Genealogist in bid to reunite Nazi-era German passport with descendants of owner

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Genealogist in bid to reunite Nazi-era German passport with descendants of owner

Harry Sassoon has 'been working hard to try and find the rightful owners' of the document discovered in St Albans earlier this week

Tali is a reporter at Jewish News

Passport discovered in St Albans
Passport discovered in St Albans

The mysterious discovery of a Nazi-era German passport in a St. Albans street has sparked a campaign by an amateur genealogist to reunite it with descendants of the owner.

Harry Sassoon, who lives in St Albans, is one step closer to returning the passport to its owners family, after he discovered a confirmed relative in London, whose mother was the first cousin of the man pictured in the passport.

The passport from 1935, containing a photo of a Mr Wasserman, alongside his birth date, was found by a woman in the middle of Hatfield road. A photo of the passport was posted on a Facebook group for St Albans residents, asking for the owner, or anyone who knows them, to get in touch.

Harry Sassoon, whose family survived the Holocaust, contacted the woman who found the passport, offering to track down who it belongs to. Ever since, he told the Jewish News, he has “been working hard to try and find the rightful owners.” The ultimate aim, he said, is “reuniting the passport with any living descendants”.

Having spoken to a confirmed relative, Mr Sassoon learnt that Mr Wasserman’s only child died in 2016, leaving no descendants of his own. He is still hoping to track down the person whoever originally owned the passport but will arrange for the discovered relative to receive the passport if he is unsuccessful, as they are considering donating it to the Wiener Library.

Image of the passport posted on Facebook, which Harry used to track down relatives of the original owner

In the attempt to find the owner’s descendants, Mr Sassoon received support from World Jewish Relief, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britain, the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Board of Deputies.

The search for information on how the passport ended up in St Albans has been shared to another, Jewish, Facebook group, where Mr Sassoon says people have been checking in with friends or family with the last name Wasserman. The Rabbis of St Albans’ two synagogues were contacted, where they shared the request for information to their communities, but with no luck.

“No one has a clue”, said Mr Sassoon, “Practically every Jew in St Albans has heard about it, and there aren’t that many of us.”.

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