Raoul Wallenberg Signed Document
Rare life-saving Schutz-Pass from World War II hero to rescue a Hungarian Jew from Holocaust horrors
Wallenberg was recruited by the US War Refugee Board (WRB) during WWII in June 1944 to travel to Hungary. Given status as a diplomat by the Swedish legation, Wallenberg's task was to do what he could to assist and save Hungarian Jews. Despite a complete lack of experience in diplomacy and clandestine operations, he led one of the most extensive and successful rescue efforts during the Holocaust; his work preventing the deportation of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews by the Nazi war machine.
By July 1944, the Hungarians and the Germans had deported nearly 440,000 Jews from Hungary, almost all of them to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the SS killed approximately 320,000 of them upon arrival and deployed the rest at forced labor in Auschwitz and other camps. Nearly 200,000 Jews remained in Budapest; the Hungarian authorities intended to deport them as well, in compliance with German requests.
With time of the essence, Wallenberg 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. Wallenberg used unconventional methods, including bribery and blackmail, in order to finance and run his huge rescue operation. Together with other legations and international organizations, the diplomat set up the international ghetto, its inhabitants under the protection of neutral countries. Wallenberg’s bold methods put him in great danger, but he never thought of stopping. When Soviet forces liberated Budapest in February 1945, more than 100,000 Jews remained, mostly because of the efforts of Wallenberg and his colleagues.
With his simple, nondescript scribble on this Schutz-Pass, Wallenberg saved Franz Halasz—an important reminder of one heroic man’s tireless efforts to outwit the Nazis and save countless lives. This unique piece will be of great interest to Judaica collectors and the like.
DS in German and Hungarian, quickly signed in ink, “R” (as typical on documents of this type), one page, 8.25 x 13.25, August 26, 1944. Blue and gold two-language Schutz Pass issued to Franz Halasz. The upper left section is filled out in type with personal information including his 1893 birth date, height, and eye and hair color. Affixed adjacent to his personal information is a passport-style photo bearing an official ink stamp. The bottom portion bears printed statements in German and Hungarian, briskly signed in the lower left corner by Wallenberg, and countersigned by Swedish Minister to Budapest Carl Ivan Danielsson.
In very good condition, with central vertical and horizontal folds with a pinhole at the intersection, small edge separations at folds, and some scattered creases. Accompanied by a related document bearing a stamped Wallenberg signature.