Authors

Object ID

2021.1.90

Object Name

Letter

Date

12-11-1944

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Description

Letter dated December 11, 1944 and signed “Born Frigyes” with the header “Comité International de la Croix-Rouge” and a logo with a red cross in the middle of it on the top left

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Friedrich Born was appointed Chief Delegate of the Swiss International Commmittee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Budapest, Hungary in May 1944. He was responsible for issuing thousands of Red Cross protective letters-Schutzbriefe-to the imperiled Jews of Budapest. With his many assistants and volunteers, Born was able to save thousands of Jews from deportation camps and death marches in and around Budapest. Many more were given employment papers, effectively preventing their deportation. Working with other diplomats, Red Cross protected houses were created. Jewish institutions were placed under Red Cross protection, housing Jewish children and orphans. He is credited with rescuing as many as 7,000 to 15,000 (some estimates are as high as 25,000) Jewish lives while in Budapest. In 1987 Born received the title Righteous Among the Nations from Israel for saving Jewish lives.

Born wrote this document in an effort to keep Farkas Bethlen in his employ. The latter was in fact a Count, form a noble family that went back hundreds of years. Bethlen’s civic and military situation was at this time under review. Until such time as there was a resolution, Born hoped to keep Farkas in his employ, retaining him in Budapest pending the resolution of his case. There is an attestation signed by the minister below which authorizes Born to retain Farkas

This document is dated December 11, 1944. Szalasi’s far-right Arrow Cross thugs would continue to murder thousands of Jews, drowning many in the Danube, tying them together in pods. In nine days, the Red Army would launch its offensive, encircling and occupying Budapest. Within days of writing this letter Born withdrew to his home in Buda where he continued to direct the ICRC.

Keywords

Friedrich Born, Red Cross

Subcollection

Diplomats

International Committee of the Red Cross Letter Signed by Swiss Delegate, Friedrich Born

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