A document relating to protective passports and signed by the Swedish diplomat whose paperwork saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust has come up for auction in the United States.
The rare one-page document, signed by Raoul Wallenberg, is being sold by RR Auction in Boston and refers to the issuance of a Schutz-Pass, a protective passport restricting deportation of Hungarian Jews. The passes gave protection under Sweden’s war-neutral authority and are credited with saving thousands of lives.
Written in Hungarian, the document is signed ‘R. Wallenberg’ and dated 28 September 1944. It reads: “To the National Central Authority Supervising Foreigners…We are pleased to inform you that the Royal Swedish Legation in Budapest has issued a protective passport to Mr Miksa Lévai according to which the above-named person must be considered a Swedish citizen.
“The Legation kindly requests that the above-named individual be exempt from wearing the distinguishing symbol. The Legation certifies that the reciprocity mentioned in the relevant regulation exists with Sweden.”
Wallenberg was a Swedish architect and businessman who went to Hungary in July 1944 as a Swedish envoy, only to witness Hungarian Jews being deported to the Nazi death camps. For the next six months, he issued thousands of protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings declared as Swedish territory.
There are still many examples of wartime Schutz-Passes but very few show Wallenberg’s signature clearly, said the auction house. “While Wallenberg typically signed Schutz-Passes with quick scribbles, this document boasts a neat, complete signature,” said the auction house’s Bobby Livingston.