Chaim Weizmann’s Passport

A passport can be a profoundly personal thing, as Orhan Pamuk wrote in the New Yorker. But it can sometimes mean a whole lot more. Chaim Weizmann, eminent scientist and statesman, was Israel’s first president. When I was at the Weizmann Institute of Science (founded by Weizmann and renamed in his honor in 1949) a few summers ago doing research, I had the opportunity to take a tour of his home. This home, on the grounds of the Institute, was used to greet foreign dignitaries and host a great deal of gatherings. From what I remember, most of the house didn’t particularly interest me. But off to the side, there was a display of Weizmann’s personal effects, including his passport, which I scrutinized. After looking a little more carefully, I noticed the number of Weizmann’s Israeli passport: ‘1’. Never has founding a country had so clear an effect on one’s travel papers.

Update: Here’s photographic evidence of the passport number (click the top photo to zoom in).

9 Responses to “Chaim Weizmann’s Passport”

  1. Jessica Friedman November 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm Permalink

    That’s sweet! You’ve inspired to me found a country just so I can have Passport No. 1.

  2. zachK November 30, 2010 at 3:58 pm Permalink

    I took the same tour when I spent a summer at the institute. The passport indeed says #1.

  3. Samuel Arbesman November 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm Permalink

    Anyone have a photo of it?

  4. Mae December 1, 2010 at 8:54 am Permalink

    I took a photo that shows the number 001 — I can’t recall ever noticing it before.

  5. Samuel Arbesman December 1, 2010 at 10:11 am Permalink

    If you pass it along, I can post it online!

  6. Mae December 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm Permalink

    The photo is online: it’s on my blog — http://hero-or-antihero.blogspot.com/2010/01/chaim-weizmann-november-2-1874.html

  7. Samuel Arbesman December 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm Permalink

    Thanks! I added a link to the post.

  8. Makenzie Cloninger January 9, 2012 at 6:40 am Permalink

    Thanks a lot for the article post.Really thank you! Awesome.

  9. Nigel Winebrenner January 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm Permalink

    I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Much thanks again. Really Great.