War time used Polish passport
Wife of high ranking navy commander.
Here is an opportunity to see an item that does not come by every day. It’s rare to find a passport that can document the route that one took in order to escape war and eventually arrive safely into allied hands.
Polish passport issued to the wife of one of Poland’s pre-war navy heroes, who contributed immensely to the development of the country’s army and the construction of its navy.
Passport belonged to Jadwiga Rymszewicz, wife of Stanislaw Rymszewicz.
Some brief points about this important Polish individual:
- Born June 30th 1890 at Vilnius – passed away on February 5th 1973 at Gdansk;
- 1908-1912 Studies mechanical engineering at the marine academy of Kronstadt; an “island” west of St. Petersburg;
- Served before WWI at the Russian Imperial Navy at the Black Sea fleet;
- Served at the blockade of Constantinople during the 2nd Balkan War;
- 1918 escaping with family from Sevastopol to Vilnius, arriving shortly later to Warsaw;
- 1919 joins the Polish army;
- 1927 transferred to the Polish Navy – rank of Lieutenant Commander;
- 1932 head of Polish Navy supply management;
- 1933 promoted to the rank of Commander;
- 1933-1934 serves at the navy tenders committee on construction and purchase of new destroyers & submarines; first from France then later from the United Kingdom;
- 1937 nominated to deputy chief of technical services to the Polish Navy Command (Kierownictwa Marynarki Wojennej) upon returning back to Poland;
- 1939 brief return to the UK for further purchasing missions (returning back August 25th);
It was during these years that the wife’s passport was issued to accompany her husband on his official trips to the UK. The passport was issued on April 5th 1935 by senior registration official (passports) Janina Modzelewska (she would also extend the passport, for the last time, on September 5th 1939, five days after war broke out). The passport was issued at no fee (Bezpłatny) under clause No. 8 (with all the years of collecting Second Republic passports, it has come to my attention that clause 8 is for OFFICIAL use and clause 11, for example, is for REFUGEES). It is nicely used and with courtesy or service visas inside. We can find examples from France, Germany, and Belgium; and of course the UK, her main destination, as indicated as well on page 4. The passport was extended several more times during the war at various locations, such as Toulouse, Lisbon and London.
She returns back to Poland on August 19th 1937 and remains in the country for the next 2 years. Her husband returns back to Poland on August 25th, days before World War Two erupts. Two weeks later she would extend her passport on September 5th, apply for the Romanian entry visa (service) the same day, and cross over the border on the 9th via the still-open Polish-Romanian border crossing point at Sniatyn (in Galati her husband would arrange for the transfer of vital war material from Poland to the city). They would not remain much longer in the country, applying for the transit visas on November 17th from the French, Italian & Yugoslavian consulates at Bucharest, exiting on the 24th at the Jimbolia border crossing into neighboring Yugoslavia, entering the next day into Italy, and then directly into France the same day at Modane.
She remained in France from November 25th 1939 to October 29th 1940. During her stay in Vichy France there was contemplation of traveling even to Shanghai, with a Chinese visa issued to her at the Marseille consulate on September 12th (issued by Consul Liu Meiji – 刘美寄), and followed by visas to Spain and Portugal. Crossing into Portugal on October 24th and 2 days later into Spain, only to exit again on the 29th back to Lisbon where she applied for another entry visa to the United Kingdom. They arrived to England on December 25th were her husband would continue his work on navy issues for the Polish Government in Exile based in London.
More can be learned about Stanislaw Rymszewicz via the link bellow (in Polish):
I added images of this amazing pre-war officially used Polish passport.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.