Born, Friedrich (1903-1987)

Director of the International Red Cross in Budapest

A Swiss businessman from Bern, who came to Budapest before the war as an official of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Trade, he stayed on after his tenure and lived in Budapest pursuing his private business affairs. In 1944, he was appointed as the Swiss Delegate of the Internazionales Rotes Kreuz (IRK) – the International Red Cross.  He immediately recognized the plight of the Jews and committed his organization and himself to their relief. He provided hiding places, conferred credentials, protested to the Hungarians and Germans, alerted the outside world, and challenged the perpetrating authorities through last minute, audacious interventions. Advised by Karl Lutz, the Swiss Consul, he hired three thousand Jews as office employees, issued fifteen thousand Schutzbriefe-protection documents, actively prevented deportations and worked closely and in tandem with Kastner, Révész, Krausz and others of the Rescue Committee.  He put the IRK buildings in Budapest at the disposal of the Rescue Committee for use as a refuge from the Arrow-Cross, as hiding places, for meeting venues, for the distribution of documents all under the active protection of his organization. In January 1945, the occupying Soviets expelled Born from Budapest. Born is credited with saving upwards of fifteen thousand Jews in Budapest. Born, hailing from Bern, died in 1987, aged eighty-four.

 

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