I have already written several articles about Carl Lutz, the Swiss Vice-Consul who saved many Jewish lives during the Holocaust in Budapest, Hungary. But today, I like to show you Lutz’s travel documents used in 1929, 1941, and 1950. I thank the “Archiv für Zeitgeschichte” in Zürich, Switzerland, for providing me with pictures of two of the passports. The 1929 document, which is a US passport, was kindly provided by my dear friend Agnes Hirschi, the stepdaughter of Lutz. Furthermore, I included the Swiss passport of Carl’s wife Magda, which was a generous gift from Agnes to me some years ago. Her travel document is remarkable as it was one of the last passports issued by Carl Lutz in his final position in Bregenz, Austria, in 1961. passports carl lutz swiss
What Carl Lutz did during his duty from 1942 to 1945, even when facing Heinrich Himmler in Budapest, was much more than just fulfilling his obligations. In such dark times, during war and Holocaust, he acted not only human but brave and righteous. Indeed, there were not many men of his character during these years. passports carl lutz swiss
Carl Lutz issued so-called protection letters and protection passes, a kind of document he had already “invented” years before in Palestine, covering German diplomatic interests vis-à-vis Great Britain in 1940. These documents were later also used (copied) by Wallenberg, Born, Rotta, and others to save even more Jewish lives.
For me, Carl Lutz is the “Inventor” of these Schutzbriefe and Schutzpaesse (Protection letters and protection passes); hence, his actions play a much more significant role than other righteous diplomats. Hundreds of thousands more Jews would have perished without such documents in the Holocaust. passports carl lutz swiss