Beautiful collective-passport - Our Passports
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Beautiful collective-passport


Issued in 1923 for travelling from Poland to Hungary.


Here is a lovely passport that is not possible to see today.


Collective passports were issued in a time where passport security, forgeries and issuing was not as well supervised as they are today.


Such travel documents were made possible due to certain circumstances at the time, such as a group of individuals who were all travelling together and that due to specific time restraints or political conditions did not have the luxury of issuing a passport for each individual in the group.


We normally would find such passports being issued around WWI and also during and after WW2. When a group of refugees that needed to be evacuated quickly away from harm’s way into safety; some examples include Jews escaping the Pogroms of Eastern Europe towards the end of the first Great War, during the Bolshevik Revolution, or such refugees leaving Germany in the 1920’s for the United States. One example that can be used in the article here relates to the period after the Germans occupied Austria in 1938, were the Central Agency for Jewish Emigration in Vienna issued collective passport for a group of 1,000 Jews who planned to immigrate; the passport was issued at the end of 1939 with a visa for Slovakia (they were not lucky to escape out of Europe, eventually being captured by the Germans when they invaded Yugoslavia a year later) –  this account was documented in the memoirs written by Ehud Avrielwho at the time was active in the attempts of rescuing Jews from Nazi occupied Germany, in his 1976 autobiography.


During the period between the two world wars groups of workers traveled between the countries in the continent as well (we can find collective passports for Polish workers going to work in France). Also groups attending sporting completions would also be allocated such collective passports (see added sample images).


Passport number 9532/18951/23 was issued to head of group Zdzislaw Ziolkowsi at Warsaw on July 2nd 1923. The passport is indicated as being a collective passport by the hand annotation at the top-right section of the title page (zbiorowy). The document has a large folding added sheet which included the photographs of 30 (!) additional individuals travelling all together. Their average age is around 16, so we can assume that they were high school students.


Inside we can find a Czechoslovakian transit visa that was issued at Warsaw together with a Hungarian visa as well, for their country of destination. They exited Poland on July 5th and returned back on the 29th. Their entry and exit point to and from Poland into Czechoslovakia was at Orlov (the Polish side was the small border town of Muszyna).


I have added images of this beautiful pre-war collective passport.



Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
  • Bob Terry

    It’s very hard to find these early Polish passports in good condition. Lovely document!

    January 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

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