Capitol Hill Exhibit Honors Carl Lutz, Holocaust-era Hero

On March 24, under the sponsorship of Senator George Voinovich and Senator Robert Casey, the traveling exhibit “Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budapest” was opened in the Rotunda of the Senate Russell Office building.

The event was organized and sponsored by the Budapest-based Carl Lutz Foundation, established to preserve the memory of Carl Lutz’s rescue activities, the Hungarian American Coalition, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and the Mensch International Foundation. Other event sponsors include the embassies of Switzerland, Israel and Hungary.

Senator Lieberman delivering his remarks, and Maximilian Teleki

A reception in honor of the opening of the exhibit was held at the Senate Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building.

The exhibit commemorates Carl Lutz, the Swiss vice-consul who rescued thousands of Jews in Budapest during the Holocaust by issuing protective documents and establishing Swiss “safe houses.” The most famous of these was the “Glass House,” an industrial building that provided refuge for more than 3,000 Jews during World War II. The exhibit will be on display and open to the public from March 23 to 27.

Maximilian Teleki, President of the Hungarian American Coalition, welcomed the distinguished audience and thanked Senators Voinovich and Casey for their support in making the event possible in the US Capitol.

The reception featured remarks from Senator George Voinovich, Senator Joe Lieberman, Representative Dennis Kucinich, György Vámos, President of the Carl Lutz Foundation, Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler, Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor, Mrs. Annette Lantos, and Mrs. Katrina Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation. Mr. Jean Greenstein, a Holocaust survivor, shared his personal story of working as an underground messenger, delivering documents to the Glass House.

In his remarks, Mr. Vámos recognized the extraordinary courage of members of the diplomatic community who risked their own lives to save many Jewish families. „In 1944, the Jewish population of Budapest had many enemies, but when the clouds appeared they were not alone. A few career diplomats and some people fulfilling temporary diplomatic service extended a helping hand. The saving of the many lives in Budapest in 1944, at the height of the horrors of the Second World War, is the story of humanism. The sum of the diplomatic actions represented by the Glass House exemplifies the morality of the brave men and women who were willing to risk their own personal safety for their fellow men and women, whom racism had excluded from society.”

Mr. Teleki listed the wartime diplomats who also took part in the Budapest rescue actions in his brief remarks. They included: Angelo Rotta, Papal Nuncio; Gennaro Verolino, Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature; Carl Lutz, Vice Consul, Swiss Legation, and his wife Mrs. Gertrud Frankhauser; Harold Feller, Second Secretary of the Swiss Legation; Ernst Vonrufs, businessman, associate of Carl Lutz at the Swiss Legation; Peter Zürcher, Lawyer, acting representative of Swiss interests; Angel Sanz-Briz, Chargé d’affaires, Spanish Legation; Giorgio Perlasca, Italian businessman, posing illegally as Chargé d’affaires of Spain; Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish Special Envoy in Budapest; Lars Berg, Consul of the Swedish Legation; Carl Ivar Danielsson, Head of the Swedish Legation; Per Anger of the Swedish Legation; Dr. Valdemar and Nina Langlet, Swedish Red Cross Delegate; Friedrich Born, Representative of the International Red Cross; Carlos de Sampaio Garrido, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Portuguese Legation; Alberto Texeira Branquihno, Chargé d’affaires, Portuguese Legation; George Mandel-Mantello, First Secretary of the El Salvador Consulate in Geneva; and Jose Arturo Castellanos, Honorary Consul of El Salvador in Geneva.

The exhibit will remain open to the public until March 27th during working hours in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda.

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