First Post-war Polish passport – 1945
Short-lived issue from the second half of the year.
One of my strongest passions is to early Polish passports, those issued during the 2nd Republic and up to the first years following the end of World War Two.
Mainly focus on the early years, 1919 to 1922; those issued and used during the war, in the years 1939 to 1945 and the first years after the war from 1945 to 1951.
The history of the Polish passports can be divided into “stages” or periods of time that specific types where used at: during the first years of the republic we can find samples printed on simple paper, low quality printed passports, that began to appear around 1920 and continued to be used until 1929:
- Drukarnia Panstwowa No 10076. 7-VI. 100000 (circa 1920)
- Drukarnia Panstwowa Nr. 47438. 24.VIII.29
- Drukarnia Panstwowa Nr.48457. 23.XI.29 140,000
The first two are considered as the first stage of the printing of proper passports: 1920 to 1929. The 3rd is the appearance of the “Second Edition” of the Polish passports, those printed on good quality water-marked thicker paper, and those where printed towards the end of 1929. From then on until the end of the war, around the first half of 1945, the ONLY passports officially issued, either by the local authorities inside the country or diplomatic missions abroad, where the blue-jacket golden eagle issues. Interesting note that has to be added here is that from 1929 to 1939 those passports where printed in Poland, and from the end of that year, the French began to print them in Paris, then after the fall of France, the British took over the printing (during the war years other local printings where done inside and outside Europe, but that I shall leave for another article later on).
- Imprimerie Nationale. – J. 486 – 39
- Imprimerie Nationale. – J. 309 – 40
- William Clowes & Sons., Ltd., London and Beccles 25.xi.40
- William Clowes & Sons., Ltd., London and Beccles 14.1.42
- Légation de Pologne a Berne (date unknown)
The images here are for the first post-war Polish passport, issued by the Communists controlling the country which began in the eastern sections already in 1944, known as the Polish Committee of National Liberation. This temporary puppet government was replaced shortly later by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland (December 31st). From this period of time until 1952 Poland was simply named The Republic of Poland and from that year until 1989 the country was known as The People’s Republic of Poland.
Most post-war passports that are found today are the black-clothed passports that can be dated to the first half of 1946 only. For a long period of time I was searching for these passports, for those issued after July of 1945, the same time that countries withdrew their recognition of the Government in Exile (France being the first on June 29th, followed by the United Sates and the UK on July), but there was a problem: I could not understand why no early post-war passports could be found.
Finally, last year a 1945 late issue surfaced, and the design and color was completely different to the 1946 issued passports: simple cardboard covers, very poor quality paper, and similar to the war-time issued passports (yellow imprint on all pages, same style printed during the war in Berne, Switzerland) but with some “minor” changes as well, such as the lacking of the crown on top of the eagle and the issuing body was not the ministry of interior, as was the case in all passports issued up to and during the war, but the ministry of foreign affairs (this is HAND CORRECTED on the passport title page itself!). See images of both the Berne war-time passport and a 1946 Polish passport, final adopted post-war version.
The passport, with the relatively low SN 1692, for immigration purposes only, was issued to an elderly Jewish woman named Roza Reisberg who got her passport on December 14th at Warsaw. The passport was issued by well-known Polish official Mieczyslaw Rogalski, who was director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1944 to 1946, and until 1948 senior diplomat in Norway. He served other important high ranking positions in the early years of the People’s Republic of Poland.
Enjoy the images of this rare passport. To date only this sample has been found.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.