2008 - United Nations, NYC
THE HOLOCAUST – STORIES OF RESCUE
Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House
opening and reception
Akasaka, Master of Ceremonies
Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
Mr. Akasaka will delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Albania to the United Nations
Deputy Director and Senior Art Curator of the Museums Division
Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Authority (Jerusalem)
Photographer of the Besa: A Code of Honor exhibit
Vamos on behalf of his father, György Vámos,
President of the Carl Lutz Foundation (Budapest)
Holocaust survivor, spiritual leader of the Park East Synagogue NYC
and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
Schneier fled in November of 1938 from Vienna to Budapest,
where he survived the Holocaust.
background: leaders of the Hungarian Socialist Party delegation
Attila Mesterházy, László Teleki and H.E. Gábor Bródi
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Hungary to the UN
Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Mrs. Schneier
Péter and György Vámos
CARL LUTZ AND THE LEGENDARY GLASS HOUSE
Exhibition co-sponsored by the Carl Lutz
and the Permanent Missions of Switzerland and Hungary
Carl Lutz is
credited with saving the lives of 62,000 Jews from the Holocaust by
issuing “letters of protection,” a life-saving diplomatic device of
his own invention. In addition, he helped 10,000 Jewish children
emigrate to Palestine after he became head of Switzerland’s foreign
interests section in Budapest in 1942. By 1944, Lutz represented 12
countries in addition to Switzerland, including the United States.
Born in Switzerland in
1895, Lutz emigrated at the age of 18 to the United States, where he
was to remain for more than 20 years. Appointed in 1942 as Swiss
vice-consul in Budapest, Hungary, Lutz soon began cooperating with the
Jewish Agency for Palestine, issuing Swiss safe-conduct documents
enabling Jewish children to emigrate.
Once the Nazis took over Budapest in 1944 and began deporting Jews to
the death camps, Lutz negotiated a special deal with the Hungarian
government and the Nazis: he had permission to issue protective
letters to 8,000 Hungarian Jews for emigration to Palestine.
Lutz then deliberately
misinterpreted his permission for 8,000 as applying to families rather
than individuals, and proceeded to issue tens of thousands of
additional protective letters, all of them bearing a number between
one and 8,000. He also set up some 76 safe houses around Budapest,
declaring them annexes of the Swiss legation. Among the safe houses
the most famous one was the Glass House, an old glass factory
building at Vadász utca 29. Over 3,000 Jews found refuge and
protection from their prosecutors at the Glass House during World War
II. The Glasshouse is now open for visitors as a museum, that is
documenting the history of Carl Lutz and his actvities.
After the war, Lutz was
initially reprimanded for having gone too far in his efforts, but was
vindicated and honored by the Swiss government in 1957. He retired
from the Swiss consular service in 1961.
For risking his life to
help Jews during the Holocaust, Lutz in 1964 became the first Swiss
national named “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, the Jewish
people’s memorial to the Holocaust.
Lutz died in Bern,
Switzerland, in 1975.
At the entrance to the old Budapest ghetto, a wall-monument was
erected to him in 1991. Although more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews died
in the Holocaust, 125,000 survived, half of them thanks to the efforts
of Carl Lutz.
Source: Hungarian Embassy, FDFA Switzerland
and György Vámos, President of Carl Lutz Foundation
Schneier and György Vámos
among Rabbi Schneier and the Hungarian Socialist Party
delegation leaders Attila Mesterházy and László Teleki
|Attila Mesterházy, László
Teleki, H.E. Gábor Bródi, H. E. Mr. Peter Maurer (The Permanent
Representative of Switzerland), Rabbi Arthur Schneier, György Vámos, Péter Vámos,
Vilmos Szabó, Zsolt Török
Bródi, Kiyo Akasaka, György Vámos, and Péter Vámos
BESA: A CODE OF HONOR
Muslim Albanians who Rescued Jews during the Holocaust
Photographer: Norman Gershman
authored and curated by Yad Vashem,
The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority and sponsored
by the Permanent Mission of Albania to the United Nations