Unusual Carl Lutz Schutzbrief with two pictures

Swiss Protection Letter HolocaustCarl Lutz

Carl Lutz was a Swiss Consul who served in Budapest, Hungary during World War II. Despite facing significant challenges and opposition, he used his position to save over 50,000* Jewish lives from the Holocaust by issuing them Swiss protective papers and providing them with safe houses.

He is often referred to as the “Swiss Schindler” for his bravery and selflessness in the face of such immense evil. Lutz’s actions serve as a reminder of the power of one individual to make a profound impact and challenge unjust systems. His legacy continues to inspire people around the world to fight against hatred and stand up for what is right.

* This means that the number of 62,000 mentioned in many sources may not be accurate due to the presence of counterfeits and other factors that can affect the accuracy of the estimates. It’s important to consider multiple sources and cross-reference them to get a better understanding of historical events and figures. Historical research is ongoing and new information and insights can come to light that may alter our understanding of events. It’s essential to approach historical research with a critical eye and be open to revising our understanding as new evidence emerges. It’s also important to acknowledge the limitations of our sources and the difficulties of accurately estimating numbers from the past. This underscores the importance of continuing to critically examine and re-evaluate historical events to ensure that our understanding remains as accurate as possible.

The Schutzbrief (Protection letter) Carl Lutz Schutzbrief Fischer

The document before us is a Schutzbrief, a form of protection issued by the Swiss Legation in Budapest, dated October 23rd, 1944. While the form and text of the document are typical, it is noteworthy that two photographs have been attached, possibly by the bearer himself, Mr. FISCHER HUGO. The inclusion of these photos imbues the document with a personal touch, rendering it unique from the standard versions of the Schutzbrief. The presence of the distinctive red stamp of the Swiss Legation adds a seal of authenticity and attests to the document’s origin.

Carl Lutz Schutzbrief Fischer
Swiss Schutzbrief 1944 with self-attached photographs and the original contemporary photocopy.

The document is issued to FISCHER HUGO és neje = Hugo Fischer and his wife (KAROLINA).

Carl Lutz Schutzbrief Fischer
Swiss Schutzbrief 1944 for Hugo and Karolina FISCHER

The photo copy of the document reveals a fascinating detail – there were no photographs attached to the original Schutzbrief. However, this absence is more than compensated by the presence of several other important documents, including Mr. FISCHER HUGO’s Social Democratic Party ID from 1945 and two machine-typed curricula vitae from June 1951.

The discovery of these additional documents elevates the significance and adds depth to the story behind this Schutzbrief. It gives us a glimpse into the life and experiences of the bearer, and allows us to connect with the individual behind the document. The combination of the Schutzbrief and these supplementary documents creates a vivid picture, making this find a truly exceptional and valuable artifact.

The Carl Lutz Society Carl Lutz Schutzbrief Fischer

The Carl Lutz Society is an organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Swiss consul who saved 50,000+ Jewish lives during the Holocaust. The society works to educate the public about Lutz’s heroic actions and to promote the values of humanity and compassion that he embodied. Through its initiatives and events, the Carl Lutz Society strives to keep the memory of this remarkable individual alive and to inspire future generations to follow in his footsteps.

Agnes Hirschi, the stepdaughter of Carl Lutz is the honorary president of the society.



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FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...