Upper Silesia plebiscite passports
Inter-Allied issued passports & ID’s during 1920-1922.
Some of the most interesting documents & passports can be attributed to post-WWI areas of dispute and conflict that sprung up like “mushrooms after the rain” in Europe.
The collapse of the old-aged empires that controlled European politics and people for centuries resulted in the independence of nations and to claims to land that held a mixture of people and culture. Neighboring “new” states fought for borders and territories. Disputes can be found in areas near Germany and Poland, the Baltic States and more.
This article will concentrate on a specific region in Europe, the border between Weimar Germany and Poland, an area that led to the intervention of the Allied powers and to a plebiscite that was mandated and authorized by the Versailles Treaty, a plebiscite known as the Upper Silesia plebiscite.
It was carried out in March 1921. The area was a mix of both Germans and Poles, and during the referendum and allied occupation violence erupted, leading to two Polish uprisings and the intervention of German volunteer paramilitary units as well.
The Inter-allied Commission supervised the disputed area and security was maintained by collaboration of the French, British and Italian troops (this is also the reason why special ID’s and travel documents can be found with stamps applied by the above three allied commissions).
At the end, with all sides and units facing one another, the actual “line” that all sides dug themselves in ended up as being the final border and the decision and marking of that “new border” was handed to the League of Nations. The result was a partition of an area called Upper Silesia between both Germany and Poland only after the intervention of the League of Nations.
I have added images of the special passports that were issued by the Inter Allied Government during the plebiscites and two types of special identity documents that were issued to residents and non-residents of the disputed area. Some of these ID cards where endorsed and used as “travel documents” when moving between the German and Polish sides!
(Also added an image of a document used in the period of the East Prussian plebiscite 1920 or also known as Allenstein and Marienwerder plebiscite).
Smaller image source: Wikipedia.
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