Budapest, 1944: Vice Consul Carl Lutz and the Swiss Legation of Budapest started the largest diplomatic operation to rescue Jews during WWII. Thanks to an ingenious system of safe-conduct papers and residential buildings put under consular protection, Carl Lutz, who had acted as a protective power representing interests of the U.S. and UK in Hungary, sheltered and saved tens of thousands of Jews. Frederic Hayat, vice president of the Switzerland-based Carl Lutz Society, will deliver a presentation about Lutz and will be joined by Agnès Hirschi, Lutz’s stepdaughter, and Charles Gati, a Survivor saved by Lutz’s efforts.
Pascale Baeriswyl, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Nations, will deliver the introductory speech. Jehuda, George, and Robert Lindenblatt, Survivors saved by Lutz’s efforts, will also deliver remarks.
The Carl Lutz Society is a Swiss Historical Society, recognized as partner by leading Holocaust institutions, including the State Museum of Auschwitz in Poland. The Society also serves in the support group to the delegation of Switzerland to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Recently, the Society organized an exhibition in Geneva, extended during the Geneva Summit between President Biden and Putin in 2021, and in Budapest, next to the Shoes Memorial along the Danube, in the Fall of 2022.
Frederic Hayat is the vice president of the Switzerland-based Carl Lutz Society. He has lectured at several conferences on Carl Lutz in Europe and North America, notably at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where Carl Lutz graduated in 1924.
Agnès Hirschi was born in London shortly before World War II broke out. She spent her early youth in Budapest. Although she was only a little girl of six during the last and worse time of the war in the Hungarian capital, she remembers the wartime vividly. She spent the last two months of the war with the Lutz family in the bomb shelter of the former British Legation in Buda. Since 1949, Hirschi has lived in Switzerland. She studied languages and journalism in Berne, and she worked as a journalist for a daily newspaper and served as a lay judge. Hirschi has many personal memories of Carl Lutz, who married her mother Magda in 1949 and raised her as a daughter. Her activity in connection with her stepfather has included keeping Lutz’s memory alive, organizing exhibitions, and giving lectures – all important parts of her life.
Saved by Carl Lutz, Charles Gati served as Senior Advisor with the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State. He taught at Union College, Columbia University, and he served for three decades as Professor of European and Eurasian Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. He is presently a Fellow at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute.