Looks like a visa but is NOT - Our Passports
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  • Looks like a visa but is NOT
  • 1920 Polish passport
  • 1920 Polish passport
  • 3
  • early Palestine visa
  • 5
  • 6
  • Jewish visa for Palestine
  • 8
  • 9

Looks like a visa but is NOT

Very early Jewish immigration “visa” for Palestine.


An attractive early Second Republic passport from 1920, the year that Poland began to print officially passports en bulk. This could be considered as the first version, with others appearing already in 1921, see sampled imprint: Drukarnia Panstwowa No 13682. 2. V .21 (these passports were printed on simple not watermarked paper, low quality, 16 pages).


The passport was issued in the area of Silesia to a 18 year old young Jewish man without nationality, or stateless, with the intention of immigrating to British Palestine: By then the Civil Administration took over the two year old Military Authority that was emplaced. Issued on July 19th close to the area of Lwow at Grodek Jagiell. The holder had to travel west to Bratislava (Pressburg) to apply for the British entry visa to Palestine, and we can see the applied visa on page 6 (Interesting note: we can find on page 15 the Jewish Agency for Palestine Bratislava office statement that they assisted in obtaining the necessary British visa via Trieste, Egypt in order to arrive at Jaffa (added by hand via the British consulate in Vienna).


The holder arrived at Jaffa September 20th, with the interesting OETA (Occupied Enemy Territory Administration) applied stamp at the bottom of page 9 (this would change to the civilian used frontier rubber-entry-stamps the same year).


The reason for this article can be found by the applied so-called visa, or what looks actually like a visa, which can be found on page 16, last page. The translation goes as follows:



The Palestine office for Galicia and Silesia in Krakow

Supervised by the Jewish Authority

No. 75   Rationed amount 25 Mark

‘After our inspection and authorization the holders was permitted to immigrant and permanently stay in Palestine’.

Krakow August 7th, 1920 

Head of the Palestine office

                                                                                                                                   {SEAL with stamp}



At first glance this would look like any other regular applied visa and consular revenue stamp. But after looking closely and seeing who the issuing body was, it clearly can be said that this should not have been applied inside the passport at all in the first place. But it was, and this makes it an exceptional find indeed.

A must to all who seek and collect early immigration travel documents to British Mandate of Palestine.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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