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Travel kit
Concealment device

During the Cold War, the travel kit shown here was a popular concealment device for smuggling secret documents into a country. It was used by Eastern Block countries, like the USSR (Russia) and the DDR (East-Germany) to hide fake passports and One-Time Pads (OTPs) when travelling.
During the 1960s, the personal care kit shown here was a very popular accessory for business people travelling around the globe. It is a rather large leather 'wallet' that roughly measures 28 x 17 x 5 cm and contains a razor, toothbrush, nail cutter, shaving mirrow, tooth picks, cloth brush, comb, etc. Basically, everything you would need for personal maintenance when on the move.

What makes this kit special, is that it contains a secret compartment, also known as a stash or concealment container, invisible to the naked eye and also to the X-ray equipment at customs.
Traval kit concealment courtesy AIVD Netherlands [1]

After inserting a pin into a tiny little hole at a specific location and pushing it down, a secret lock is disengaged and a trap door is opened.

In this case, the diagonal brown leather bar at the bottom right is the trap door and the pin has to be inserted into a tiny little hole to the right of the file. After pushing the pin down, the brown leather bar can be shifted to the left, after which the trapdoor can be removed. This reveals a narrow opening that resembles a letter box.
Courtesy AIVD Netherlands [1]
Inside the container is an orange 'bag' with a rope at the end, that allows it to be easily removed from the container. The bag is large enough to hold one or two passports, money, secret documents and several OTP booklets.

The travel kit shown here is from the internal collection of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and was found in the mid-1960s on a Dutch man who actually was an East-German agent and who regularly travelled between The Netherlands and the DDR. He used it to carry a passport and a small OTP booklet.
Courtesy AIVD Netherlands [1]

The extra passport was needed as he was travelling under a false identity in order to avoid East-European stamps in his real passport. The OTP booklet was for decoding encrypted messages that were sent to him via the Numbers Stations on the short wave radio bands and also to send messages via his Russian R-353 spy radio set that was hidden in his home in The Netherlands.
Inconspicuous travel kit Inconspicuous travel kit Inconspicuous travel kit - left angle view Front view Overview of the items in the travel kit Left side of the travel kit Right side of the travel kit Access to the concealment container
Hidden access to the concealment container Position of the secret lock Removing the items at the bottom right Opening the secret lock Pulling the leather bar to the left Concealment container revealed Removing the bag from the concealment container Removing the items from the bag

The diagram below gives an overview of the various items inside the kit. Kits like these were very common during the 1950s and 1960s and are even used today by some vintage enthusiasts. The kit consists of a leather wallet with a zipper that can be opened like a book. It contains the usual items for washing, shaving, polishing the shoes, brushing the teeth and manicuring the nails.

Overview of the items inside the kit. Click for a close-up.

Invisible to the naked eye is a concealment compartment that is hidden in the right half of the kit. It can be accessed through a trap door that is hidden behind the diagonal brown leather bar at the bottom right. The user has to insert a pin at a specific place and pull the bar sideways to the left, in order to removed the trap door. To avoid detection of the compartment during an X-ray at customs, a metal plate is embedded behind the grey lining of the right half.
  1. AIVD, One-Time Pad and OTP concealment
    Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service. October 2010.

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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 30 August 2015. Last changed: Sunday, 15 January 2017 - 09:06 CET.
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