German issued foreigner-passports - Our Passports
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German issued foreigner-passports


Fremdenpass issued by Nazi Germany.


These sorts of travel documents were issued to those residing in Germany, and though they were living legally with the proper documentation they were not citizens of the country. At some point in time, be it for travel or emigration, they decided to apply for travel documents. The authorities issued them papers for non-Germans who wanted to travel abroad.


Pre-1933 Germany housed thousands of non-Germans that found refugee and a safe haven in the country. A large portion of those where of Russian decent, those fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the civil war that followed shortly afterwards, the fighting between the “Reds and the Whites”. Many of those fleeing where Jews, that once again, were caught in the middle and seen as the “cause” of the current unrest. Sadly, history tends to repeat itself and in every major conflict or struggle in Europe’s past, it was the Jewish minority that also took the brunt of the blame and persecution.


Following the end of WWI and the international refugee conferences that followed, many found a home in the west, in Germany. Their origin was a mix: Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian and more. They lived a relatively in calm and had a safe and quite life up to 1933, up to the rise of the NSDAP party to power in Berlin.


As in the 1920’s, the authorities continued to issue documentation for those living inside the country’s borders. The issued travel document was not the official Reisepass (passport), which was issued to the citizens themselves, but a Fremdenpass (Foreigners passport). These documents came out in various “editions” and form during pre-war Germany and also during the war itself, following the influx of foreign workers/Forced labour that were “imported” into the country to assist in the war-effort, with many being brought from the east and called Ostarbeiter. These foreigner passports were also seen as a means of identification that had to be carried by the individual. Inside was affixed the residence-permit as well (majority did not have any exit or entry visas inside). In most samples found, the nationality clause inside the passport is indicated as “STATELESS”, mainly for those coming from the east, and nationality indicated inside for those coming from France, for example, or Italy after 1943 (additional nationalities inside can be found for those of Danish, Belgium or even Dutch origin).


During the war the authorities issued foreigner passports to nationals of the following countries:


  • Poland;
  • Western Europe: Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France;
  • Yugoslavia;
  • Soviet Union;
  • Italy;


The article here will depict a very unusual sample that was issued NOT in Germany itself but in occupied Poland, in the General Government.


Fremdenpass number 655/43 was issued to Lubow Szczeglow-Babijanz in Krakau on August 18th 1943. The travel document in this article is extra special because of it being issued by the SS Higher authority and Sicherheitsdienst in the capital of the General Government of occupied Poland and also bearing their foreign departments STATELESS stamp of validation on page 7 – a first time that I have seen such an applied stamp inside a passport. The extra additional surprise was the Lemberg revenue stamp for the amount of 6 Zloty that was glued to the inner jacket of the passport next to the title page (though it is more common to see the German police revenue stamps inside).


Though the condition of this sample is poor, still, I thought it was an interesting enough document to share it here with you.

I have also added images of a transport ausweis that enabled the foreign worker to be sent to Germany. It was at a later stage that he/she was given the foreigners passport.





Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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