Another WW2 Service passport
Issued to an official from the Romanian Air Ministry for service in Germany.
The item here is an interesting and a rarity when it comes to passport collecting.
Special passport issued in Bucharest on April 14th 1942 to engineer Teodor Aurel Meltzer who was an official for the undersecretary of the Air Ministry.
Special passport No. 506 was issued for the specific purpose of serving in Nazi Germany, most likely with connection to cooperation with the Luftwaffe. What makes it even more unique is that it was hand signed personally by then acting foreign minster, the notorious Romanian minister Mihai Antonescu.
Some points regarding this individual:
- Born November 18th 1904 – June 1st 1946 (executed);
- Studied law at the University of Bucharest for 4 year (1922-1926);
- Nominated to Propaganda Minister in 1940 to Ion Antonescu’s government;
- From 1941 would enforce anti-Semitic decrees and actions against the county’s Jewish citizens,
- Removed from office on August 23rd 1944;
- Executed for war crimes on June 1st
His anti-Jewish actions were rather blatant and extreme, such as preventing immigration and legislating anti-Jewish laws; he was also much in control of the domestic affairs of the country and his actions are seen as trying to get closer to Germany, its ally, on the expense of Romania’s Jewish population.
1942 was a the year for which he realized the dire position his country was in due to the setbacks and loses the axis began to suffer, be it in North Africa or the Eastern Front. He would then try to change this by finding ways to remove Romania from the war and once the Soviets won the Battle of Stalingrad on February 2nd 1943, it has become clear that the Axis would lose to the Allies. From then onward he would try to move closer to the United States and Great Britain. He would dismiss and cancel all the anti-Jewish laws and decrees passed earlier on during the war and permit the immigration of Jews to neutral or allied countries, such as British Palestine (1943 and 1944 saw Romanian Jews immigration to the colony), a move he prevented a short time earlier. Now it was a race against time to try and change the tide and put the country on the winning side. He even went as far as to try and negotiate with Italy’s Mussolini in changing sides, but with no luck. It was also too late by then. Antonescu’s fascist pro-German government was dismissed by King Michael on August 23rd, as the Red Army was nearing the country, and eventually he was handed over to the communist forces, put on trial, and after conviction of war crimes, shot by a firing squad on June 1st 1946 near the fort of Jilava.
The passport was extensively used to travel back and forth from Bucharest to Germany, with the holder being accompanied by his wife, who was issued a separate regular passport.
Inside we can find service visas being issued by Germany, Romania & Hungary.
Teodor left Germany back to his home country, for the last time during the war, on April 20th 1943, exiting via the old pre-war Polish-Romanian border control point of Sniatyn, now under German control and marked as “Grenzpolizeiposten Sniatyn“. He entered back into Germany via the same border crossing on May 6th, exiting from the Romanian side at Gr.Ghica Voda.
Paging through the passport we can learn that he and his wife remained for nearly 2 more years in Germany until they were most likely evacuated by air among a group of evacuees to Rome, Italy, in early 1945, after it had already been liberated by the allies. Their last registered annotation inside the document for residing in the country was for mid January 1945, when they were living in Königsberg (page 15 indicates the date for the 12th), arriving there around March or April the previous year. The Luftwaffe had a strong aerial command in the region, about 3 airfields in the vicinity of the city, which was used also for its aerial combat in the eastern front, fighting the Red Army and providing support for the ground troops. Axis planes also were used and stationed throughout the war in various German airfields, all contributing to the war effort.
By July 5th 1945 the couple was already in Rome, where the passport was amended by the Royal Romanian Legation in Italy and the Romanian community center (pages 8 & 40). After several months in the liberated Mediterranean country, he was most likely deported back to Romania around the middle of November, entering the country at Constantia on the 21st. (We can assume he was deported with a group of official Romanian nationals because in a similar service passport, issued to a war correspondent stationed in Germany during the war and ended up in Italy later on, the dates of departure & arrival in Romania are all identical).
I have added sample images of this WW2 passport (last image is of the wife’s passport).
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.