Stamped National Socialist Passport Issued to a Jew Attempting to Escape Germany to South America via the United Kingdom; Visa Signed by Diplomat Hero Arthur Dowden
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32 page passport issued to Karl Darmstadter, photograph stapled to top left corner of page 2, multiple stamps and hand stamps throughout.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
1938 German passport (Reisepass) with the letter ‘J’ stamped on first page, belonging to Mr. Karl Darmstadter, a 43-year-old Jewish businessman in Frankfurt-am-Main attempting to escape escalating racial persecution in Germany. The passport bears stamps and signatures revealing the efforts made by Mr. Darmstadter in 1938 to leave Germany for Valpariso, Chile with transit visas; stamps of approval by a Frankfurt bank and by police; stamps of the French consulate (travel permit); stamps of the Chilean consulate in Hamburg with Consul Cesareo Alvarez de la Rivera’s signature from October 1938; and the signature of Arthur Dowden (p.14) on Darmstadter’s temporary transit visa from the United Kingdom to Valpariso, Chile; and a final pass stamp to Chile.
Arthur Dowden signed Darmstadter’s temporary visa to the United Kingdom less than one month before the Kristallnacht pogrom, enabling Darmstadter to leave Germany before this watershed moment throughout Germany and Austria in which thousands of Jews were swept up into the Nazi maelstrom. However, Dowden and Consul-General Robert Smallbones -Dowden’s superior- would not be cowed by the Gestapo and would find ways to support Jews’ efforts to find sanctuary in other countries as well as helping them as best they could with the impositions placed upon them by the Nazi administration in Frankfurt. For example, they would allow Jews refuge in the consulate as they ran from unprovoked attacks by SA thugs. Or they famously delivered food in consular vehicles to the apartments of Frankfurt Jews after curfews were imposed that would not permit them to shop for their own groceries. Monumental efforts were made by Smallbones and Dowden to help Jews emigrate from Germany to the UK and even Mandatory Palestine. They were even willing to break regulations for issuing visas when the candidates themselves did not meet the necessary criteria.
Dowden would remain at his post until Britain declared war on Germany for attacking Poland in September 1939.
Both Smallbones and Dowden were awarded the British Hero of the Holocaust Medal for their extraordinary acts of courage and self-sacrifice rescuing Jews.
Both Dowden and Smallbones were classified as “enemies of the state” by the Nazis, and placed on a list of those who were to be arrested after the “successful” invasion and occupation of Great Britain.
6 1/2 x 4 3/8"
Karl Darmstadter, Robert Smallbones, Cesareo Alvarez de la Rivera, Arthur Dowden, Kristallnacht
"Stamped National Socialist Passport Issued to a Jew Attempting to Escape Germany to South America via the United Kingdom; Visa Signed by Diplomat Hero Arthur Dowden" (1905). Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection. 2022.1.18.