Portion of NKVD Pass from 1942

This exhibit is the remains of a NKVD travel pass that permitted its holder to transfer from Buzuluk, Russia to Akmolinsk (today known as Astana), Kazakhstan in 1942. A large part of the pass has been lost due to wear and tear. What remains is roughly the size of a modern bank card.

It belonged to one Mikolaj Rogalski. (The Christian name Mikolaj translates as Nicholas in English and Nikolai in Russian.) His father’s Christian name was Antoni (Russian Anton). Mikolaj re-enlisted in the Polish Army in 1942 at Buzuluk, USSR after being released from internment as a Prisoner of War, following his arrest in, and deportation from, eastern Poland in 1939. The pass permitted “Nikolai, son of Anton to transfer” in the first wave of evacuation from Russian territory “through Akmolinsk”, across the Caspian Sea to the Middle East with the Polish Second Corps in 1942.

From this, and the fact that the pass has been duplicated on a Gestetner machine, it is more than likely that all (newly enlisted) Polish army personnel leaving Russian internment for the Middle East in 1942 were issued with a similar travel pass. It is unclear whether Polish civilians who transferred south to the Middle East with the Polish army were issued with a similar travel pass.