John Lennon's Hamburg Work Permits
See documents below
What was it like growing up in Liverpool, a reporter once asked John Lennon. "The Beatles didn't grow up in Liverpool," Lennon replied. "We grew up in Hamburg."
From May 1960 to April 1961, the Quarry Men (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe) were managed by Allan Williams, 29-year-old owner of the Jacaranda, a small coffee bar in central Liverpool. Through a connection with Bruno Koschmider, a Hamburg club-owner, Williams was able to book the Quarry Men, now renamed The Beatles, for an engagement at the Indra club in Hamburg's notorious Reeperbahn red-light district.

Passports were quickly arranged, a drummer was found (Pete Best), and on August 16, 1960 the musicians loaded their gear into a van and departed by ferry from Harwich to Hamburg. There was no time to arrange for work permits. That was left until their arrival in Hamburg on August 17.

The Beatles performed at the Indra until October 4 when they moved to another of Koschmider's clubs, The Kaiserkeller. Five weeks into their stint at The Kaiserkeller, German authorities discovered that George Harrison was underage (17). On November 21 he was deported, returning to Liverpool while the rest of the group remained in Hamburg to play out the terms of their contract.

Soon afterwards, McCartney and Best were also deported for allegedly causing a fire in their living quarters at the club.  They too returned to Liverpool. John followed on December 10, while Stuart remained in Hamburg with his German girlfriend, Astrid.

Shrewdly, before leaving Hamburg The Beatles negotiated a return visit in April 1961, this time at the more upscale Top Ten club, owned by Koschmider's competitor Peter Eckhorn.

In all, The Beatles' time in Hamburg breaks down as follows: August 17-October 3, 1960 (Indra Club); October 4-November 30, 1960 (The Kaiserkeller); April 1-July 1, 1961 (Top Ten Club); April 13-May 31, 1962 (Star-Club).

The 20 pages below are John Lennon's German work permits, covering the time periods mentioned above.

I acquired the papers several years ago from a Beatle collector who purchased them at auction in the mid-1980s. Page 10 is of particular interest as it includes a passport photo of John Lennon, age 19.  The photo may have been taken in Liverpool, an "extra" from the passport photo session ... or it may have been taken at a coin-operated photo-booth in Hamburg in mid-August, 1960.  Either way, it's "one of a kind".
Click on the images below to view the documents "actual size" (they're large files and may require a few seconds to download).
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