Remembering Raoul Wallenberg

 On April 24-25th, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, Sweden celebrated the 100th anniversary of Wallenberg’s birth with an extraordinary program.  Presenters included Ambassador Hans Corell, former Secretary General Kofi Annan and High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and each of the major lectures of the day was followed by a solo piano interlude that was beautifully rendered.  See website.   The following day I had the opportunity to speak on a panel about modern-day atrocities.  See website.  Wallenberg’s story is really quite extraordinary; from a prominent Swedish family, he served during World War II as the Swedish Legate to Hungary, posted in Budapest.  Distraught over the fate of Europe’s Jews, he personally intervened to grant protective passports, lodging and safe passage to as many as 100,000 individuals who were saved by his intervention (US Congressman Tom Lantos is among those saved by Wallenberg).  After this extraordinary act of courage, he was picked up by the Soviets after the war, and died in Soviet custody under very mysterious circumstances.  His remains have still not been returned to his family.  The photo here shows the Chancellor of Lund University (left) with Wallenberg’s half-sister, Nina Lagergren (age 93!), and Ambassador Hans Corell.  After remembering Raoul and celebrating his life, they called upon the Russians to finally release Wallenberg’s remains to his family and divulge what really happened to him.   Sweden may have been neutral during the war, but Wallenberg was anything but.

   

text