Moacir P. de Sá Pereira on March 24th, 2009
A list of refugees flying to Canada from Bremen in 1948.

A list of refugees flying to Canada from Bremen in 1948.

Not much has been going on in the “Guide to a Passport” front, as I’m waiting for Michigan to send me a copy of my grandfather’s death certificate. I mentioned in my last post, however, that a professor at my university recommended that I contact the International Tracing Service based in Arolsen, Germany, about documents regarding my grandparents. I wasn’t expecting to hear back from them, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear back before I heard back from Michigan!

Yet I got in the mail four photocopies from Germany. The first page is a letter from the “Director, Interzonal Movements,” describing the contents of the second page, “Nominal Roll/s in respect of the above mentioned move ex Bremen/Grohn today 10th November of 150 Displaced Persons proceeding to England for onward air flight to Canada.” The other two pages are, I imagine, internee rolls from the DP-Camp Greven, which is where, apparently, my grandparents and uncle stayed. These photocopies are not legal documents, but I’ll translate them and incorporate them in my application.

I was not prepared for the affective response I experienced looking over these documents. I now had some kind of independent verification of the family history my mom had told me, and that saddened me. I suppose I had hoped it was a fiction–that my grandparents had to flee their homes, etc. Maybe they actually flew to Canada on unicorns or something for the lulz. After a fashion, of course, they did, considering that my grandparents ended up better off than countless millions of Europeans. So I shouldn’t feel too sorry for them; their healthy arrival in Canada directed the way toward my typing these words.

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5 Responses to “Unexpected proof of post-1940 flight from Lithuania”

  1. I’ve been going through this process in almost the exact same timeframe as you. I too have large gaps in information. I just hit the confusion surrounding apostilles, and searching on the web I just found your story. Did you get a copy of your US passport with apostille – and if so, how did you go about that? Can it be done at the state level? I’ll also need to do birth certificate, but am in California, born in Ohio so that will be another challenge…

  2. They photocopied my passport at the consulate. They don’t keep it. They also don’t, I suspect, care about it. You’re born in Ohio–that’s proof of US citizenship. The passport just proves you are who you say you are when you submit the application. If you’re not submitting in person, I suppose you could get a copy of your passport notarized and sent along. Getting the Lithuanian passport, however, may involve an in-person visit.

    At the federal level, apostilles are available from the Dept. of Authentication–I discussed that in an earlier post and linked to this:

    http://www.netherlands-embassy.....00001778EN

    They do a good job of explaining the process of getting an apostille for a federal document. Again, though, your passport probably doesn’t need it!

  3. Thanks for the passport info. I wonder how strict they are to the guidelines listed on the consulate website. Aside, I actually have one document from a displaced persons camp in Germany that lists my mother’s name and her parents names. I will inquire with ITS to see if they have others. Do you believe it possible, or necessary – to get an apostille on the documents from Germany? btw – I know you from about 18 years ago – small world…

  4. Haha… I just looked at yr email address. Alio, vadove…

    ITS won’t send anything legalized, at least they didn’t to me. Considering how disinterested the consul was in what I brought in to show the post-1940 leaving, I think you’re best off with:

    1. Your BC w/ apostille

    2. Your mom’s naturalization papers into the US w/ (fed) apostille. Assuming she’s still alive, you can have her do a FOIA search on herself and request the documents. Then you need to legalize them. That will possibly take up to two months, however.

    3. Your mom’s BC. If she was born in LT before 1940, get it from the Archyvai and you’re gold with just that. If she was born after 1940, you’ll need to then prove that her parents were LT citizens before 1940–which you can also do via the Archyvai.

    Of course, if your mom was a citizen of LT before 1940, nearly anything imaginable that proves that she was living in the US before 1990 will go–though, unfortunately, that might not include your birth certificate. Anything attesting to citizenship in the US, though, would be great. Naturalization papers would be best.

    Finally, talk to your consulatas–Vytautas in Chicago was very very useful for me.

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