Oral History

Agnes Mandl Adachi describes Raoul Wallenberg's efforts to save Jews from deportation

Agnes was in Switzerland in 1939 to study French. She returned to Budapest in 1940. After the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, Agnes was given refuge in the Swedish embassy. She then began to work for Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in his efforts to save the Jews of Budapest, including the distribution of protective passes (Schutzpaesse). When the Soviets entered Budapest, Agnes decided to go to Romania. After the war, she went to Sweden and Australia before moving to the United States.

Transcript

Raoul went after these people all the way to the Austrian border. But one of these occasion he had Per Anger with him too, and he had a big black book. And on the way to the railway station he stopped and screamed at the Nazis, in German, he spoke perfect German, "How dare you are taking our people, they all are protected people," and "All of those people who have my papers turn around." And there was one of my very good girlfriends from here now, she said well what can happen they kill her anyhow. She turned around. She didn't have any paper, and her sister and her mother. And then, "Get on the truck." Okay. And then he started to open his black book and started to read names like a machine gun. The people caught on, those who could still walk, and they walked up, whether that was their name or not. And he brought them, a thousand people, back to Budapest, to the safe houses. And on the way home, Per Anger said to him, "Raoul, I didn't know we have a black book and you have names. When did you do that?" And Raoul start hysterically laughing, he says, "I show it to you when I've done it," and he opens it up and not one single name. Nothing. But that was his idea. He had to do something. He had to save people. And the same thing, he had drivers' licenses, and, and, and insurance papers, whatever he could find in Hungarian that the Germans couldn't read. And he took it all away to the train and he demanded to open the doors and yell to the people "I have your papers here, get out Mr. so-and-so." And that to some people, you know [gave them the idea] "Oh, maybe we can get away." And, and he handed them...some of them got the Schutzpass [protective pass] not with their name but who cares, you know, and insurance papers and tax papers, you name it. And he brought them back.


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  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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