German Eastern National Railway ID cards

By Bruce Kipp

Personal Identification Card

Following Nazi Germany’s conquest in September 1939, Poland’s western-most provinces were annexed to the Reich. The central and southern regions were organized as a German territory called the Generalgouvernement.

Generally, low-level administration was by the Polish bureaucrats who ran things under the former Polish government but now functioned under German officials appointed to key executive and administrative posts.

The obverse of the Ostbahn Personnenausweis identifies the holder, in this case, Henryk Wineiatz, a train conductor at the main train station in Kielce, a city in southeast Poland.

The obverse of the Ostbahn Personnenausweis identifies the holder, in this case, Henryk Wineiatz, a train conductor at the main train station in Kielce, a city in southeast Poland.

The railroad network was joined to the German railway system along with the railroads in German occupied Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania Latvia, Estonia and Western Russia. This enormous eastern rail network was designated the “Eastern Railways” (Ostbahn) and was administered as a division of the German National Railways (Deutsche Reichsbahn). Within a short time Ostbahn workers were issued identification documents similar to those of their Reichsbahn colleagues.

The reverse of this document displays a rather unusual means of validation. The more usual method would be to use an orange stamp pasted at the top center and sealed with an authenticating stamp.

The reverse of this document displays a rather unusual means of validation. The more usual method would be to use an orange stamp pasted at the top center and sealed with an authenticating stamp.

This Ostbahn personnel identification card is composed of beige, medium card stock, about 11cm x 15cm. It has a horizontal, postcard-style format. Printed in German and Polish, it identifies Henryk Wineiatz, a train conductor (Zugschaffner), as an Ostbahn employee at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof or  Hbf) in Kielce, a city in southeast Poland.

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