Second Vienna Award
1943 German Diplomatenpass.
During World War Two thousands of Diplomatic & Service passports where issued by all sides: The Allies, Axis and Neutral countries sent their officials on countless trips throughout the world, be it in areas of conflict or relative calm. It is nearly impossible to learn about each trip or which official received what type of document and the reason for it. But, when one such document surfaces, we are able to get a glimpse into one part of the war via the individual’s trip and mission. For us historians and collectors it’s a good opportunity to learn more about the document and historical facts behind it. And sometimes we can get closer in solving riddles and questions regarding the war.
Most searched for documents are of official Diplomatic passports that were issued by all sides, and for me in particular, German issued OFFICIAL passports and travel documents.
The document in this article falls into a less-known part of the conflict that raged around the world for over 6 years, a conflict that took place in the Atlantic and reached even to the furthest and remote locations in the Far East.
German Diplomatenpass number 1244 was issued to Dr. Karl Schwagula on June 11th 1943 by the Foreign Ministry in Berlin. He was classified as a legal expert in the Auswärtiges Amt.
Some brief biographical points of this Diplomat:
- Born February 6th 1886 (Graz, Austria) – February 4th 1968 (Feldkirch);
- Entry into the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Service in 1909;
- Consul to Beirut, Lebanon 1909-1912;
- Consul to Alexandria, Egypt 1912-1914;
- Legal section of the Foreign Ministry 1914-1918;
- Service for the Austrian FM at the section for legal-protection abroad 1921-1923;
- Head of the Legal Protection department in the FM 1925-;
- Foreign Ministry Legal Department in Berlin from March 22nd 1938;
- “German-Italian Special Representative Commission for Transylvania” – placed as the permanent German representative to the above mentioned commission in Vienna: 03/19/1943-July 1944;
One of the most intriguing points about this passport is that it belonged to an Austrian who joined the German Foreign Service after the infamous Anschluss of 1938 and who become a NSDAP party member 2 years later (8.289.721). By 1945 most Austrians would have had such incriminating documents destroyed, fearing to be discovered by the Allies.
The document is also interesting, as mentioned above, due to the fact that it was used with connection to a less known part of the war: a territorial conflict between two Axis members, a conflict over land that was known as Northern Transylvania.
This region has rich historical significance in central Europe following the end of World War One. The size of the area is about 43,591 km2, and is placed between Hungary in the North and Romania in the south. From 1918 to 1940 it was part of the latter, being ceded briefly to Hungary in 1940 for a period of 4 years following the Second Vienna Award, where both Germany and Italy assisted in arbitrating between the two neighboring countries.
Following the arbitration a special committee was established, represented by Germany & Italy, in order to settle disputes regarding the Second Vienna Award. One of the senior German representatives, who were stationed in Vienna and active in this commission from 1941 to 1944, was the holder of this diplomatic passport, Dr. Karl Schwagula.
This could also explain his frequent trips to Budapest during 1943 and 1944.
His trips include the following:
29.12.43 – EXIT – Engerau (Austrian-Slovakian border)
30.12.43 – ENTRY – Engerau (Austrian-Slovakian border)
21.5.44 – EXIT –Bruck a.d. Leitha (Hungary)
26.5.44 – ENTRY –Bruck a.d. Leitha (Hungary)
19.7.44 – EXIT- Engerau (Austrian-Slovakian border)
20.7.44 – ENTRY- Engerau (Austrian-Slovakian border)
Slovakian Consulate General Vienna – 27.12.43
Hungarian Consulate General Vienna – 17.5.44
Slovakia Consulate General Vienna – 15.7.44
(In some references he is mentioned as a special envoy from Vienna sent to Grafing (Bavaria), he was in charge of looking after the Italian diplomats while they were under house arrest on their way from Germany to Italy in 1943;
A location where hostile international diplomats evacuated from Berlin were interned).
It is important to note that the changing of hands in this region had an effect on the local population.
During the period of time the region was at the control of the Hungarians (1940-1944), the Romanian, and especially the Jewish population, suffered immensely: under their control their fate was joined to that of the country’s Jewish communities and all suffered the horrific outcome of the Final Solution once Germany invaded and occupied the country in March of 1944, in what would be known as her last major offensive of the war and as Operation Margarethe. Out of a population of 150,000 members, close to 105,000 perished (about 450,000 of Hungary’s Jews were sent to their death at Auschwitz Death Camp in a period of several weeks only).
The region was liberated by Soviet and Romanian troops (once the latter switched sides and joined the Allies in August of 1944) and the Second Vienna Award was made void on September 12th by the Allied Commission via article 19 of the Armistice Agreement with Romania followed by the Paris Peace Treaties.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.