Friedrich Born

Friedrich Born ( born June 10, 1903 in Langenthal, † January 14, 1963 in Zollikofen ) was a Swiss diplomat economy. From May 1944 to January 1945 he served as a delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC ) in Budapest. He supported the Jewish population there by building hospitals, children's and orphanages and soup kitchens, as well as the issue of protection papers. Through its activities, he saved about 11000-15000 Hungarian Jews from deportation. On June 5, 1987, he was admitted as a Righteous Among the Nations in the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem.


Family, education and professional activity

Friedrich Born was born on 10 June 1903 in Langenthal, the son of Johann Born. After finishing school, he first made ​​a mechanic training and then a commercial apprenticeship. He then worked in Lausanne and Antwerp in a Zurich import company. In 1936 the management of a cereal import business in Budapest, he was assigned. Until the beginning of his work for the ICRC he was then, also in Budapest, worked for the Swiss Office for Trade Promotion.

Born was married to Maria Zaugg.

Activity for the ICRC

The ICRC delegation in Budapest was led by Jean de Bavier, since its establishment in October 1943. He had early recognized the dangers that approached during the German occupation to around 800,000 Jews living in Hungary. On 18 February 1944 he sent therefore a report to the ICRC in Geneva. The ICRC was initially of the opinion that there is a distinction between Jews of foreign nationality, which would be treated as civilian internees, and the Jews of Hungarian nationality, whose treatment is purely an internal affair of Hungary. Jean de Bavier then proposed on 27 March that ICRC President Max Huber should personally intervene with Adolf Hitler. In a written reply by the ICRC was informed on March 30 that this proposal would be examined, however, he should not take any further action on its own initiative until the receipt of further instructions.

Why Jean de Bavier was ultimately dismissed by the ICRC of its position, never became known, as are the reasons for the selection of Friedrichsborn as his successor. It seems likely that in addition to the fact that Born had been located on the ground, resulting from his work good contacts with influential families and diplomatic circles in Hungary also played a role as the fact that he spoke alongside German and French and Hungarian. On May 10, 1944 thus took over the completely inexperienced in practical Red Cross work Friedrichsborn as a delegate the management of the ICRC delegation in Budapest. Just as Jean de Bavier he asked the ICRC repeatedly to expand its own powers of action as well as to official initiatives of the committee in favor of the Jewish population in Hungary. To support the work of its delegation he dealt mainly Jews, for which he also prevailed with the local authorities that they had to wear a Jewish star. His further initiatives he led without an express request or approval of the ICRC, but the committee informed about its activities.

He straightened hospitals, children's homes and orphanages and soup kitchens one for the Hungarian Jews and put these institutions under the protection of the Red Cross. In just the 60 children and orphanages around 7,000 to 8,000 children could be supplied. In addition, he received from the ICRC, the power to issue protective documents for the affected people. He also worked with the consular offices of Latin American states in Switzerland to allow the exhibition of immigration papers of these countries other Hungarian Jews protection against reprisals and deportation by the Nazis. After the establishment of the Budapest ghetto he moved his office there.

Most of the deportations he could not prevent by its use. However, he succeeded to stop the removal of the last convoy, which he saved the lives of about 7500 people. More 3000 to 4000 Hungarian Jews escaped through their work for the ICRC delegation to the transport to the extermination camps. The total number of rescued by Friedrich Born Jews is estimated at about 11,000 to 15,000.

Life after the Second World War

In January 1945, after the invasion of the Red Army, he was forced to leave Hungary on the orders of the Soviet military authorities. His mission for the ICRC ended on September 9, 1945., He founded in the aftermath own import - export company and lived in Zollikofen near Bern.

Born Friedrich died on 14 January 1963 to have ever told without his children from his activities for the Jewish population in Hungary. On June 5, 1987 him the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem was posthumously awarded the honorary title " Righteous Among the Nations " award.

Since 2010 in Budapest contributes a part of the promenade along the Danube his name; in May 2011 (appendix inside the Buda Castle hill ) has opened two rooms also in the so-called Cave Hospital, dedicated to him and the ICRC delegation.