Jewish “Hachsharah” training farm
1939 German J stamped passport.
Much has been written and documented about these infamous German issued special passports for its citizens, though some for ‘undetermined status’ holders also received the J stamped passports between 1938 to 1941 (around October of that year the borders were shut tight throughout the German controlled territory and no exits were allowed, thus, the final solution was being implemented fully).
Towards the end of 1938, at the request of the Swiss authorities, to control and prevent any Jewish immigration into its country, the large red J was applied to all passports issued to Jewish males & females. From January 1939 the first names Israel and Sara where also added.
But before we continue on this passport, some introduction to the background of the specific holder who received it should be mentioned. The issuing location has important historical significance to this article, making the passport here an interesting memorabilia of the time.
Following the rise to power of the Nazi party and the vile propaganda that followed, claiming that the Jews were of parasitic lazy nature, incapable to contribute in any constructive and physical manner, the Jewish community decided that something has to be done in order to show to their fellow countrymen the opposite to this notion and to improve their conditions, after their rights have been stripped from them.
Special Jewish farms were allocated to the Jews, were they undertook training in agriculture, crafts and housekeeping. This training was conducted under the instructions and supervision of the Jewish youth movement “Halutz” (חלוץ). Approximately 2,000 graduates every year finished their training, which enabled them to immigrate and leave Germany.
One such farm was located near Gross Breesen, Trebnitz. This farm (567 acres) was allocated to the Central Union of Jews in Germany (C.V.) around April 1936, with Gestapo approval of course. Agricultural training was at the center, and the aim was to allow the graduates to immigrate abroad with the proper physical skills, mainly to South America.
Passport number 67/39 was issued to Fritz Israel Schlesinger, aged 18, at Gross Breesen, Trebnitz. The indication to his participation in the farm training is verified by his “profession” indicated on page 3 as “landwirtschaft praktikant”, meaning “Internship in Agriculture”.
Fritz was a very lucky young man. He managed to graduate at the end of July and apply for the British visa at Berlin on August 7th. He exited the western German border on the 27th and entered the UK at Harwich a day later, with the specific instructions that he shall emigrate from “the United Kingdom on completion of his training”(It was pointed out to me that the holder did NOT poses the necessary German exit visa – something very unusual for at the time!). A few days later war broke out. And for a period of 6 years the Nazis and their collaborators annihilated over 6 million Jews.
Have added images of this German J stamped passport.
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