• Reisepass of Max Meyer 1939

Reisepass

Passport of Max Meyer

Archival Item

Resource TypeDocuments
Date of Creation5 Jan. 1939
GenreIdentity, Migration & Travel
IdentifierRA038-01-00-00-13
Administrative/Biographical HistoryPaul Meyer (b. October 9, 1916, d. September 14, 2003) and Max Meyer (b. February 22, 1913, d. April 1, 2004) were born in Cologne, Germany to parents Eugen Meyer (b. August 8, 1880 Cologne, d. October 10, 1964 Vancouver) and Alice née Jonas (b. circa 1890). Eugen Meyer ran a lace and tulle fashion business, M. Meyer & Co., founded by his father, Max Meyer (b. 1848 Bubenheim, Germany, d. 1896 Calais, France) in Cologne, around 1870. Eugen took the business over in the late 1890s, after the death of his father, and ran it with his uncle, Ernest, an accountant. At its height the business employed 300 workers.

Eugen Meyer served as a soldier in the German army in the First World War and wrote a diary of his and his unit’s experiences. Eugen’s brother, Alfred Meyer (b. 1882), also a soldier in the German army, was killed in France in 1918. Ernst Jonas, father of Alice, died on March 17, 1919 while a prisoner of war. Alice’s sister, Lucie Jonas, was married to Heinrich Frank; both were killed in Sobibor in 1943.

After the Nazis came to power in Germany, the Meyer siblings and other Jewish children were forbidden to attend school. Paul was arrested during Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. Max, a salesman, was in Hanover on business and was not arrested on that night; he was able to buy a visa on the black market to help Paul get out of Dachau. The brothers were told they had to leave Germany or be interned. They obtained passports and a transit visa with help from an uncle, and then arranged passports for their parents. The Meyers paid high taxes upon leaving Germany.

The Meyers applied to emigrate to Canada and received special permission from the Commissioner of Immigration early in 1939, but their plans were cancelled at the outbreak of the Second World War. The family was able to leave Antwerp for New York in October, 1939, and then travelled by train to a camp outside of Montreal.

They settled in Vancouver, BC, where Paul and Max started a pottery business and their mother, Alice, worked for the Red Cross. In 1954, Paul returned to Cologne and visited the former location of his family’s lace business, on Apostelnstrasse II. The original building was damaged but the basement remained intact. Paul retrieved samples and other materials produced by M. Meyer & Co. in the basement and brought these materials back to Vancouver.
Extent & Medium1 document : 16.4 x 22.2 cm folded to 16.4 x 11.1 cm
Scope & ContentItem is the German passport of Max Meyer. The stamps and signatures found in the passport chronicle Max’s escape from Germany and eventual arrival in Canada.
Caption, signatures and inscriptionsThe passport is made of one signature of paper of a medium thickness with an olive-green cover, or case, made of cardstock. The signature is saddle stitched to the cover with metal staples. Transmitted light reveals a repeating chevron pattern on the document’s paper. The document contains machine printed, stamped, and handwritten text in varying shades of black ink, with a few elements in red, blue, and purple ink. DEUTSCHES/ REICH/ REISEPASS is machine printed in black in on the cover. Additionally, in between the words REICH and REISEPASS the emblem of the German Reich is machine printed in black ink. Max Meyer’s photograph is attached to the verso of the first page by one metal fastener. Underneath the photograph is Max Israel Meyer handwritten in black ink. There is an indecipherable signature in black ink at the bottom of page two. Embossed into the document’s cover and page two is a black eagle and German text inside a circle.
LanguageGerman, English, French, Spanish
Physical Characteristics and Technical RequirementsThe item is in overall good condition. The spine and edges of the signature display slight signs of wear. The inside of the cover contains a light rust mark transferred from the metal fastening from the first page of the signature. Page three exhibits a similar, but more discernable, small rust stain, a result from prolonged contact to the metal fastening found on page two. Original metal staples and fasteners remain in item.
Archival HistoryPrevious item number assigned by the VHEC: 96.015.003
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