1944 Swedish Protection Pass (Schutz-Pass)

8 May, 2011

Following up on previous article about Wallenberg

www.passport-collector.com

After training as an architect at the University of Michigan, Wallenberg became First Secretary to the Swedish legation in Budapest in 1944 and began his effort to save Hungarian Jews who were being deported to Nazi death camps.

With the arrival of the Red Army in Budapest in January 1945, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets on suspicion of spying for the United States and disappeared.DS, in German and Swedish, quickly signed with an ink scribble (as he commonly did on documents of this type, due to the overwhelming number he needed to sign), one page, 8.25 x 13.5, September 23, 1944. Blue and gold two-language Schutz-Pass issued to Elisabeth Steinhardt. Upper left provides her personal information including her 1888 birth date, height, eye and hair color. Adjacent to her personal information is a 1 x 1 clipped photo of Steinhardt, with her signature underneath. Bottom portion bears printed statements in German and Swedish, signed at the bottom by Wallenburg, and countersigned by a Swedish minister. A couple minor separations to central horizontal and vertical fold, as well as a pinpoint size area of paper loss where folds cross, a light brush to signature, pencil notation to top right, a few creases, and some scattered light toning and soiling, otherwise very good condition.

Wallenberg arrived in Hungary in July 1944 as the country’s Jewish population was under siege. Nearly every other major Jewish community in Europe had already been decimated, and the Nazis were dispatching more than 10,000 Hungarian Jews to the gas chambers daily. With time of the essence, he devised and distributed thousands of these ‘Schutz-Passes’-official-looking, but essentially invalid, Swedish passports granting the Hungarian bearer immunity from deportation. Nazi officials readily accepted the paperwork.Thus, with his simple, nondescript scribble on this offered page, Wallenberg saved the life of Elisabeth Steinhardt-just as he had done with tens of thousands of other Jews in Hungary. An announcement that any Jew, even those holding foreign citizenship, would be interred led to the urgency of Wallenberg’s plan to save as many lives as he could. During a six-month period, Wallenberg signed as many of these documents as humanly possible, until his own disappearance four months later. An important reminder of one heroic man’s tireless efforts to outwit the Nazis and save countless Jewish lives.

The document was at auction on May 11, 2011. According the results list the item was withdrawn!

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