Auction 86 - Part I - Rare & Important Items

"Schutz-Pass" Signed by Raoul Wallenberg – With Letter Given to the Passport Bearer, Also Signed by Wallenberg – Exemption from Duty to Wear Yellow Badge

Opening: $7,500
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Sold for: $13,750
Including buyer's premium
Schutz-Pass ["Certificate (or passport) of Protection"] issued to the Jewish man Ernst (Ernő) Major by the Swedish Embassy in Budapest, with a "complementary letter" providing clarifications in Hungarian. Both documents personally signed by Raoul Wallenberg, "Righteous Among the Nations." September 28, 1944. German and Hungarian.
The Schutz-Pass attests that the bearer enjoys the protection of the Kingdom of Sweden. Hand signed by the Swedish ambassador Carl Ivan Danielsson and bearing the inked stamps of the Swedish Embassy in Budapest. In the lower left corner there is an additional hand signature – albeit one apparently made swiftly, and not readily decipherable – that of Raoul Wallenberg.
Alongside the certificate is a letter which was issued the same day. The serial number of the certificate – 9582 – also appears in the margin of the letter. The letter contains a clarification in Hungarian, explaining that the bearer of the certificate is to be treated as a Swedish subject, and is therefore exempt from the obligation of wearing an identifying label, namely the notorious Yellow Badge. This letter bears Raoul Wallenberg's full signature.
Evidently, the certificate and letter were held together with a paper clip, and were meant to be carried together.
The actions of the Swedish Embassy in Budapest on behalf of the Jews of Hungary began shortly after the Nazi German conquest of Hungary in 1944. Carl Danielsson, the Swedish ambassador, issued temporary Swedish passports specifically to Hungarian Jews with relatives or commercial relations with Swedish subjects. In July 1944, after large numbers of Hungarian Jews had already been deported to Auschwitz, Raoul Wallenberg was dispatched on behalf of the Swedish Foreign Office to Budapest to assist in the rescue of the city's remaining Jews. For the most part, the Hungarian and German authorities honored the diplomatic standing of the Swedish Embassy, and Wallenberg managed to issue thousands of "Schutz-Passes" that offered reliable protection to their Jewish bearers, despite the fact that they lacked any legal status. Wallenberg did not make do with the issuing of these passes, and resorted to additional measures in his attempts to save Hungarian Jews; among other things, he opened shelters to house Jewish refugees, and applied various forms of pressure upon senior officials in the Nazi regime to halt the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz. According to a number of eyewitness accounts, he would arrive in time at the train stations where Jews were being concentrated for deportation to Auschwitz, and demand that all those ostensibly carrying the "Schutz-Passes" be allowed to get off the train. In 1966, the honorific of "Righteous among the Nations" was bestowed upon Raoul Wallenberg by Israel's Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
The name "Ernő Major" which appears on the present "Schutz-Pass" and its accompanying letter can also be found in the list of Jewish survivors from the city of Budapest in the Database of Holocaust Survivor and Victim Names of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.
"Schutz-Pass": [1] f., approx. 34 cm. Letter: [1] f., approx. 15X21 cm. Good condition. Fold lines and creases. Foxing (from paper clips). Minute tears to edges and along fold lines. "Schutz-Pass" without passport photo, and with abrasions to paper in space allotted for the photo.
Antisemitism, The Holocaust
Antisemitism, The Holocaust