Danube Banovina. A multi-page booklet style passport with red paper boards, armorial motif to front, with the bearer’s information completed in manuscript, and featuring his photograph. The recipient of this passport is a Friedrich Hetzel, born in, and then still a resident of Sove [Söve], in Balikesir, Turkey. He was in Germany March 1928, specifically in Bremen on 7.4.1928 and also in Belgrade, Serbia, the same year. Page 8 features an entry suggesting he required permission for a “voyage en carriage’ for part of his journey. Stamps indicate that he was ultimately headed for Canada on 5 April 1928, and arrived at Halifax on the 17th.
“Deutsches Reich Fremdenpass / Fremdenpass Passeport pour Étrangers” [German Reich Foreigners passport], with text in German and French, featuring many travel stamps. The passport holder is Fritz Gottlieb whose nationality is indicated as “Staatlos ohne Berut” [stateless, Beirut]. Issued at Berlin, valid one year from 18 December 1934, and renewed for another year, with this passport, Gottlieb travelled to the Republic of Czechoslovakia as we see stamps from August and Stamped 13 Zari (September) 1934. This was during the nation’s independent period from 1918-1938. He visited Hungary in the same month, which is memorialized with several lovely consular stamps reading “Magyar Királyság” [Kingdom of Hungary]. He also travelled to Dubrovnic, Croatia, in 1934, Spain and Portugal in 1935. The passport was renewed in 1936, and certain entries suggests that this man settled in Lisbon. A pleasure trip to France, of only 10 days, was approved later in 1955, noting that work was not permitted abroad.
A simple cardstock passport, in Russian and German, issued 23 December 1947 at Markneukirchen in Saxony for a female, Elsbeth Wilke (née Dölling), born in 1920. With stamps of the policing body of Oelsnitz, the city some twenty minutes away.
A 1956 German passport, in green boards, given to a Gunter Hermann Erich Stolle who was born in Berlin in 1925.
A 2-year German passport issued 1985 for an Elise Andretzky born in 1912, aged 73 and evidently still desirous of travel.
A German passport issued 1969 to a Luise Petzet born in 1907.