WWII 'Schutz-Pass' Documents, Auction Ends March 9
The collection consisting of three one-page documents in German and Hungarian, each signed and dated August 20, 1944. Collection of three blue and gold two-language Schutz-Pass documents issued to Jewish family members George Gergely, his wife Margit, and their daughter Maria; their son, Peter Georg, also appears on the father’s passport. The passports are filled out in type with their personal information and bear affixed images to the upper right. The bottom portions bear printed statements in German and Hungarian and are hastily signed in the lower left corner by Wallenberg, and countersigned by Swedish Minister to Budapest Carl Ivan Danielsson; in the area that Wallenberg customarily signed is an additional “W” which may or may not be in his hand.
Wallenberg arrived in Hungary in July 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.
The Gergely family was able to obtain these passes through a cousin who had married a Swede, and they remained living in Hungary in a Swedish safe house that Wallenberg and his associates had arranged. However, their lives were still not without peril. On January 16, 1945, German soldiers entered the Swedish safe house where they were staying and ordered all the residents to line up and prepare for travel. Just as they were preparing to leave, another German officer arrived and scolded the soldiers for rounding up the wrong apartment house.
“With these simple Schutz-Pass documents, Wallenberg saved an entire Jewish family—an important reminder of one heroic man’s tireless efforts to outwit the Nazis and save countless lives,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
“This is the first time we have encountered a complete family set, and the additional supporting material is of the utmost historical interest.”
Accompanied by an assortment of related family documents and a DVD featuring an interview with Maria, under the name Mona Kramer, in which she describes receiving the passports. Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000.
Among other featured items:
A rare letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson— considered one of the most influential Jewish figures of the 20th century, discussing Jewish unity and issues of philosophy.
The only existing George Washington letter, which mentions the Yorktown capitulation.
Thomas Jefferson letter as President concerning construction of the first federally funded road in U.S. history.
Abraham Lincoln War-time signed letter, Lincoln response to an autograph-seeker.
Rare Oscar Wilde cabinet photo inscribed to a Symbolist poet.
Online bidding for the Fine Autographs and Artifacts from RR Auction began on February 19, 2016 and will conclude on March 9, 2016, at 6PM ET. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.