Polish Aliyah Passports
The Award-Winning Searchable Database of Indexes to Jewish Records of Poland
JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
 
Project to index genealogical collections at
the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
in cooperation with
The Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (New York)
 Polish Aliyah Passports

In the 1930s as the shadow of history was lengthening over the Jews of Europe, several thousand Polish Jews managed to emigrate to what was then British Mandate Palestine. The 'Passports' collection in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland (Warsaw) consists of 3,754 Polish passports issued primarily during this period.

The data in this passport file has been added to the Jewish Records Indexing-Poland database and is searchable by surname. We want to thank the contributors to JRI-Poland's Aliyah Passport Project for helping the project become fully funded. We also especially want to thank Michael Tobias and Howard Fink of JRI-Poland, as well as Yale Reisner and Ania Przybyszewska of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, as well as the Jewish Genealogical Society Inc. (New York) for their important roles in this historic project.

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Nosek Lewkowicz (Goworowo)

Fradel Landau and children (Krakow)

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Szaja and Estera Korn (Tymbark)

Passport Stamps

These passports not only bear photos and signatures of the bearers (in most cases), but the various official stamps and seals that appear inside trace the entire route taken by the emigrant and (on occasion) onward travels to other countries, providing precise dates for each leg of the journey.

Passports include date of birth, place of birth, last place of residence, occupation and civil status (single, married, etc.). The name of the child or the number of children appear in some instances.

This collection spans the years 1929 to 1939. Following the invasion of Poland in 1939, it was no longer possible for Polish consulates abroad (which continued to operate) to send used/expired passports back to Warsaw. As a result, the passports of later Polish immigrants to Palestine remained in Palestine.

 Accessing the Data

This is the first information to be added to the JRI-Poland database that is not based on a town or other geographical area. Therefore, if you want to search for a particular surname from the Passport File, you must search the entire JRI-Poland database (All Gubernias/All Provinces). If you limit your search to a Gubernia, Province, Town, or distance from particular geographic coordinates, you will not be able to retrieve the Passport File information for your surname.

Because of 100-year Polish privacy laws, the JRI-Poland on-line index will only contain the basic information for each individual. Researchers with an interest in passports that may be for family members must identify themselves as relatives when requesting copies of the passports from the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project at the Jewish Historical Institute.

Copies of these records may be ordered from the Jewish Historical Institute using this order form.

There are more than 2600 different surnames represented in the Passports.

JRI-Poland had developed a list of all surnames in the Polish Passports file, correlating each surname to the towns of birth and residence associated with that surnames in the file. Checking this SURNAME/Town list may refresh your memory about the names of family members you may have forgotten and for whom you can now search.

Click here for a list of all SURNAMES extracted from the Polish Passports file, along with the towns of birth and residence that apply to these surnames.

 Background to the Aliyah Passport File

It appears that the rule in force at the time was that emigrating Polish citizens, upon receiving identity documents in their new homeland, were to turn in their Polish passports to the Polish Consulate at their destination. Invalidated passports were then sent by the local Polish Consulate back to the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw, where they were filed away in government archives. Some Polish Jewish emigrants to Palestine may have kept their passports, despite the regulations of the time, so if you do not find a particular name, it does not mean that individual did not emigrate.

At some point, the Polish Government decided that these "Palestine passports" are Jewish historical documents and the collection was transferred to the Jewish Historical Institute. Only recently were these passports finally sorted, alphabetized and computer indexed.

 Towns

Because Inter-war Poland included areas that are now part of Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine, there are passports from towns such as Pinsk, Grodno, Kobryn, and Lida, now in Belarus, from Wilno and Ejszyszki, now in Lithuania, and from Lwow and Stanislawow (Ivano Frankovsk), now in Ukraine.

References to German towns as places of birth are typically for the children of Polish Jews living in Germany. They were considered subjects of Poland.

Click here for a list of all towns and villages mentioned as places of birth in the Polish Passports file. This list does not include towns mentioned only as places of residence.

For inquiries related to this project, please contact Polish Passport Project Coordinator Judy Baston.

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