Swiss Diplomat featured in upcoming movie
By issuing tens of thousands of “protective letters,” Carl Lutz rescued Jews in Budapest from deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II. His story is now making its way to Hollywood.
As the fascist Arrow Cross militiamen fired on a group of Jewish people, a woman survived. The bullet did not kill her, but she fell, wounded, into the freezing waters of the Danube. The men advanced on the dock to watch her drown slowly. Instead, they saw a distinguished tall man jump into the river. With water up to his chest and covering his suit, he swam back to the bank with her and asked to speak to the Hungarian officer in charge of the firing squad. Quoting international covenants, he declared the wounded woman a foreign citizen protected by Switzerland. In front of the stunned fascists, he brought her back to his car and left quietly.
Vice Consul Carl Lutz arrived in Budapest in early 1942. As chief of the Swiss Legation’s Department of Foreign Interests, he launched the largest rescue operation of World War II, issuing Swiss safe-conducts and protective letters that enabled Jewish men, women and children to emigrate.