Charles Carl Lutz and Gertrud Lutz

Consul for Switzerland in Budapest, Hungary, 1944-45

Gertrud Lutz, Wife of Consul Carl Lutz, Budapest, Hungary, 1944-45

Swiss Vice-Consul Carl Lutz was the first neutral diplomat in Budapest to rescue Jews. He is credited with inventing the Schutzbrief (protective letter) for Jewish refugees in Budapest. After March 19th., 1944, the Germans occupied Hungary and the new government of Done Sztojay closed the Hungarian borders to Jewish emigration. In tough negotiations with the Nazis and the Hungarian government Lutz got the permission to issue protective letters to 8,000 Hungarian Jews for emigration to Palestine. Using a ruse and interpreting the 8,000 ”units” not as persons but as families, he and his staff issued tens of thousands of added ”protective letters”, totally about 62,000. Lutz established 76 Swiss safe houses throughout Budapest and liberated Jews from deportation centers and death marches. Already in 1942/43, in co-operation with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, he had helped 10,000 Jewish children and young people to emigrate to Palestine. He is credited with saving 62,000 Jews from the Nazi Holocaust.