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Raoul Wallenberg
Rare DS in German and Hungarian , November 4, 1944
Paper, 20.1 x 29.8 cm

A two-language "legitimation" document certifying George Vertes as a member of the Swedish Red Cross under the protection of the Royal Swedish Embassy. The right side features an affixed portrait of Vertes as well as the signature of a delegate. Signed in the lower right corner in fountain pen by Wallenberg, with both the "R" and the "W" legible. In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds and staining at the top.

Wallenberg arrived in Hungary in July 1944 as the country's Jewish population was under siege. Nearly every other major Jewish community in Europe had already been decimated, and the Nazis were dispatching more than 10,000 Hungarian Jews to the gas chambers daily. With time of the essence, he devised and distributed thousands of these 'Schutz-Passes'—official-looking, but essentially invalid, Swedish passports granting the Hungarian bearer immunity from deportation. Nazi officials readily accepted the paperwork. Thus, with his simple, nondescript scribble on this offered page, Wallenberg saved the life of Oscar Kallai—just as he had done with tens of thousands of other Jews in Hungary. An announcement that any Jew, even those holding foreign citizenship, would be interred led to the urgency of Wallenberg's plan to save as many lives as he could.

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