Re: When were Jews in Galicia (Poland and now Ukraine) allowed to have passports? #galicia

Alexander Sharon

Galician passport (Reise-pass)

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the citizens of Galicia enjoyed many personal and political freedoms.
A person crossing state borders did not have to be controlled by border services since during the time of the constitutional monarchy, there were no passport requirements in Austro-Hungary.
The final lifting of the mandatory control of passports at the state border took place by the imperial decree of November 6, 1865.
Instead, an obligation has been introduced to identify the bodies authorized to do so at each request.
Following the instructions of March 6, 1857, police authorities within the country could demand the presentation of an appropriate document only from a person suspected of having violated the law or even seemed "undesirable".
Therefore, it was in the traveler's interest to present a travel document, as it could be evidence of innocence in the event of a suspected offense.

Passports issued in 1900 had 16 pages. They were issued on the identical, printed form.

Personal details of the passport holder, such as: name and surname, employment, residence in the poviat, the crown country were shown on the first page.
The second page contained a description of the owner (Personsbeschreibung des Inhabers) and his signature.
The third page provided the purpose and duration of the document, the fourth page mentioned persons (with a sketch) traveling with the passport holder.

Detailed guidelines regarding all the required requirements to be met when issuing passports in Galicia were contained in a rescript of the Galicia c.k. Governorship from August 12, 1890.

This included information about the documents required for travel to America: "To avoid possible obstacles on the road, may Austrian male subjects, provided they are under 45, obtain one of the following documents before traveling to America:

1. Passport issued for a trip to America; or
2. Confirmation of the " starostwo" administration that he had fulfilled his duty to appear before the Conscript Committee 
3. Proof of payment of the military fee or release from it, or
4. Certificate  releasing person from the Army, Navy or the National defense, if the certificate does not contain the provision that the owner of the same is still obliged to appear before the Recruitment Commission; or
5. Briefing from military service ("Abscheid"); or Landstrum-pass ") or
6. For men over 45 years old, and for women and adult girls, a workers' book or a certificate of morality 

Minors must have a passport or a permit to travel to America, issued by their father or guardian and confirmed by the relevant c.k. Governorship or municipal office.
Such permission is even necessary if the minor travels in the company of his mother, who does not have any official document, confirming that she is the only guardian of the minor.
Please note that above text is Google translated from the article titled: "Galician Passport" (Reise-pass) from the publication of Rzeszow Ethnographic Museum. It also exhibits sample of the Galicai Passport at


Alexander Sharon
Calgary, AB

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