Per Anger (1913 – 2002)

We usually start out a short biography of a protagonist talking about either their birthday or placebirth, childhood and some others attributes. Neverthe-less, what is interesting for the reader is almost always the fact, the event, the detail that turns the person into a personage.

This case is not an exception. Although, here we stand out a labour more than a fact, a trajectory, a construction in one of the worst ages of the human history. Then, we stand out the person oneself, because the significant here is that we are talking about a saviour. Maybe an accidentally or destined one, but this saviour has to do more with what, where, when, and espe-cially why.

At this point of the reading we will make a stop to introduce a name: Per Anger. He was born in Sweden, in December 7. He graduated as a lawyer in 1939. After a short period in the Army, he began his diplomatic career in Berlin.

Maybe, this is the beginning of his career, but more specifically the begin-ning of his human mission. He was a privileged eyewitness of Hitler´s fascina-tion on the masses. But he was not aware of the drastic efect that this would have on him.

One of his most pressing and revealing experiences took place in Berlin, when he received a trustfully information about the Nazi attacks to Norway and Denmark, and the next threat to Sweden.

He had to send the codified data to Stockholm. His thoughts overwhelmed him all night thinking of transmiting a wrong message. However, the problem lied in those countries: they did not believe these news because of Germany, which it allowed the unavoidable Nazi´s advance upon Europe.

But Anger´s work did not stop. It was just the starting.

Later, in 1942, he developed dangerous diplomatic works in Hungary when the reports about the eliminations in the gas chambers had began arriving at the harmonious hungarian lands. In March 1944, Per Anger witnessed the Nazi´s pursuits and the begin-ning of the Final Solution after Germany overrun Hungary and the situation changed drastically. The first sign was when Anger saw that one out of two or three pedestrian wore a big yellow David´s star in their arm. After that, he said: ”We became witnesses of something that we never believed possible: a systematical extermination of people.”

The Anger´s big idea consisted of giving out provisional passports for the Jews in Sweden and special certificates for those who had asked the swedish citizenship to avoid their deportation. Although these documents were not valid for the international law, over 700 were emited the first days and the rumour began to spread into the Jewish community, then the number of persons seeking for refuge in the country enhanced hurrily.

At the same time, in July 1944, Raoul Wallenberg was sent to Budapest. His mission was to rescue the hungarian Jews. Wallenberg was a big allied of Anger in his humanistic labours during the Nazi´s inferno.

Wallenberg created the Schutzpasse, one more effective document because of the seals and signatures that it had as guarantee. Both germans and hungarians did not see its ilegality: the document seemed like real and that was the impor-tant thing. More colaborators added up the Anger and Wallenberg project, who dealed out the clothes, meals and medicins for the rescue operation.

Later, Per Anger remembered when Wallenberg called him to intervene directly in the process of Jewish deportations, making that a lot of pursueds could be saved only because of the power of the word and the germans´s fear to be denounced.

Not every efforts bore fruits. Per Anger and the rest of the saviours saw a lot of times how thousands of persons were snatched away by the Nazi Regime. ”We passed through a great deal of miserable people, more dead than alive… The path was plenty of cadavers.”

But they never gave up: ”We achieved to save thousands of Jews. Some of them had Swedish passports, others were saved with lies”.

They did not abandon the work when the Soviet Army arrived to Budapest and try to persuade them to go away from the country. Everybody knew that if they did it, the rescue labour would have been in vain.

Per Anger and Raoul Wallenberg worked without getting some rest. The last time they saw each other was January 10, 1945, when Wallenberg dissapeared.

Anger asked him to cancel his operations and hide, but Wallenberg refused.

The work in Budapest ended up that year, but Per Anger kept looking for his mate, spreading his job for the Jewish continuity during the war. Anger continued his diplomatic career as Swedish ambassador, demanding to the German and Russian authorities with regard to the Wallenberg affair.

After the end of the war, he received the State of Israel prize as ”Just between the Nations” and Yad Vashem, 1982; Hungarian Republic Merit Order, 1955; and several aknowledgements from the Swedish

Jewish Council in 1996, plus the isralien honorific citizenship in 2000. A tree was planted in his honour at the ”Justs Avenue”, in Jerusalem.

A Silent Value: Per Anger, The Wallenberg´s Co-Liberator of the Hungarian Jewish, the first book about him, was published en 1997, written by E.R. Skoglund.

Anger died in August 25, 2002. His labours contributed to save about 20,000 Jewish.

When he passed away, the newspapers around the world spoke about the great diplomatic that helped the Jews out and one of the highest humanist from the Second World War. Per Anger was less boastful but more pragmatic: ”We focused on only one thing.”

Translation: Pablo Freinkel