Item #771 Certificat de Calatorie. / Certificat de Călătorie. 1964. [Romanian Travel Document to Israel.]

Certificat de Calatorie. / Certificat de Călătorie. 1964. [Romanian Travel Document to Israel.]

Bucharest: Issued by the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs. 1960. 1 page official, printed document. Filled in ink. With mounted black and white portrait of the holder. On verso filled and signed transit visa stamps of the Israeli, Folded twice, damaged at foldings. Chipped at extremities. Overall in ok condition.

After the Holocaust Romania had the largest surviving Jewish population in Eastern Europe, with 300,000 people. With the growth of the power of the Communism and the establishment of the Jewish States the urge for aliyah, immigration to Israel, increased among the Jewry in the country, but the Romanian Communists didn’t want to let them go for free. They regarded the minorities as valuable hostages, so a negotiation started with Israel about a ransom.

Immediately after the iron curtain was sprang up following World War II, Henry Jacober, a British businessman with Jewish origins started to help Romanian Jews to escape from their country. In the early 1950s the smuggling shifted to official level when Jacober was recruited by the Romanian intelligence service and started a secret negotiation with Israel to convince the Jewish State to pay for the Jews who emigrate.

As a first stage Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, then the communist leader of Romania, agreed to let 500 Jewish families leave in exchange of building a chicken farm in Romania. By the mid 1960s Israel, working through Jacober, funded several agricultural projects in Romania, many chicken, turkey and pig farms, automated slaughterhouses, storehouses and packing plants, even a factory producing Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in exchange for Jewish families. Between 1958 and 1966 an average of 14,000 Jew left Romania per year.

When Ceausescu took over in 1965, he reduced Jewish emigration and canceled all former deals for about two years, until he could reach that Israel payed in cash for each person with the average price of $4,000. The ransom continued until the fall of the iron curtain and the Romanian, Israeli and American intelligence sources agreed that the take by that time was more than $1 billion.

Those who could leave the country received an official travel document such as this, a “Certificat de Călătorie”, and they were automatically expelled from schools, universities or their work, and were labeled as “enemy of the people”.

The holder of this travel document was Emilia Nathan who was born in 1906 in Constanța a Romanian port city on Black Sea with a small Jewish population of about 1,500 people. When she applied for the document already lived in Bucharest. As the stamps of the legations on the document implies she left the country in 1965, first to Hungary and via Austria to Italy. She supposedly reached Israel by a ferry on the Mediterranean Sea.

A rare and important historical document.


Price: €1,500.00