An original Swedish Protective Passport issued by the famed Raoul Wallenberg.
This single piece of paper was the priceless ticket of life for a Jew otherwise destined to a certain death in Nazi occupied Hungary.
The Swedish protective passports issued by Raoul Wallenberg enabled tens of thousands of desperate Hungarian Jews the hope of surviving the mass deportations that an increasingly defeated Nazi regime was determined to execute no matter the circumstances elsewhere on the battle-field.
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was the ultimate pioneer in an extraordinary effort to save Hungarian Jews from their intended wholesale murder by German Nazis and their Hungarian Arrow Cross allies. Wallenberg's heroic actions began in July 1944, when the Swedish Foreign Ministry, at the request of various Jewish organizations overseas, sent him on a rescue mission to Budapest, as an attaché to the Swedish Embassy. By this time more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews living outside Budapest had already been deported to their death, overwhelmingly to Auschwitz, via Nazi agencies led by Adolf Eichmann. The remaining population of Hungarian Jews, 230,000 in number, were resident in the capital.
Upon arrival in Budapest Wallenberg redesigned the existing Swedish protective passport which he perceived to be physically unimpressive. He determined that the Nazis and their Hungarian Fascist counterparts would likely be impressed by a more extrovert "official" looking document. Hence Wallenberg redesigned the Schutzpass, and utilizing the blue and yellow colors of the Swedish flag, centrally emblazoned the document with the symbol of the triple crown of Sweden. This redesigned passport issued by Wallengerg subsequently saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews, as it was deemed authoritative by the German and Hungarian authorities, despite the fact that in essence it had no actual legal bearing.
Each Schutz-Pass was signed by Wallenberg and Carl Ivan Danielsson (head of the Swedish mission to Budapest) and stated that the bearer was under the protection of Sweden's neutral authority and thus forbidden to be deported or even harassed. In addition to granting physical immunity, the Schutzpass allowed for Hungarian Jews to remove the yellow Star of David from their clothing, which of course provided them with an even greater sense of security. Along with protective papers, Wallenberg created in Budapest an "International Ghetto" which housed thousands of Jewish refugees in extra-territorial safe-houses from within the vast majority were able to survive until liberation. Tragically, Wallenberg fared otherwise disappearing following arrest by Soviet martial police in January, 1945. The circumstances of ultimate fate remain undetermined.