Why collect old passports? And what can we learn from them? - Our Passports
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  • Why collect old passports? And what can we learn from them?

Why collect old passports? And what can we learn from them?

Have been interested in old travel documents and passports for over 10 years and have been focused on collecting items stemming from the era of World War Two and the Holocaust, used to escape German and Italian occupation. These are the most fascinating, in my point of view, of samples one can put ones hands on, because they are normally issued under extreme conditions and one can locate not only the rare and unique permit or visa used for traveling but also the route and amazing and unbelievable story that can be found hidden among the pages inside a passport or travel document.


The examples issued and used in Nazi Germany and occupied Poland are among the rarest and important, because they shed light to those in hiding and eventually emerging into the open with nothing but their cloths on their backs and a piece of paper, clutched firmly in their hands, the only true item of value left in possession, hoping, fighting against all the odds, perils and harm outside to try and find refuge and reach the free world.


The visas, exit markings, odd border-post applied stamp or signature paints the route that an individual or his family had to take and use in order to escape; sometimes doing so at night, in the dark and sometimes in broad daylight, with all eyes on you. I can state that the odd and isolated border-stamp sheds more information than other additions found inside the pages of the document. It is sometimes the smallest of markings inside the passport that opens to us, years and years later, then true events that led someone to his freedom…


Today 70 years after those horrific events of World War Two, the survivors and veterans are disappearing, vanishing, themselves becoming history and finally rejoining their loved ones they had left behind so many years ago. It is because of this reason that I started to collecting and research old passports and travel documents. Sometimes the only remaining testimony left from those dark days…



Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.



Neil Kaplan
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