AMHERST, N.H. – Highlighting nearly 1,500 lots in the current RR Auction closing April 15 is a rare and remarkable document signed by Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat whose tireless efforts saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.
“This is not just a piece of paper with Raoul Wallenberg’s signature on it; this piece of paper represents life,” said Diane Blake, Director of Research for The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States.
In mid-1944 while he worked at the Swedish Embassy, Wallenberg devised the “Schutzpass,” a special, official-looking (but essentially invalid) Swedish passport that granted the bearer immunity from deportation to death camps. As the urgent demand for the passes increased with impending deportations, Wallenberg opened an office staffed with some 400 Jewish volunteers who aided in the manufacture of the passes and were themselves issued “employment certificates” ensuring their safety.
“This employment certificate is likely one of the 400 issued by Wallenberg,” said Blake, one of the world’s experts on Wallenberg. “We have never seen this form of document, and it is very exciting because we have the largest archive of Raoul Wallenberg materials in North America.”