1934 Soviet passport
Issued for immigration to British Palestine.
The 19th Century saw an increase of Jewish immigration back to their biblical ancestral homeland (Land of Israel) in the Middle East.
For close to 4,000 years, Jewish presence has been maintained in that part of the world and throughout that time Jews living abroad have always yearned to return to the land of their forefathers, to the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Immigration to Palestine (the Roman occupational term given to the land that was taken from the ancient Israelite’s following the destruction of the Second Temple; the name that continued to be used up to the British occupation at the end of WWI which has no connection to modern time Arab Palestine) was not constant and it varied due to the “Political climate” that existed in the Middle East and in Europe at the time. In ancient times it was mainly for scholar or religious reasons that saw immigration to Palestine. The 15th Century saw another large wave of Jews; this was mainly after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of 1492 and Portugal 6 years later. The 18th & early 19th centuries saw thousands of Hassidic Jews flock to the Holy Land and also after religious persecution at the hands of their Christian neighbors. The 19th century saw the beginning of five major immigration waves know as “Aliyah” from 1882 to 1939:
- 1882-1903 First Aliyah;
- 1904-1914 Second Aliyah;
- 1919-1923 Third Aliyah;
- 1924-1929 Fourth Aliyah;
- 1929-1939 Fifth Aliyah;
1933 to 1948 saw the next and final stages of “Aliyah” or “Illegal Immigration”: the British started to implement quotas and restriction to Jews wanting to arrive to the Mandate and with the rise of Hitler to power in 1933, Jews increased their desire to make the promised land their home. As strong and fierce were the British restrictions, which also contributed immensely to the death of the Jews during the Holocaust, the same can be said about their determination to enter and find any way in, thus illegal attempts where made, mainly by sea. The term of HABRICHA (please see a previous article I wrote about the HABRICHA ) was given to the illegal and desperate methods the survivors of the Holocaust used in order to achieve this goal after the war. With the termination of the British occupation on May 14th 1948, Jews were finally allowed to fulfill their 2,000 year old dream of entering freely and without condition to their promised land of Israel. Today, Israel stands as a light, a beacon of democracy and equality were all races can live freely side by side. It is the only such state in a region engulfed in carnage and slaughter. None of the Muslim countries, including the Palestinian Authority, show such exemplary high western values.
The passport in this article is an example of a travel document that was used to travel to British Palestine during the period of the Fifth Aliyah.
Passport number 122086 was issued to Shrayer Yakov Peysalovich (Шраер Яков Пейсалович), aged 44, on September 25th 1934 at Moscow. It has the rubber-stamp signature of NKVD Chief Genrikh Yagoda (his ORIGINAL signature can be seen in a passport from 1922 ).
The passport was endorsed for immigration by the British Mission to the USSR on October 9th 1934, exiting via the port of Odessa on November 8th and arriving in Jaffa port on the 11th. The passport was extended several times up to 1938 in Istanbul, and since the document has no exit/entry markings from the Mandate, we can assume that the holder had applied for the British Palestinian passport which he then used to exit and enter on each trip to Turkey.
Among the rare passports that can be located today are those that were issued by the Soviet Union during the 1920’s and 1930’s, especially those issued for Jewish immigration to Palestine: The Communist authorities did not see kindly to the Zionist movement which they deemed as “counter revolutionary”.
I have added images of this rare Soviet passport.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.