First liberation documentation - Our Passports
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  • 1945 Austrian liberation ID's & travel documents
  • 1945 Austrian liberation ID's & travel documents
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First liberation documentation

 

Austrian first attempts of issuing ID’s & travel documents.

 

Austria was under German occupation from March 1938 to April 1945.

 

The German take-over of the small country is termed as the Anschluss, and once under Nazi control, the Jews suffered the worst vile anti-Semitism since Hitler came to power 5 years earlier: Even in Germany itself the local Jewish population did not suffer such hardships or violent treatment in such a concentrated manner: What was implemented in Germany gradually over a period of years was enforced suddenly, with brute violent force all at once. What was a peaceful and calm joint coexistence of life came to a sudden end and a rude awakening days after the takeover.

 

Nazi rule lasted for a period of 7 years and was deemed as one of Nazi Germany’s first victims of aggression in 1943 at the Moscow Declaration. The Soviet forces, the 3rd Ukrainian Front, crossed the old Austrian borders on March 29th 1945 and then came the Vienna Offensive which lasted from April 2nd to the 13th. During those 10 days the city was under siege until its full capture (the 6th SS Panzer Army lead by Sepp Dietrich was tasked with trying to halt the Soviet advance and was launched in Hungary, and this offensive, seen as Germany’s last in the war was called Operation Spring Awakening, and it took place between March 6th to the 16th). By April 15th the Soviet troops already began pushing deeper into the country.

 

After the war, like Germany, Austria was also divided into four occupational zones: American, British, French & Soviet with Vienna, as Berlin was, being divided as well and controlled by the Allied Control Council (in a previous article I added images of a passport used by a member serving in the Allied control of the country). The Austrian allied occupation lasted from 1945 to 1955.

 

The document in this article is of liberated Austria’s first attempts to issue identity cards for their citizens abroad, issued by their diplomatic “legation” or office in Rome, Italy, in 1945.

 

Identity-Card number 653 was issued by the “Austrian Office in Rome” to a Jewish doctor, a refugee, named Ernst Herz on November 23rd 1945 and who was residing inside a refugee camp, which was formerly an Italian fascist concentration camp of Ferramonti di Tarsia (see added image).

 

I have added images of the holders set of documents issued towards the end of the war and after liberation.

 

 

Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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