Lot #1039
Raoul Wallenberg Signed Document

Incredibly rare document issuing a Schutz-Pass to save a Hungarian Jew

Estimate: $0+

Description

Incredibly rare document issuing a Schutz-Pass to save a Hungarian Jew

Exceedingly rare DS, one page, 8 x 5.75, September 26, 1944. Document submitted to the National Central Authority for Control of Foreigners, Budapest. In full (translated): “We have the honor to let you know that the Royal Embassy of Sweden in Budapest has issued to Mr. Janos Karoly a Protection Passport in accordance to which the above named shall be considered a Swedish subject. The Embassy is respectfully requesting that the above named should be exempted to wear a distinctive insignia. The Embassy is certifying that a valid reciprocity with Sweden is in existence concerning the applicable ruling.” Stamped at the conclusion by the embassy with the Swedish coat of arms. In fine condition, with intersecting folds, mild overall creases, and an insignificant stain to the upper left.

Upon occupying Hungary in March of 1944, the Nazi regime immediately began its mass deportation of the country’s Jews to concentration camps in Poland—at a rate of roughly 12,000 people per day, over 435,000 Hungarian citizens had been sent to their deaths by early July. In search of someone willing and able to organize a rescue program in Budapest, US Treasury Department official Iver C. Olsen (dispatched by Roosevelt to Stockholm as a representative of the War Refugee Board) selected Wallenberg. His extensive business work in Budapest, along with his familiarity with the Nazis’ bureaucratic and administrative methods from previous trips to Germany and occupied-France, made him the ideal candidate for the job. Together with fellow Swedish diplomat Per Anger, Wallenberg issued ‘protective passports’ that identified the bearers as Swedish subjects awaiting repatriation, and earned them an exemption from having to wear the yellow badge required for Jews. During his time in this position—which was abruptly brought to an end on January 17, 1945, when the Red Army seized Budapest and took him prisoner—he saved tens of thousands of lives. Anything signed by Wallenberg is extraordinarily hard to find and sought-after; this document, granting one of the life-saving passports that made him an internationally recognized humanitarian, is by far the finest we have seen.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarity Auction
  • Dates: #438 - Ended September 16, 2014