Synopses & Reviews
The memoirs of a man who saved thousands from the Nazi death camps.
Although not as well-known as Raoul Wallenberg, Valdemar Langlet was the savior of thousands of Jews in Budapest in the last two years of World War II.
Entirely without the permission or the financial support of the Swedish Red Cross, he issued so-called Letters of Protection,” which were passport-like documents with official-looking stamps that frequently saved Hungarian Jews from deportation to the death camps. Then chaos broke out in the streets and the Germans put their Arrow Cross allies in power. With the approaching Red Army threatening to turn the city into a battleground, Langlet risked his life to shelter Jews and other refugees in safe houses throughout Budapest.
A gifted linguist, Langlet was able to deal directly with Hungarian officials, who were often themselves eager to have the protection of the Swedish Red Cross emblem on their own houses as the war drew closer to the capital. Later, he communicated with the Soviet commanders who took control after fierce fighting had destroyed much of Budapest.
This is a unique and fascinating memoir of a man who saved thousands of lives during one of the most terrible episodes in world history without official authority or support from his own country.
About the Author
was born in Lerbo, south of Stockholm, in 1872. A gifted linguist and early supporter of Esperanto, he traveled widely in Europe and Russia and worked as a journalist for a leading newspaper, visiting the new Soviet Union in 1923. In 1931 he moved to Budapest with his second wife, Nina, where he taught Swedish at the university and became an unpaid cultural attaché at the Swedish Legation. After the war, he returned to Sweden. He was awarded the Swedish Red Cross Medal in 1946 and in 1949 was made a Knight of the Swedish North Star.