Introduction of identity cards for Jews over age 15 were to go into effect on 1 January 1939.
After Hitler came to power in 1933, the situation for German Jews and in areas later annexed by Germany towards the end of the 1930’s became worse by the day with newer legislation being implemented more radically and more frequently. The overall aim was to separate the Jews from the non-Jewish population, and this was being done in every possible way: economical, legal and at the end even physical.
Anti Jewish legislation appeared as early as 1933 and reached a climax in 1935, following the Nuremberg Laws that would actually define who was Jewish and who was not, with special charts to trace back ancestry all the way back to the 19th century.
Jews were not permitted in public places, Jewish doctors were not allowed to treat non-Jews and Jewish lawyers and teachers were banned from every aspect of normal integration in a country that once was deemed their home. Total separation and total isolation at the end.
It was only after Kristallnacht of November 9th 1938 that it became all clear to everyone that things will not improve or calm down. By then it was already nearly impossible to leave Germany or occupied Austria by normal means of passport and visa issuing: most countries around the world did not want Jewish immigrants or refugees inside their borders and they made that very clear with tightening entry regulations and stricter immigration conditions. Those who did not manage to leave before 1938, most likely, would perish in the Holocaust. (The Swiss even had the Germans stamp Jewish passport holders with a large red J
on the title page by the beginning of October 1938, an effective means to make out who was Jewish and who was not).
The documents in this article are not related directly to passports but they are of importance since without an ID of some form it was not possible to obtain a passport or travel document in order to allow the holder, in Nazi controlled areas, to emigrate or escape.
After the events of Kristallnacht of November 9-10th of 1939, the German authorities implemented a new set of identity papers for its citizens: ID cards for its “German” citizens and a set of papers for non-Aryan citizens, or to be more precise, for the Jews.
These were printed around August, we can tell by the imprint that appears on them. The earliest sample I have seen dates from January of 1939 and were printed on grey-clothed linen material, that could be folded in half and fit into a pocket-coat or bag (though Kinderausweis (ID cards for children under the age of 15) appeared already before 1939 with a hand applied red J on them). The difference between an Aryan and non-Aryan identity card is the Swastika and large J on the cover: Non-Jews had the Swastika affixed ID card while the Jews would have the large J instead (the ID cards would also have a large yellow J imprint inside the left part of the document).
At the top of the article I gave specific years for when these documents where used: Officially the year they were printed was 1938, but they began to appear at the beginning of 1939 and used up to 1941, when that was the last year that Jews under control of the Reich could leave: Around October of 1941 Jews were prevented of leaving and deportation east began to occupied territories, such as to the Ghettos in Lodz, Minks Kaunas and Riga. In all cases, those deported east perished in the death camps or in the shooting ditches in the Baltic States and the last to be deported east to the camps for extermination where the German Jews themselves with the last deportations by 1943.
Among the images I have added here are samples of both type of ID cards that were printed at the end of 1938 (First two for use by Jews (one even reused after the war in 1945, most likely for a Jew in hiding), last sample for a non-Jew and even post war “usage” in the Russian zone) and also of the official name changing registration police card from 1939, where the holder had changed her name by adding SARA to it: this was compulsory for Jewish women where as the men added ISRAEL (implementation began in January 1939). An image of a “Children under age 15 Kinder-Ausweis” used for Palestine, issued to a stateless child, is added as well.