52 Documents in 52 Weeks #47 – Etta Pauw’s Passport

Etta Berendine Pauw, circa 1927

Person of Interest: Etta Pauw
Relationship: Maternal grandmother


Source Citation: Etta Berendine Pauw passport issued by Germany, 1923; privately held by Martha Strait, Lafayette, New Jersey, 2017.


Document Description: The pictures in this post are digital scans of the original passport that Etta’s daughter Martha still has in her possession. The passport is a brown, heavy card stock covered booklet that is 4 inches wide by 5-1/2 inches tall. It contains all the original pages which are stapled into the booklet in two places. The pages are blue paper with a patterned background in red. Not all pages have information on them; nine through thirty are blank.


Document Scan/Transcription = Translation:
Front Cover
Deutsches Reich = German Realm or Empire
[German eagle symbol]
Reisepass = passport

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Front Cover and Page 1 in German
There are six German stamps that have been canceled with round stamps and also overwritten with the words “Aurich” and a couple of words I can’t make out.

Deutsches Reich = German Realm or Empire
[German eagle symbol]
Reisepass = passport
No. 35
Name Der Passinhabern = Name of the passport Holder

Etta Pauw
Begleitet von seiner ehefrau = accompanied by his wife
……………………………………….
und von ……………… kindern = and by …… children
Staatsangehörigkeit = nationality
Preußen = Prussian
Dieser Pass enthält 32 Seiten = This pass contains 32 pages

Pages 2 and 3 in German
[Photo of Etta stamped on all four corners with “Landrat Aurich” stamp]
Unterschrift der Passinhabern = signature of the passport holder
Etta Pauw [her signature]
und seiner Ehefrau = and his wife
………………………………………. [crossed out]

Es wird hiermit bescheinigt, daß der Inhaber die durch das obenstehende Lichtbild dargestellte Person ist und die darunter befindliche Unterschrift eigenhändig vollzogen bat. = It is hereby certified that the holder is the person represented by the above picture and that the signature below has been signed by the owner.
[Seal of the authority]

Personenbeschreibung = Personal description
Beruf…??? = job [I can’t figure out what this word is…]
Geburtsort…Octelbur = Place of birth…Ochtelbur
Geburstag…9 Juli 1902 = Birthday…09 July 1902
Wohnort…Ochtelbur = Place of Residence…Ochtelbur
Gestalt…mittal = Shape…Medium build
Gesicht…??? = Face…[I can’t figure out what this word is…]
Farbe der Augen…Blau = Eye color…Blue
Farbe der Haares…Blond = Hair color…Blonde
Besond.Kennzeichen…??? = Any special marks…[I can’t figure out what this word is…]

Kinder = Children
Name….Alter…Geschlecht = Name…Age…Gender [this section is blank]

Page 4 and 5 in German
Geltungsbereich Des Passes = Scope of the passport
Niederlande, und Alle Erdteile = The Netherlands and all the continents
[Some German writing here that I can’t make out]
Der Paß wir der pass wird ungültig am 10 Mai 1925 wenn er nicht verlängert wird. = This passport will be invalid on 10 May 1925 if not extended.
Ausstellende Behörde = Issuing Authority
[unreadable German word] Aurich = [unreadable word] Aurich
Datum = Date
Am 11 Mai 1923 = On 11 May 1923
Unterschrift = Signature
[Signatures of the issuing authority] = Signatures
[Seal with Landrat Aurich] = Seal

Verlängerungen = Extensions
1. Velangert bis 10 Mai 1926 = Extended until 10 May 1926
Aurich, den 31.12.24 = Aurich, on 31 December 1924
Dienststelle = Department
Handratsamt.Aurich = administrative officer of Aurich
Unterschrift = Signature
[signatures of authorities]
[seal of the authority]

2. Velangert bis 10 Mai 1927 = Extended until 10 May 1927
Amsterdam, den 14 Mai 1926 = Amsterdam, on 14 May 1926
Dienststelle = Department
Der Deutsche Generalkonsul I. A. = The German General Consulate
Unterschrift = Signature
[signatures of authorities]
[seal of the authority]

3. Velangert bis 10 Mai 1928 = Extended until 10 May 1927
Amsterdam, den 30 April 1927 = Amsterdam, on 30 April 1927
Dienststelle = Department
Der Deutsche Generalkonsul I. A. = The German General Consulate
Unterschrift = Signature
[signatures of authorities]
[seal of the authority]

Page 6 and 7 in German
No. 35
Etta Pauw
[This appears to be some language about the border crossing point. Both items in red are stamped over in purple with the German word for invalid: Ungültig.]
Eingang Weener = Entrance into Weener, Germany
24 Dez. 1923 = 24 December 1923
Ausgang Weener = Exit from Weener, Germany
5 Jan. 1924 = 05 January 1924

[There is some writing at the top of page 7 that I can’t make out]
Etta Pauw
Verlenging verbliif toegestaan tet en met 15 October 1923 = Extension to stay allowed until 15 October 1923
Den Haag, den 1 Juli 1923 = The Hague on 1 July 1923
Voor den Inspecteur der Kon. Marechaussee de administrateur Rijkspaspoortenkantoor  = For the inspector of the Royal Marechaussee of the national passports office.
[Illegible Signature] = a signature that I can’t read

Etta Pauw
Verlenging verbliif toegestaan tet en met 15 April 1924 = Extension to stay allowed until 15 April 1925
Den Haag, den 17 Oct. 1923 = The Hague on 17 October 1923
Voor den Inspecteur der Kon. Marechaussee de administrateur Rijkspaspoortenkantoor  = For the inspector of the Royal Marechaussee of the national passports office.
[Illegible Signature] = a signature that I can’t read
Leges f.6.

Page 8 [Pages 9 to 30 are blank] in Dutch
Etta Pauw
Verlenging verbliif toegestaan tet en met 15 April 1925 = Extension to stay allowed until 15 April 1925
Den Haag, den 30 April 1924 = The Hague on 30 April 1924
Voor den Inspecteur der Kon. Marechaussee de administrateur Rijkspaspoortenkantoor  = For the inspector of the Royal Marechaussee of the national passports office.
[Illegible Signature] = a signature that I can’t read
Leges f.

Pages 31 [Pages 9 to 30 are blank] in English
Quota Immigration Visa No. 350
Issued to Etta B. Pauw
This 2nd day of November, 1927
No charge… [signature] Edward A. Dow, American Consol.
[Seal of the American Consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands]


Analysis: There are six canceled German stamps on the inside of the front cover. The stamps add up to 288 marks which was, I assume, the cost of getting a passport in 1923. I wanted to see what that would be in current U.S. dollars but the comparison wouldn’t really be valid as Germany was experiencing hyperinflation at the time. The country struggled to deal with the repercussions of losing World War I and the reparations that were required by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments. These agreements required Germany to pay 132 billion gold marks (US$33 billion) in reparations to cover civilian damage caused during the war. All of this shortly made paper marks virtually worthless. The chart at the right shows the value of one gold mark to paper marks. It’s quite dramatic. The hyperinflation reached its peak in November of 1923 but was halted when a new currency was introduced. I’m not sure what sort of financial difficulties that Etta was having at the time in Germany but, given the financial crisis going on, an emigration in 1923 into the Netherlands was not all that surprising.

Looking at the front cover, the Deutsches Reich was the name for the German nation state from 1871 to 1943. Literally, it means the German Empire but roughly means that it’s the German Realm.

Looking at the first page, I was surprised to see Etta’s nationality listed as Prussian. I would have expected to see “Deutches” or something similar. However, with a little research I learned that Prussia was a state of Germany from 1918 until 1933. Etta came from this northern region of Germany.

From page seven, I was curious to know what the Kon. Marechaussee was. It stands for Koninklijke Marechaussee which is one of the four Services of the armed forces of the Netherlands. It is a gendarmerie force performing military police and civil police duties. They must have been in charge of passport duties while Etta was applying for her extensions.

This pangram, “Victor chases twelve boxers across the Sylt dike,” contains all 26 letters of the alphabet plus the umlauted glyphs used in German

While I was trying to decipher the red printing on page six, I found out the fancy font is an old German font called Fraktur. It’s mainly used now for decorative purposes. Thank goodness! Between the fuzziness of the print, the font, the big purple overprint, the possibility of unfamiliar characters (like the long s “ſ ” and the esszett “ß”) and the enormously long German words, I gave up on getting an exact translation for this bit of text. Not that I didn’t spend a lot of time in that rabbit hole. I did. But, from what I could gather, it has something to do with authority and licenses and a six month limit.

I can construct a short timeline for Etta based on this passport:

  • 09 July 1902 – Etta was born in Ochtelbur, Germany
  • 11 May 1923 – Etta was issued a German passport in Aurich, Germany
  • 01 Juli 1923 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands
  • 17 October 1923 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands
  • 24 December 1923 – Etta crosses back into Weener, Germany
  • 05 January 1924 – Etta crossed back into the Netherlands from Weener, Germany
  • 31 December 1924 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in Aurich, Germany
  • 30 April 1924 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands
  • 14 May 1926 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 30 April 1927 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 02 November 1927 – Etta was issued immigration Visa No. 350 to travel to the United States at the American Consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands

I have mapped out all the places mentioned in Etta’s passport (blue pins) plus her future husband’s school town (orange pin) of Leeuwarden. (The map is interactive. Go ahead. Hover over it, zoom in, zoom out, click on it. I’ll wait.) Ochtelbur was close to what is now Riepe and is in the Ihlow portion of the Aurich district.

 

This original source is a document that traveled with my grandmother as she journeyed from Germany to the Netherlands and eventually to America. It contains primary (firsthand) information as she obtained her passport, crossed borders, obtained extensions, and procured an immigration visa. It is direct evidence with regards to the research question, “Where and when was Etta Berendine Pauw, of Germany and then of Newton, New Jersey, born?” It answers the question directly with “Ochtelbur on 09 July 1902.” It is indirect evidence for any other number of research questions that can be crafted for this source and the information found within it.

CONCLUSION

While analyzing my maternal grandmother Etta Berendine Pauw’s passport, I learned a bit of German history, translated some German and Dutch, struggled with fancy fonts, mapped some locations on the European continent and constructed a timeline based on the dates found within it. I can answer the question, “Where was Etta Berendine Pauw on 30 April 1924?” She was in The Hague, Netherlands, getting an extension to stay in the Netherlands. All-in-all a very fun analysis!

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