Glass House

In 2005 the Carl Lutz Foundation has opened a Memorial Room to commemorate the outstanding work of the late Swiss vice-consul in Budapest, Carl Lutz, and the members of Zionist youth movements in 1944/45. The Memorial Room is in the so called Glass House, which had a very important role in their work. More than two and a half thousand people survived the awful period of the autumn of 1944 and the winter of 1944/45 in this house. The owner of the building was the Weiss family. It was built as a glass plant and shop. The family asked the architect to build every product of the company into the new building. It was called Glass House because of this. It was a very modern building at that time. In 1944 due to the negotiations between the Swiss vice-consul, Carl Lutz, the Swiss Ambassador, Maximilian Jaeger and the Hungarian Prime Minister, Döme Sztójay, the building was put under the protection of the Swiss Embassy.

The sign of the Swiss Embassy from the house.

This fact helped the members of the Jewish youth movements to do their illegal Zionist work also. After the declaration of war, Great-Britain was represented by the Swiss Embassy in Budapest. It meant that the issue of the emigration to Palestine was also managed through the Swiss Embassy, and it was the ground of the work of Carl Lutz, his department and Hungarian Jewish leaders. Some co-workers of the Embassy moved to the building of the Embassy of the United States in Szabadság square, after its opening. The Palestine Office took refuge here also. It had a major role when the Glass House was chosen. When the action began it was said that its participants would be collected. Carl Lutz and his colleagues were afraid that the Nazis could deport them by-passing the Hungarian authorities as it happened earlier in the case of Körmend internment camp. After they had discussed this question with Arthur Weiss they chose the Glass House as the building where the people would be collected because it was close to the Szabadság square and the officials of the Embassy could act quickly if there were any problems. After October 15-16th 1944, when the Arrow Cross Party took over the power in Hungary, the Glass House became refuge for more than two and a half thousand people. The building was attacked three times, once by the gendarmerie, twice by the militants of the Arrow Cross Party. It was liberated on January 18th 1945. Almost everyone who took refuge here survived.



The crowds risking their lives every day while waiting for safe-conduct passports.
Photos from holokausztmagyarorszagon.hu


One of the documents signed and issued by Carl Lutz.

After the war, the building became the property of the state, and there were industrial facilities and flats in it.
After 1989 civil organizations worked here.


The cellar of the house today.

The building and the Memorial Room offer the possibility to the visitors to think over how the Swiss officials, the Hungarian Jewish organizations and their leaders had to cooperate in order to survive the dangerous times. How the faith of Carl Lutz, the Weiss family and other families met here. How the people, from children to old men lived here and took part in the fight for survival when teenagers were the messengers. The Foundation has a traveling exhibition which has been presented in the United States and in Canada. It is planned to bring this version to the European countries also.

Address: Budapest 5th district, Vadász street 29.
Website: www.uveghaz.org

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