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.”
In 1945, Raoul Wallenberg was abducted and incarcerated by the Soviet secret police. His fate remains a mystery, and autographed material from the famed humanitarian is particularly rare. American Book Prices Current documents only a single Wallenberg-signed item at auction in the last quarter century.
“I am surprised to see Wallenberg on the market because of what these documents mean to the families of survivors,” added Blake. “I wish we had it for our collection.”
Other items of note to be offered in the auction include a signed copy of John Quincy Adams’s stirring 1837 Independence Day address, flown and signed items from several Apollo space missions, excellent vintage photos signed by Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe; and a variety of Babe Ruth items. The auction ends on April 15. For information, visit the RR Auction web site at www.rrauction.com or contact Bobby Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org.