Here comes an outstanding and awarded video book app about Swiss Diplomat CARL LUTZ who saved sixty-thousand Jewish lives by issuing so-called “SCHUTZPÄSSE (PROTECTION LETTERS)” in Budapest in 1944.
This video trailer of “Carl Lutz – The Forgotten Hero” – A film from Daniel von Aarburg (SRF), gives you the first impression of the life and work of this “Righteous Diplomat.” He was one of a small group of seventeen (17) diplomats worldwide who acted in humanity rather than in bureaucracy to save Jews of certain death. At such difficult times and circumstances, his actions were outstanding, and he leads the way with invented “SCHUTZPÄSSE (PROTECTION LETTERS)” for diplomats like Raoul Wallenberg (Sweden), Angelo Rotta (Vatican), and others to save even more lives. Lutz was also a skilled photographer and cameraman. You will see great photographs of him made during his career as a diplomat.
As Vice Consul in British Palestine, he gained much respect from the Germans after the beginning of WWII in 1939, which was later on for him as Vice-Consul in Budapest a huge advantage, as he was able to discuss several times direct with Adolf Eichmann (a major organizer of the Holocaust) about the Jewish community. There is an interesting video in the app where Lutz shares his impressions about these meetings with Eichmann. But it was also in Palestine where he saw such lifesaving certificates issued by the British.
Lutz saved the lives of tens of thousands of people. As in the case of Paul Grüninger, however, his achievements were not immediately recognized in Switzerland. Soon after the war, the government had first been criticized for having exceeded his authority, as officials were fearful of endangering Switzerland’s neutral status. In 1958, as part of the Swiss national rethinking of the war years, Lutz was “rehabilitated” in terms of public reputation, and his achievements were honored.
- 1963, a street in Haifa, Israel, was named after him.
- 1965, Lutz was the first Swiss national named to the “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, the Jewish people’s memorial to the Holocaust.
- Lutz was decorated with the Cross of Honor, Order of Merit, Federal Republic of Germany.
- Carl Lutz was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 1991, a memorial dedicated to him was erected at the entrance to the old Budapest ghetto.
- 2014 George Washington University in Washington, DC, posthumously honored Lutz with the President’s Medal in a ceremony attended by various international dignitaries and his daughter Agnes Hirschi.
The video book won the first eBook award at the international book fair in Frankfurt in 2014. The app “Carl Lutz – The forgotten hero” combines exclusive video statements of survivors, interactive graphics, photo material (partly made by Lutz himself), and extended text to tell the story of this outstanding Swiss Diplomat is – till today – less known.
As a collector and researcher of historical passports & Holocaust protection letters, I can say the part of the “SCHUTZPASS (PROTECTION LETTER) SYSTEM” is most interesting and well explained even this topic is, of course, just a small part of the whole story. But I also learned some new facts about Lutz’s actions in Budapest. E.g., Lutz prevented the killings of Jews on Budapest’s streets by the Fascist Hungarian Templers and saved a serious shot wounded woman from the river Danube.
After the war, Lutz was Swiss Consul in Bregenz / Austria from 1954 – 1961. He always was suffering over the missing esteem in the homeland of his achievements in Budapest. Shortly before, Lutz’s dead cameraman, Theo Rais, recorded Lutz’s last interview, which was unpublished into the archives. This last interview is also the content of this video book app. Lutz died suddenly due to a heart attack in Feb 1975.
It took another 20 years when Switzerland finally & officially rehabilitated and honored him together with Paul Grüninger.
The production company DOCMINE put the story into a well-made multimedia app, which I strongly recommend to get as it’s educating & entertaining at the same time. The app is available in German, French, and Italian and can be downloaded for free at the iTunes store. By the way, the above-mentioned film is included in full in the app! An English version is in preparation.
By the way, I met once with György Vamos, who is seen in the video, at the GLASS HOUSE in Budapest while I showed him some of my just acquired LUTZ and LANGLET SCHUTZPÄSSE (PROTECTION LETTERS). Later on, I sent him copies for the GLASSHOUSE archive.