Passport issued to Walter Benjamin

Passport issued to Walter Benjamin, Berlin-Grunewald, 10 August 1928

Passport issued to Walter Benjamin, Berlin-Grunewald, 10 August 1928

Passport issued to Walter Benjamin, Berlin-Grunewald, 10 August 1928

The visas in the passport of Walter Benjamin record stays in Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Norway and Poland. A visa for Palestine dating from 1929 remained unused. Benjamin’s departure from Germany was sealed with an entry permit to France dated 16 March 1933, which told of the fate of thousands of émigrés: “Employment forbidden. A carte d’identité is required for any stay exceeding two months.”


Walter Benjamin (1882, Paris; 1940, Portbou, Spain) was an essayist, critic, philosopher, and translator. He went into exile in Paris in 1933 and was stripped of his German citizenship in 1939. After internment at the Clos St. Joseph camp in Nevers at the outbreak of war, he returned to Paris in 1940 before fleeing German occupation troops in June to Lourdes in southern France and then to Marseilles. He committed suicide (aged 48) after his escape over the Pyrenees failed.


Displayed in the exhibition "Uncertain States. Artistic Strategies in States of Emergency", 15 Oct 2016 — 15 Jan 2017

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