Download Full Text (8.1 MB)
‘PASZPORT’ and ‘RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA’ on cover; photograph of Maks Hans Freund on page 3; missing pages 7 and 8; pages 12-23 are blank.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
This passport had been issued at the Polish consulate in Milan, Italy to 13-year-old Maks Hans Freund on May 27, 1940 as indicated on the Polish consular stamp, and set to expire in November. The passport was extended at the Polish Legation in Bern, Switzerland by Polish vice-consul Konstanty Rokicki on June 10, 1943.
Only recently has Rokicki received recognition for his work saving Jewish lives during World War II. Prior to joining the consular service, he had been a second lieutenant in the Polish army and an intelligence operative. He had worked in several consular settings before Bern. As vice-consul in Bern, and as a member of the secretive Lados Group, Rokicki and his subordinate Julius Kuhl produced what is estimated to be several thousand illegal passports which were tantamount to documents of protection for Jews in Polish ghettos bound for eventual deportation to death camps. The scheme involved bribing the consul of Paraguay Rudolf Hugli, who would provide the blank Paraguayan forms to be fabricated into passports with the names of Polish Jews. The money came from Jewish and Polish donors, the lists of Jews from Jewish organizations in Switzerland. Finally, the completed passports would be smuggled into Poland and the Netherlands and given to those in imminent danger of deportation.
The estimates of how many recipients of these documents were saved run into the thousands.
5 1/2 x 3 7/8"
Konstanty Rokicki, Maks Hans Freund
"Konstanty Rokicki Signed Polish Passport of 13-Year-Old Jewish Child in Bern, Switzerland" (1940). Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection. 2023.1.9.