The little-known story of Carl Lutz, a former St. Louisan who saved more than 50,000 Jews from the Nazis, will be spotlighted in the Annual Rubin Feldman Memorial Lecture at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28.
This year’s lecture, “Under Swiss Protection: The Story of Holocaust Rescuer Carl Lutz,” will take place virtually and is free and open to the public.
The lecture is generously sponsored by the Rubin (of blessed memory) and Gloria Feldman Family Institute of the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum and AISH St. Louis.
Lutz is credited with organizing the largest civilian rescue mission of the entire Holocaust. While serving as a Swiss diplomat in Budapest, Hungary, Lutz issued tens of thousands of protective papers to save Jews from the Nazis and Hungarian Arrow Cross Party.
At 18, Lutz moved to Granite City, Illinois, where he worked for five years before attending Central Wesleyan College in Warrenton, Missouri, and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. After college, Lutz lived and worked in downtown St. Louis in the early 1930s.
Speaking about Lutz will be two people who know his heroic story well. Agnes Hirschi is a Holocaust survivor and the stepdaughter of Carl Lutz. Agnes was one of the over 50,000 Jews rescued by Lutz during the Holocaust. When she was a child in Budapest, she witnessed her step-father’s heroic actions saving Hungarian Jews. Over the past 20 years, she has traveled the world lecturing on the role of diplomatic rescue in the Holocaust.
Charlotte Schallié is a professor of Germanic studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Her research interests include post-1945 German literature and film, memory studies, visual storytelling, Jewish identity in contemporary cultural discourse, teaching and learning about the Holocaust, and human rights education.
Hirschi and Schallié co-edited the book “Under Swiss Protection: Jewish Eyewitness Accounts from Wartime Budapest,” which retraces Lutz’s rescue efforts in wartime Budapest through the lens of eyewitness testimonies.
“Carl Lutz rescued a cousin of mine, so I have been interested in his story for many years,” said Dan Reich, the Museum’s curator and director of education. “I am so excited to finally host a program in honor of this heroic man.”
Following their presentation, the speakers will take questions from the virtual audience. For more information and to register, visit StlHolocaustMuseum.org/Under-Swiss-Protection/.