Hero Wallenberg must never be forgotten
Wallenberg rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis by providing them with Swedish passports or housing them in diplomatic buildings. But in January 1945, he vanished from the streets of Soviet-occupied Budapest and was never seen again
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust in Hungary, was remembered at a ceremony on Tuesday marking the 72nd anniversary of his disappearance.
Wallenberg rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis by issuing them with fake Swedish passports or housing them in diplomatic buildings. But in January 1945 he vanished from the streets of Soviet-occupied Budapest and was never seen again.
Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets on suspicion of espionage and there have been various accounts regarding his fate. Some have said he died in a Soviet prison, but his exact fate remains a mystery.
Addressing the remembrance event, Katalin Victor Langer, deputy state secretary in charge of social inclusion at the Ministry of Human Resources, stressed the need to gather each year and remember Wallenberg, the rescuer, and celebrate contemporary heroes who demonstrate that “conscience should not flag in peacetime either”.
“It is our responsibility to preserve and pass on the culture of respect and love for each other," she added.
Holocaust Memorial Center Director Szabolcs Szita said Wallenberg’s life work is something “to hang on to”. Wallenberg awards were granted at the event to people whose actions and life show an example in humanity.
Raoul Wallenberg was born in Stockholm on August 4, 1912. He arrived in Budapest in July 1944 to serve as secretary at the Swedish Embassy. On January 17, 1945, he left Budapest for Debrecen (East Hungary), but never arrived there.