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Although not as well known as Raoul Wallenberg, Valdemar Langlet was the saviour of thousands of Jews in Budapest in the last two years of the Second World War.
Entirely without the permission or the financial support of the Swedish Red Cross, he issued socalled 'Letters of Protection', passport-like documents with official-looking stamps that frequently saved Hungarian Jews from deportation to the death camps. Then, when chaos broke out in the streets when the Germans put their Arrow Cross allies in power, and the approaching Red Army threatened to turn the city into a battleground, he risked his life to shelter Jews and other refugees in safe houses throughout Budapest.
A gifted linguist, Langlet was able in the early days 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, and later 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 almost without any official authority or support from his own country saved thousands of lives during one of the most terrible episodes in world history.
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