The beginning of the end of German Jewry


< 31 MAY 1933
8 JUNE 1933 >

3 June 1933

Passport issued to Dr. Herbert Schwalbe

On 3 June 1933 Dr. Herbert Schwalbe (1899–1963) was issued a passport at Police Precinct 109 at Schlesische Strasse 29/30 in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. The thirty-three-year-old dentist had been living and running a dental practice in the same building complex since 1926. Schwalbe had decided to emigrate from Germany in the aftermath of the April boycott and was now in possession of the document he needed to realize his plans. The passport‘s cover was decorated with the imperial eagle of the Weimar Republic; the Nazi emblem—a swastika and oak wreath—was not yet in use.

The dozens of visas and stamps in Herbert Schwalbe‘s passport testify to the five-year odyssey he was about to undertake. At 8:50 in the morning on 10 October 1933, he boarded an express train to Warsaw at the Charlottenburg station. He was traveling alone since he had been forced, with a heavy heart, to leave his wife and two small children behind. His destination was Persia, where he had permission to live and work as a dentist. He crossed the German-Polish border in Neu Bentschen (Zbąszyń) and ultimately made it to Tehran thanks to transit visas for Poland and the Soviet Union.

But Schwalbe failed in his attempt to establish a successful practice in Mashhad, the second largest city in the country. As a result, he continued on to the British Mandate of Palestine in June 1935. Because of high export duties, he had no choice but to leave behind the dental equipment he had taken with him to Persia. In the following months, he hired out as an agricultural laborer.

In the spring of 1936, Schwalbe traveled to Czechoslovakia for a twenty-four-hour reunion with his family. Back in Palestine, he made arrangements to emigrate to the United States. After receiving a visa, he left Haifa by ship in late December 1937 and docked in San Francisco six weeks later. In 1939, he managed to bring his wife Else to the United States along with their two children, Reiner and Steffi.

Jörg Waßmer

Categorie(s): Berlin | emigration | physicians
Passport issued to Herbert Schwalbe, Berlin, 3 June 1933, pages 2 and 3 with a passport photo and a description of some his features.
Gift of Stephanie Wells.