German national status in China after WW2
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  • German passport issued in China WW2
  • German passport issued in China WW2
  • German passport issued in China WW2
  • German passport issued in China WW2

German national status in China after WW2


German Affairs Commission in Shanghai.



The German’s status situation in China after World War Two was not a simple clean cut case. During the final and decisive year of 1945, there were two periods of time that effected the status of the German nationals, followed by the Austrians, living in China. Those living under Japanese controlled and those in ‘liberated’ Chinese areas: the former were treated as allies and spared incarceration (excepting those of Jewish origin who were placed inside the “Shanghai Ghetto” in the years 1943-1945) while the latter were interned as enemy aliens (A point needs to be added here, is that according to a German official decree from November 1941, it denationalized all German Jews outside the Reich territory, thus leaving the Jews in Shanghai, or all of China, stateless and most of them surrendered their official passports, which they used to leave and arrive in Shanghai, for example, to the nearest German consulate).



Germany established diplomatic ties in China prior to the second and first world wars and also had international enclaves in Chinese coastal cities, for example, such as Tianjin, Shanghai, and Qingdao. The diplomatic missions in those cities even issued special identity cards for those nationals residing and working there. Their passports, mainly those issued in China, had a “Chinese title page” placed onto the inner front jacket, side by side with the official first page of the passport. This was done so for making it easier for the local authorities when inspecting the documents. And at a later stage, during the war years, even the Japanese applied by hand a rubber stamp indicating that the holder was a German national (affixed onto the first page).



After Japan surrendered, towards the end of the year, the Chinese authorities began to draft regulations regarding the status and treatment of Germans in China, for example, one that appeared on November 27th: “…Regulations for the treatment of German residents promulgated by instructions No.26392 Char “Ping Loh…”: German citizens in recovered and free China shall be treated in accordance with Chinese law in case they committed one of the following offenses: (a) being suspected as spy or acting as such. (b) Attempting to collaborate with Japanese forces or actually collaborating with them. It also states that all Germans, Austrians and those of Jewish origin who have not committed the above mentioned offenses will be repatriated unless the relevant ministries in China allow them to continue staying in the country. This is one such example of the treatment that was being given.



The images that I have sampled here for you are dating from 1946 and their origin are of importance to all who are interested in collecting and researching the status of German World War Two related issued & used passports.



They are of simple text:












Date: ……………….





After some research and enquiries, the possible explanation for this added stamp, normally found at the end of the passport or the last used page inside the passport, is as following (sent to me from Germany):


“After the end of World War II in September 1945, the Chinese government sought to resolve the status of Axis citizens living in China. After Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945, Chinese authorities simply repatriated Japanese citizens. At the same time, in October 1945, the Chinese government established a German Affairs Commission to deal with the status of Germans, Austrians, and Jews of former German and Austrian citizenship living in China. The Commission decided that the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Ministry of the Interior would have to give explicit approval to allow these foreign nationals to stay in China. To gain this approval, the immigrants needed to present certificates of employment, prove that they were not affiliated with the Nazi Party and its formations or with the German government, and apply to municipal governments for an extended residence permit. Those who could not provide this documentation would be repatriated or kept “under the protection” of the local government. In October 1945, the Chinese government incarcerated all German citizens whom it identified as having worked for or been active in support of the Nazi regime. In December 1945, the Chinese authorities required all Germans, Austrians, and Jews of former German and Austrian citizenship to register with the German Affairs Commission, regardless of political or citizenship status. The samples here show that the passport holders apparently registered eight months after the first call to register.”


Hope you enjoy the images.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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