Moving from West to East in 1940 - Our Passports
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  • Moving from West to East in 1940
  • Moving from West to East in 1940
  • WW2 Polish passport
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • WW2 Belgium visa
  • Gestapo passport
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Moving from West to East in 1940


Crossing the border-lines in occupied Poland.


A very odd and strange destination indeed for a former citizen of Poland.


Before war broke out on September of 1939, the two main aggressors at the time, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, secured their vital borders in what would stun the world in August of 1939: the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.


This agreement would allow both sides, for a brief period of time, to secure their interests: Germany ridding herself from a feared second front and Soviet Union with additional territorial claims that would peak in 1940, with the occupation of the Baltic States as well.


Russia would provide Germany with vital materials needed for her civilian and army industry, with special convoy trains supplying them up to the last minute before the German invasion of June 22nd 1941, known as Operation Barbarossa.


One of the clauses in the agreement between the two countries was the mutual “civilian exchange” between the two sides or between the two parts of former Poland: Western and Eastern sections of the occupied country (Poles and Jews where excluded). This meant that any Germans found in the Soviet occupied part or Ukrainian and or Belorussian people in the German occupied part would be allowed to “cross” the border: This way many ethnic Germans were lucky enough to escape west before the Red Army’s onslaught that would follow a few years later. On the other hand, some, but not many, choose the odd route of travelling east, into Soviet controlled territory. The holder of the passport in this article seems to have done this exactly in early 1940.


Polish passport number 23015/II/38 was issued to Kazimierz Malaczynski on February 8th 1938 at London. His profession was indicated as Marine and was from Dolzanka in the Ternopol region of Poland.


The passport has attractive pre-war visas being issued for travel through Belgium, Holland and Nazi Germany as well. The interesting addition to this travel document was the unique Gestapo applied border stamp, this was the practice in certain regions of conflict or “sensitivity”, and the crossing  between Upper and lower Silesia was one such example, hence the applied Geheime Staatspolizei stamp on page 20.



In my opinion the most fascinating part of the passport here can be found on page 2, where on April 23rd 1940 it is marked twice by the NKVD (secret Soviet police apparatus), entry visa into the Ukraine and the other stamp roughly would mean that “Citizen Kazimierz Malaczynski must appear on the registration of the UNKVD “.


This is it. Nothing else inside the document could suggest his fate and whereabouts after entering and crossing over on April of 1940…a complete mystery…but as we have already learned by now from historical documents and testimonies we can sadly assume that his end did not end well, especially during those fateful and horrific years of World War Two.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.



Neil Kaplan
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