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HEROES OF THE RESISTANCE

Carl Lutz

Carl Lutz was a Swiss diplomat, based in Budapest during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. Realising Hungary’s Jews were under threat, he used his diplomatic powers to place Jews with a connection to the countries he represented under Swiss protection.

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He then went on to persuade the Nazis to allow him to issue 8,000 diplomatic letters of protection, and applied these to families instead of individuals, as were his instructions. Once he reached 7,999, he simply started again, his efforts reportedly inspiring other diplomats to do the same. Historians estimated he personally saved up to 62,000 people, which would make his the largest civil rescue operation of WWII.  

Historians estimated he personally saved up to 62,000 people

Realising that Nazi killings were accelerating as they began to lose the war, Lutz created 76 safe houses in Budapest which, given his role, counted as Swiss territory. He faced significant pressure and the Nazi representative in Hungary, Edmund Veesenmayet, even sought permission to have Lutz assassinated.  

Lutz survived the war and returned to Switzerland where he went on to marry Magda Csányi, who he had helped protect in Hungary. He remained in Switzerland until his death in 1975.

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