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January 17, 2021 6:07 pm

Jewish Groups, Descendants of Holocaust Survivors Pay Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Photo: public domain.

Jewish groups, political leaders, and descendants of Holocaust survivors paid tribute on Sunday to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, on the anniversary of his disappearance.

Wallenberg, who with Oskar Schindler is one of the most well-known “righteous among the nations,” was a Swedish diplomat posted to Budapest. In 1944, he began issuing diplomatic papers to thousands of Jews who were threatened with deportation to Auschwitz and other death camps, saving their lives. Famously, Wallenberg once leapt onto the roof of a deportation train filled with Jews and began handing passes to those inside.

On January 17, 1945, after Hungary was taken by the Red Army, Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet intelligence and disappeared. Rumors of his fate have swirled for decades, with most believing that he died in a Soviet prison sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. He was officially declared dead in 2016.

The American Jewish Committee paid tribute to the diplomat, stating, “76 years after his disappearance, we honor ‘Swedish Schindler’ Raoul Wallenberg, a hero who saved tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary.”

“May his bravery forever be remembered and serve as an inspiration for generations to come,” they said.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry stated, “Each year, on 17 January, we honor the memory of Raoul Wallenberg. His moral courage will be remembered forever. Like Raoul, you can make a difference through your engagement and actions. Join us in lighting a candle today for Raoul, his humanitarian deeds, and human solidarity!”

The US Embassy in Budapest also paid tribute to Wallenberg, saying, “On this day last year, we remembered the 75th anniversary of the Budapest Ghetto liberation and the abduction of the Swedish diplomat Wallenberg who saved thousands of Jews.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Raoul Wallenberg’s heroic rescue efforts during the Holocaust saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from persecution and death. As we honor his bravery today, we must also reflect on his legacy and continue to fight antisemitism, hatred, and racism.”

Canadian media personality and political commentator Charles Adler, the son of a Jew saved by Wallenberg, gave a personal tribute to the diplomat, saying, “My 10-year-old mum survived because of the decency, dedication, and heroism of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.”

“Wallenberg was sent to the Gulag in Siberia not far from where the Soviets imprisoned (imprisoned is polite for what they did) my dad for three years,” he added. “He made it out, a tortured soul. Meeting my mom gave his life meaning. They would never have met had it not been for Wallenberg.”


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