1940 life-saving Italian visa
Issued for Lodz Ghetto resident
Much has been written about the courageous diplomats that during World War Two saved thousands of Jewish lives by issuing them life-saving visas. The list of these fantastic individuals is getting longer and longer and we are discovering more and more about those who risked their careers and even lives in doing the right and honorable thing.
One such individual, who issued a life-saving visa (and this is the first known case that can be attributed to this diplomat) was named Busi Gino. Here are some brief facts about him and his career:
- Born in December 22nd 1886 in Rome;
- 1909 obtained a law degree from the Royal university of Rome;
- 1928 first diplomatic appointment as consul 1st class;
- 1930-1932 appointment to Venezuela, Caracas;
- 1932-1933 Consul 2nd class, transferred to Belgium, Liege,
- 1933-1936 returns to Italy for service at the Foreign Ministry;
- 1940-1941 sent to Graz, “Greater Germany”;
- 1942 returns back to service at the Foreign Ministry;
- 1946 serves as consul general 2nd class in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (ADDED SAMPLE IMAGE);
- 1949 sent to France, Marseille;
- 1951 retired from official service as consul general 2nd class.
One very important note has to be added here relating to his service as a diplomat: he was graded consul 1st class on November of 1939 and the same year was sent to his war time posting to occupied Poland, to the General Government, as consul to the Italian mission in Katowice. It is at this location that he did the heroic deed of issuing the very important Life-Saving visa.
The visa was issued to the wife of the well-known Jewish Rabbi of Lodz city, who was a doctor as well,
Markus Braude (attended the First Zionist congress at Basel in 1897 together with Theodor Herzl, and also others that would follow, for example, the 1933 Zionist congress in Czechoslovakia where his wife used her passport here, together with him, to attend). Passport used briefly by Natalia Braude from 1932 to July of 1933. She was the sister of the famed Jewish intellectual and writer Martin Buber.
One of the shocking events of the outbreak of World War Two that stunned the Braude’s and possibly signaled to them that is was time to flee their beloved Poland, also fearing arrest by the Gestapo since Markus was a well-known public figure and politician, was the destruction and burning down of his Lodz synagogue on November 14th 1939.
They both managed to apply for the now would-be-impossible exit visa from the German police authorities at the city: first application was on November 14th, bearing the early and short-lived 2-3 month city name of Lodsch (honoring of World War One German general Karl Litzmanstadt). The city would have its name changed to Litzmanstadt, and the ghetto which was already being formed, would be known as the Litzmanstadt Ghetto or Lodz Ghetto. Second exit visa application was obtained on March 27th of 1940 at the “capital” of the General Government – Krakau: the same date that the passport validity was extended on page 5, as if being done by the local “Polish” authorities themselves. Such an extension is unheard of and not seen before in pre-war passports, since the Germans themselves did not recognize the validly of other Polish documents issued before the war and had began issuing themselves replacement documents, such as local identity papers and more.
The life-saving visa by diplomat Busi Gino was issued at Katowice on April 10th. The two left occupied Poland via Trzebinia, a small Polish town, on April 14th, then transiting through Lundenburg, formerly Czechoslovakia on the 15th, and finally entering Italy via the German border crossing at Arnoldstein on April 15th.
What makes this a very significant important Holocaust related document is the fact that exit visas were issued at a location during the formation of a Jewish Ghetto in occupied Poland. In all my years of searching for WW2 related travel documents I have never ever come across such a sample. It is a fascinating reminder of what people had to endure in order to survive.
We are truly thankful for this courageous diplomat for doing the right and honorable thing.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.