The Little-Known Passport That Protected 450,000 Refugees


“At first, Nansen brokered individual arrangements. He sent some groups to Czechoslovakia and the United States, ensured that refugee camps had clothing and provisions, and made universities in those countries that belonged to the League of Nations promise to educate Russian students. But the problem outstripped this pace of action. What refugees really needed was a way to make lives for themselves—to travel, so as to find opportunity, and to work, so as to establish themselves in their new homes. They needed some kind of identity document. “