Carl Lutz papers Nachlass Konsul Carl Lutz (1895-1975)
11,401 digital images, PDF
3 sound recordings, MP3
46 filmstrips, MP4
Charles (Carl) Lutz (1895-1975) was the Swiss vice-consul in Budapest between 1942 and 1945. Born in Walzenhausen, Switzerland, Lutz moved to the United States in 1913 at the age of 18. While studying at the George Washington University, he joined the Swiss diplomatic service and became chancellor at the Swiss legation in Washington, D.C. In 1935, Lutz was sent to Palestine, where he was appointed vice-consul at the Swiss consulate in Jaffa. On January 2, 1942, Lutz was reassigned to the Swiss consulate in Budapest, where he was appointed Chief of the Department of Foreign Interests of the Swiss legation. There he represented the interests of the U.S., Great Britain and twelve other countries that had severed formal relations with Hungary because of its alliance with Nazi Germany. In his capacity as neutral Swiss representative of British interests in Hungary, Lutz organized the issuing of Palestine certificates (endorsed by the British authorities), to Jews seeking to escape from Hungary. In his efforts to shield Hungarian Jewry from persecution, Lutz also pioneered the use of the Schutzbrief, an official letter issued by the legation to protect the young emigrants from being drafted into the Hungarian labor service and later from deportation while they awaited passage to Palestine. The use of the Schutzbriefe or Schutzpasse was later adopted by the Swedish, Portuguese and Spanish consular offices in Budapest to protect Jews from deportation. Soon after the German takeover of Hungary in March 1944, Lutz placed the staff of the Jewish Council for Palestine in Budapest under his diplomatic protection and renamed it the Department of Emigration of the Swiss Legation. This department was soon moved to the Glass House on Vadasz Street and ultimately became a refuge for more than 4,000 Budapest Jews. At this time Lutz also began to issue tens of thousands of new Schutzbriefe (eventually numbering more than 50,000), in addition to the 8,000 already issued to Jews waiting to leave for Palestine. When Hungarian and German authorities initiated the ghettoization of Budapest Jewry, Lutz established 76 safe houses in the Saint Stephen ghetto and put them under his diplomatic protection. In addition to being repeatedly compelled to rush out to stop Arrow Cross bands from raiding his safe houses, Lutz was called upon on several occasions to drive to the Obuda brickyards concentration camp to rescue Jews who were about to be deported. In November 1944 he was responsible for liberating an entire column of 1,000 Jews who had been dispatched on a death march from Budapest to the Austrian border. After the war Lutz received a letter of reprimand from authorities in Switzerland for overstepping his authority in helping the Jews of Budapest. Lutz divorced his first wife, Gertrud in the late 1940s, and in 1949 married Maria Magdalena Grausz (Magda), one of the Hungarian Jewish women he protected during the war. He also adopted her daughter, Agnes. Lutz retired from the diplomatic service in 1961. Four years later, in 1965, Lutz was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. Archiv für Zeitgeschichte - Archivleitung
Source of acquisition is the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. Archiv für Zeitgeschichte (AfZ), Switzerland; Archival signature: NL Carl Lutz. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received the collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s International Archives Project in March 2017.
Private papers of Carl Lutz (1895-1975), a Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest (1942-1945), Lutz was involved in the rescue of tens of thousands of Jews. He was a passionate filmer and photographer. The collection contains a part of Lutz's papers (another part is held by the Yad Vashem Archives) and consists of biographical materials and personal documents: CV, honors, photographs, diaries, audio recordings, and correspondence, e.g. with the US Holocaust Museum, Washington DC (1989-1990), (File 137); diplomatic reports relating to Palestine (1934-1940), economic relations Switzerland-Palestine, the protection of German interests in Palestine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin (1941), and the situation in Hungary (1942-1945), including reports of the rescue operation, the Swiss Embassy in Budapest (Department for Foreigners Interests); documents of Alexander Grossman and Immanuel Leuschner; records of his travel as a delegate of the Lutheran World Federation (1950-1951,1959); records relating to the Swiss Consulate in Bregenz 1954-1961; correspondence with Felix Adler, Ernst Feiss, Miklos Horthy (with photos), the Lutz family, Benjamin Sagalowitz, Willy Spühler and others; and photographs, negatives and films relating to Carl Lutz's diplomatic career (USA, Switzerland, Palestine, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Austria).
Arranged in four series: 1. Biographical materials: 2. Records documenting professional activities of Carl Lutz; 3. Correspondence (organized alphabetically by last name); 4. Photographs, negatives and films. Note: Content of the file #94 is missing; File 224: All Rights on this film-interview of Carl Lutz are reserved by the Swiss filmmaker Theo Rais who had recorded this interview 1975; File 296: The film entitled "Hochzeit" (wedding) unfortunately had been heavily damaged by vinegar syndrome and could not be recovered; File: 335: The promotion film for winter Saint Moritz was not made by Carl Lutz, but was found in the video copies in his papers (see also file 336); File 336: This film entitled "USA (Washington DC, New York)" had been copied to videotapes around 1990, which are the only copies of the original film roll which is not in possession of the Archives of Contemporary History. The poor quality of the video is due to poor transfer from film to video tape at that time.
Copyright Holder: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. Archiv für Zeitgeschichte - Archivleitung