The 1938 Anschluss
Very early German visa for Austria
One of the significant pre-war actions committed by Nazi Germany was the occupation of Austria, known as the Anschluss. This act was another signal that peace in the Continent would not last and alarm bells rang off in Europe. As German aggression got stronger and stronger, it was becoming clear to everyone that Hitler would not stop here. His actions would continue to increase and eventually lead Europe into another world war in 1939.
On March 12th German troops entered Austria, on the pretexts of assisting in solving the chaos and mayhem that was rampaging in the neighboring country. Fearing a referendum to support or not support German demands on the little country, called by Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, and the lack of total support by the Austrian side in placing Seyss-inquart as the new leader of the country, replacing the former, Hitler thus ordered the march into Austria.
The image here is probably one of the earliest issued German visas into Austria, now under German control. Looking at the entry & exit dates, we can assume that the issuing date was within two weeks after the annexation: entry & exit dates are for March 23rd and the 24th. Also, since the visa was issued at the German consulate in Zagreb, they still used the former-Austrian visa adhesive applied stamp! They clearly did not have enough time to change the old visa issuing system yet.
The connection to the Holocaust
Following the Anschluss, the condition for the Jews worsened and got extremely violent. The Jews were forced to public street cleaning, humiliations and depravation. This signaled the dire conditions that would continue to await them should they remain under German control.
The same year notorious SD officer Adolf Eichmann entered Vienna on the mission of expelling the country’s Jews and the special Central Agency for Jewish Emigration in Vienna was established towards the end of August. The image of an immigration certificate issued for a young Jew named Kurt Thorn on December 31st is added here, and personally hand signed by Dr. Green, who was in charge of the office and who personally met Adolf Eichmann earlier that year.
I added two images relating to those fateful days, prior to the outbreak of World War Two.
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