Italian Social Republic passport 1945
Superb specimen issued at their Berlin consulate.
The new republic was established at the second half of 1943 following the allied advances in northern Africa and the invasion of Sicily. These events caused the Grand Fascist Council with the backing of the King Victor Emmanuel III to overthrow Mussolini from power. Following his ousting, the new government began secret talks with the allied powers and when an armistice was reached by the sides and publicly declared, Hitler stepped in. Germany who feared such an event and was prepared for this, rescued the imprisoned Italian leader, and placed him at the head of a newly established republic, also known as Republic of Salò (Repubblica Sociale Italiana) – a puppet state not recognized by the international community. Italy was divided into two: Southern part liberated by the allies; and the north, 2nd half, a satellite state military controlled by Germany but run by the Italian fascists.
The RSI was proclaimed on September 23rd 1943 and came to an end on April 25th 1945, less than 2 years later. Its head was executed 4 days later and publicly hanged.
The passport in this article is an official issued travel document by the RSI (Repubblica Sociale Italiana). What makes this item extra interesting is that it is a consular issue from Berlin, January 30th 1945, very close to the end of the war. One needs to remember that during this time many Italian works were in German controlled area and also under the forced labor plan for the war effort. Those Italians were also issued the temporary foreigner-passport, but this was done mainly to register their details as an identification document with their residence permit affixed inside. The sample here is the first of its kind that I have set my eyes on.
The title page is different from the pre-1943 Italian passports because of the honorary greetings on it: Previous documents were inscribed with “IN NOME DI SVAMAESTA Vittorio Emmanuele III” were as the RSI sample was headed with “In Nome Del. DUCE della Repubblica Sociale Italiana“.
The passport includes two additions inside: the residence permit (from Niederbarnim, part of the district of Brandenburg) issued the same day the passport was made out and also an exit visa, allowing the holder to return back home. The issuing date is for April 23rd, two days before the republic came to an end and the exit date was for April 27th, 2 weeks before the end of the war and about 10 before the issuing location of the visa, Innsbruck, was liberated by the allies. Innsbruck was one of the very few remaining places still under control of the Germans; what was left of the “1000 year Reich”.
Passport number 82558 (though I doubt that so many have been issued, the applied stamp was by hand and this is the 2nd one I have seen in over two years) was issued to Orazio Degan aged 26 from Venice.
His profession is indicated as employee or clerk/office worker.
I have added images of this rare late-in-the-war Fascist Italy consular passport (including the distinctive watermark appearing on every page).
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.