STORIES
Lifesavers

Carl Lutz

by Isabella Sexton from Colorado

The Glass House

Carl Lutz is many things. He's a brother to his eight siblings, a son, and he was a bright school student, but most importantly he is a Holocaust hero. He is to thank for the life of 124,000 Hungarian Jews. His bravery is represented in so many valuable ways; his life has taught me and so many people to not settle and always stand up for what you believe in. His story was so valuable and incredible. 

This Holocaust hero saved over 124,000 Hungarian Jews. He did this by creating fake passports for people to go to Switzerland (the neutral country). He would then secretly hand these passports to Jewish families and individuals so they could escape. This was especially easy for him since he worked in foreign interests and visas for the Swiss Embassy in Budapest. During the short amount of time he worked there, from 1942 until 1945, he issued tens of thousands of protective letters for emigration to Palestine. In addition, he helped set up over 76 “safe houses,'' which in total ended up saving over 62,000 Hungarian Jews. Before moving to Budapest, many times he attempted to save victims of the Arrow Cross terror on the bank of the Danube. In fact, there is now a museum called the Glass House which largely documents Lutz’ heroic acts of courage and bravery. The Glass House is the most famous of the safety houses; during WWII it protected over 3,000 Jews.

His many acts of bravery and courage shine through in every way. Countless times, he revealed how morally courageous he was. First, he helped so many people while expecting nothing in return, but rather to stand up for what is right, for the simplicity that it's right, and that innocent people's lives being taken for no real reason is wrong. Moreover, he frequently put his life on the line and risked not only his own life and well-being but also that of his first wife, Gertrud Frankhauder. Finally, he took matters into his own hands and for the most part did everything on his own. For example, it was he who persuaded the government into allowing the handouts of over 8,000 safety letters, and the safe houses were his idea as well. His small but incredibly impactful actions will carry on and tell more stories and teach more lessons. 

As dangerous as it might have been, Carl Lutz did what was right, despite the possible consequences and harm directed his way by helping others. Nevertheless, he stayed true to himself and his beliefs and continued helping others and not giving up until he was satisfied with the results. His actions impacted the world in so many positive ways. He taught others to persevere through the hardships because the light at the end of the tunnel is so worth the hardships. He really showed me and helped me understand how even one small act of courage or kindness can change so many things and possibly save so many lives! 

Reading this made me question my own moral beliefs and how I would have reacted in this situation. It has made me realize that, though it may seem like as a kid I can't do anything, in reality, I can do so much, and even the smallest things can make a huge difference! In such a small community, I am now curious as to what I can do to help others. You don't need to save 124,000 people or put your own life in danger to help people! In many ways, I have a new outlook on life and have opened up so many new possibilities to myself. Lastly, I have learned a new perspective for not settling and to keep standing up for what you believe in despite how scary it may be or how many people may disagree with you. 

In conclusion, Carl Lutz was a true hero and exhibited moral courage in incredible ways. He has taught so many people, including myself, that it is important to follow through with your beliefs and to continue standing up for what is right. Sadly, his name is being brought up less and less by not only the world at large, but also the Jewish communities. Thankfully, there is a museum, previously spoken about: The Glass House museum in an old industrial building at Vadász utca 29. In the State of Israel, Yad Vashem honored Carl Lutz. In 1963 in Haifa, Israel, as well as in his home village of Walzenhausen, Switzerland, a street was named after him. Since 1991, the entrance of a memorial in Budapest remembers Carl Lutz’ work. In 2006 in Budapest, Hungary, the American Embassy honored him with a memorial in the park. It is so incredible that opportunities for his name to be brought up exist. My hope for the future is that people continue to hear his story and appreciate his courage. 



Bibliography

  1.  Carl Lutz. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2021, from https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/hungary/en/home/switzerland-and/carl-lutz.html

 

  1. Carl Lutz. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2021, from https://www.greatsynagogue.hu/blog/jewish-budapest-2/righteous-gentiles/carl-lutz/

 

Page created on 3/1/2021 4:50:13 PM

Last edited 3/3/2021 12:12:16 AM

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