Ordinance on Passports of Jews

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On the basis of the ordinance on passports for Jews of October 5, 1938 ( RGBl. I, p. 1342 / GBlÖ p. 2268), their passports were declared invalid and confiscated or stamped with Jews . This made it impossible for German Jews to cross the border unnoticed in visa-free border traffic.

Passport restrictions

In May 1937, the Reich Minister of the Interior was authorized to reorganize the passport and registration system. In agreement with the Reich Ministry of the Interior, Reinhard Heydrich issued a circular on November 16, 1937, prohibiting the state authorities from continuing to issue passports for Jews. When national Jews travel abroad, considerable interests of the German Reich are always endangered. From February 1938, every passport applicant had to declare on a separate card whether he was to be classified as a Jew in accordance with Section 5 of the First Ordinance on the Reich Citizenship Act .

A report dated August 25, 1938, addressed to the Joint Distribution Committee , states that in the last few months even Jewish merchants who wanted to export goods and thereby earn foreign currency had to wait in vain for a passport. Passports are almost only issued if the application is related to emigration . The immigration police , the local NSDAP party organization, the Gestapo and the local police would be questioned.

Identification of passports

Passport with the compulsory name Israel and Jewish stamp
Felix Nussbaum : Self-Portrait with the Jewish Passport , around 1940

Under growing pressure of persecution, the number of Jewish refugees multiplied in 1938: 40,000 emigrated from the so-called Altreich and 60,000 from Austria . From the summer of 1938 onwards, the Gestapo increasingly forced Jews to cross the border illegally, thereby straining international relations with neighboring countries.

Two weeks after the annexation of Austria , the Swiss Federal Council decided to allow all holders of Austrian passports to cross the border only with a visa. However, this measure only took effect for a short time, as these passports were soon replaced by Reich German travel documents. On August 31, 1938, the Swiss Legation declared its government's intention to terminate the Swiss-German visa agreement, with which a visa-free border crossing had been agreed in 1926. In order to maintain the visa-free visa for “ German-blooded ” citizens, the German side, after several days of negotiations, on September 29, 1938, agreed to specially mark the passports of Jews. Jews should only be allowed to cross the border if the responsible Swiss representation had noted an “assurance of a permit to stay in Switzerland or to travel through Switzerland” in the passport.

An ordinance on passports of Jews of October 5, 1938 (RGBl. 1, p. 1342) declared all German passports of Jews to be invalid. The holders had to submit their passports to the passport authority within two weeks. Violation was punishable by imprisonment and a fine. Those passports whose validity was restricted to Germany were confiscated without replacement; as a legitimation paper they had been replaced by the mandatory identification card for Jews introduced at the end of July 1938 . As a desired and “consciously sought” side effect, Jews were also denied payments abroad that only passport holders were allowed to make within certain exemption limits. The passports became valid again for trips abroad if they were provided with a feature that identified the holder as a Jew. As an identification, the passport was stamped with a 3 cm large J in red ( Jewish stamp ).

As early as August 17, 1938, a name change ordinance with effect from January 1, 1939 ordered that Jews had to adopt an additional compulsory first name, which also had to be entered on the ID card or passport. According to the ordinance of January 24, 1939, the name change ordinance also applied to Austria and the Sudeten German areas .

According to a later police ordinance of July 7, 1941, the first page of the passport cover should also be stamped accordingly. The suggestion was based on the suggestion of a German consul.


The ordinance on passports of Jews was repealed by the Control Council Act No. 1 concerning the repeal of Nazi law . In Nazi injustice judgments repeal Act is regulation on passports of Jews listed; this means that all convictions that were pronounced at the time for violations of the ordinance are deemed to be canceled.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Law on Passports, Aliens Police, Registration and Identity Documents of May 11, 1937 ( RGBl. I, p. 589).
  2. Uwe Dietrich Adam : Jewish policy in the Third Reich. Unv. Reprint Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-7700-4063-5 , p. 138 with note 322.
  3. Uwe Dietrich Adam: Jewish policy in the Third Reich. Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-7700-4063-5 , p. 138.
  4. Doc. VEJ 2/88 = Susanne Heim (edit.): The persecution and murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 (source collection) Volume 2: German Reich 1938 - August 1939 , Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3- 486-58523-0 , pp. 276-277.
  5. Susanne Heim (edit.): The persecution and murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 , Volume 2: German Reich 1938 - August 1939. Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-58523-0 , pp. 44f with note 110.
  6. Susanne Heim (edit.): The persecution and murder of European Jews .... Volume 2, p. 45 / see SPIEGEL 27/1957: Complete border control
  7. Saul Friedländer: The Third Reich and the Jews: Volume 1., The Years of Persecution: 1933-1939. seen through. Special edition Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-56681-3 , p. 286.
  8. Document VEJ 2/127 = Susanne Heim (Ed.): The persecution and murder of European Jews ... Volume 2, p.369.
  9. Digital Archive Marburg: Quick letter ... regarding the handling of the passports submitted by Jews  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Accessed November 11, 2013)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.digam.net  
  10. VEJ 2/110 = Susanne Heim (Ed.): The persecution and murder of European Jews ... Volume 2, p.324.
  11. Joseph Walk (ed.): The special right for the Jews in the Nazi state. 2nd Edition. Heidelberg 1996, ISBN 3-8252-1889-9 , p. 344.
  12. Eckart Conze; Norbert Frei; Peter Hayes; Mosche Zimmermann: The Office and the Past - German Diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-89667-430-2 , p. 177.