Issued for serving in Berlin
1945 official passport from Yugoslavia.
The once powerful Reich with its heart at Berlin was now a smoldering city, wrecked by months of aerial bombings and the devastating Soviet assault on the city that commenced on April of 1945.
By early 1945 the Red Army had already penetrated the German Reich, advancing from the east through Prussia, liberating in its path forward many occupied towns and villages and thrusting itself into enemy territory as well. This part of the war is known as the East Prussian Offensive, which began on January 13th and lasted until April 25th, though some German units continued to resist until the official surrender in May. They all knew very well what was awaiting them, the fearful revenge of the Russian army and its people following years of German oppression and terror, highlighted with the brutal extermination of its Jewish citizens from 1941. The Soviets crushed and broke the German central army during its infamous offensive against it in mid 1944, Operation Bagration, which literally cleared the path for Berlin from most German forces during the period of fighting lasting from June 22nd to August 19th. From then on wards there was no serious opposition to their push westwards, culminating with its forces reaching Berlin on its final strategic offensive know as the Battle of Berlin, lasting from April 16th to May 2nd. By this date Adolf Hitler was already dead, his bunker, the last remnant of the Thousand Year Reich, was overrun and the capital was literally occupied, though sporadic fighting did exists throughout the country and other sections of Europe. Full surrender was accomplished 6-7 days later.
Following the defeat and full occupation of Nazi Germany allied forces and administrative bodies began to pour into the city and establish themselves at the former capital of Berlin. Armies and their staff from former occupied nations as well opened their HQ or liaison offices, such as from Holland, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia and even Yugoslavia, which by then was Communist Yugoslavia, known as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, run by Josip Broz Tito who was elected as its firth post-war prime minster in late 1945, authorized by the exiled King of Yugoslavia King Peter II of Yugoslavia (on June 17th 1944 the Yugoslavian sides met on the Island of Vis, Josip Tito representing the Communist forces and the exiled government’s prime minister Ivan Šubašić, reaching an agreement of a joint Yugoslavian coalition with the King in exile, as mentioned above, recognizing the forces and political status of the Communist headed by Tito. His acceptance of transferring authority to the latter around November of 1945 signaled his actual abdication and the handing over of the country to become the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which officially came to effect following the November 29th Regency Council accepting the Prime Ministers nomination.
Following the Axis occupation of the country in 1941, two years later the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia, or as it was known and termed back then as AVNOJ, was the overall committee and political structure for all the national liberation councils that resisted the occupation and mainly the Germans. Eventually during the war it became the county’s provisional deliberative assembly and in 1943 the formation of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (DFY) was proclaimed.
The passport in this article is rather a remarkable early sample from this body, a travel document that was issued BEFORE the foundation of the official Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in November of 1945.
Democratic Federal Yugoslavian passport number 468/45, in itself being a very low SN, was issued to
Dr. Smiljanić Mihajlo at Belgrade (the capital that was liberated on October 1944 with the aid of the Red Army) on July 30th 1945. The document indicated inside that he was a member of the Yugoslav Military Mission to occupied Berlin, thus making this passport an OFFICIAL travel document and an important one indeed with connection to WW2.
The passport has official visas and some of them are rather interesting and rare, for example, Soviet occupational visa from Germany being issued in 1947 (p.24) and also the short-lived Hungarian visa (p.16) issued at Prague by the “Meghatalmazott a Magyar allampolgarok erdekvedelme a Csehszlovak koztarsasagban“, which roughly would mean as the Hungarian Representative to Czechoslovakia – the diplomatic mission in charge of protecting Hungarian interests (in the country). This could be an early interim body before the official Communist state’s diplomatic mission was formerly established (I have seen a similar stamp being issued at Vienna of 1946).
These passports were short lived and most likely being issued in early 1945 and being exchanged the following year by official SFRY passports.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.