Carl Lutz was a Swiss diplomat sent to German occupied Budapest in 1942. During that same time the Hungarian Jewry in the countryside was in very quick succession being deported to Auschwitz. Lutz realized he needed to act quickly.
As an envoy for neutral Switzerland, Lutz represented the interests of countries who had closed their embassies in Hungary, including Britain and the United States.
To save Budapest's Jews, Lutz needed to persuade the Germans to let him issue diplomatic letters of protection – 8,000 of them. He then applied the letters not to individuals, as the Germans had intended, but to entire families. And once he reached 7,999, he simply started again at number 1, hoping the Nazis would not notice the duplication.
Historians estimate that in this way he saved up to 62,000 people. Other diplomats learned from Lutz's methods and did the same.
Lutz's efforts frustrated Nazi officials in Budapest so much so that they requested permission from Berlin to have him assassinated - but it was never carried out.
When it became clear that Germany would lose the war, Nazi operations in Hungary became more and more brutal. So, rather than organize deportations, they began taking Jewish families to the River Danube and shooting them.
In response, Carl Lutz set up 76 safe houses. These safe houses were, diplomatically speaking, in Switzerland's territory. The shelters took in thousands. Sweden and the Red Cross set up safe houses too. Altogether there were 120 across Budapest. In this way he placed under Swiss protection anyone connected to the countries he represented.
At war's end, when he finally returned home to Switzerland, Lutz expected some sort of welcome - especially given the sacrificial nature of his tenure in Budapest. Instead when at the border gate he was asked, "Do you have anything to declare?" In fact, he was reprimanded for overstepping his authority.
Carl Lutz's step-daughter said of him, "He was a very shy man. It was not necessarily in his nature to do what he did. But he saw the misery of the Jews and he thought he had to help."
This one man, because he saw a need, and was willing to act on it, saved 62,000 people from a horrific future! One man! Do we see, are we looking at, with spiritual peripheral vision, the misery of those in our own back yard? And are we doing ALL we can for them? Anything for them?
God has positioned each of us for greatness. While Carl Lutz received no credit for his efforts - when all is said and done - God will greet us, but not at the gate of the heavenly city. NO! He will Himself fly to you and to me, and with the biggest embrace ever a man or woman could receive, and will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share [in] your Master's happiness" (Matt. 25:23). That, my friends, is abundant living!