Schutzbrief (Letter of Protection) signed

JUDAICA   |   Raoul WALLENBERG

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SIGNED BY RAOUL WALLENBERG, EXCEEDINGLY RARE OFFICIAL SCHUTZBRIEF, DATED AUGUST 24, 1944, WITH INKSTAMP OF THE ROYAL SWEDISH LEGATION OF BUDAPEST, ISSUED FOR THE WIFE OF HUNGARIAN WRITER LAJOS HATVANY

(JUDAICA) WALLENBERG, Raoul. Schutzbrief (Letter of Protection) signed. Budapest: August 24, 1944. Original ivory letterhead leaf (8-1/4 by 11-1/4 inches), completed in typescript and signed on the recto, with inkstamp of the Royal Swedish Legation in Budapest. Housed in a custom clamshell box.

Rare original official Schutzbrief (Letter of Protection) signed by Raoul Wallenberg, issued in Budapest, dated August 24, 1944, with the inkstamp of the Royal Swedish Legation, stating in Hungarian that Erzsébet Marton Hatvany, wife of the prominent Hungarian writer Lajos Hatvany, was in possession of a Schutzpass (Certificate of Protection) and was exempted from wearing the yellow star. An exceptional document signed by one of the 20th-century’s greatest humanitarians.

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg engaged in extraordinary efforts to save Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. His heroic actions began in July 1944, when “the Swedish Foreign Ministry, at the request of Jewish organizations, sent him on a rescue mission to Budapest, as an attaché to the Swedish Embassy. By this time, 476,000 Hungarian Jews had already been deported to extermination camps, and deportation had been ordered for Budapest Jewry. Wallenberg’s chief operation was the distribution of Swedish certificates of protection (‘Wallenberg Passports’ or Schutz-Pass),” along with Schutzbrief (Letters of Protection), and requests of exemption addressed to the Külföldieket Ellenörzö Hatóság (National Central Authority Supervising Foreigners). Armed with such documents, Jews fell under the protection of Sweden, an officially neutral nation. “When the Soviet army was closing in on Budapest and the other diplomats left the city, Wallenberg chose to remain there in order to protect ‘his Jews’ in any eventuality which might arise. He went to the Soviet headquarters in Debrecyn for that purpose; all trace was lost of him and he was never seen again alive” (Encyclopedia Judaica). These priceless documents, granting escape from otherwise certain death, were paid for dearly with the life of one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century. This exceedingly rare document, signed by Wallenberg, with the date of August 24, 1944, is one of the official Schutzbriefs. This life-saving document, containing the inkstamp of the Royal Swedish Legation in Budapest, states that Mrs. Lajos Hatvany had received a Schutzpass, therefore she is considered a Swedish subject and is to be exempted from wearing the yellow star. Mrs. Hatvany (born Erzsébet Marton) was the wife of Baron Lajos Hatvany, the gifted writer, critic and literary scholar who “was born in Budapest into a prominent Hungarian industrial and banking family… His major novel, Urak és emberek (1927), the first part translated into English as Bondy Jr., in 1931, is so closely modeled after Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks [1901] that it was mockingly called Judenbrooks” (Yivo Encyclopedia). Baron Hatvany, whose politics at one point led to his imprisonment, had been forced to flee Hungary with the rise of fascism in 1938. Some time after this Schutzbrief was issued, Erzsébet Marton Hatvany was able to escape Hungary for the United States. In 1954 she founded a film and theatre agency for representing foreign playwrights in the U.S. and overseas. The (Elisabeth) Marton Agency still exists in New York City. Text in Hungarian.

Text and signature clean and fresh, faint foldlines, only a couple tiny closed tears at edges.

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