- Complete speech of Baruch
Tenembaum before the President of Germany, Johannes Rau
in Berlin. July, 2000
In your letter answering our invitation
on naming you an Honorary Member, you explained to us
that by constitutional reasons you are not allowed to
be a member of a private foundation, and that you honor
us with your praise to the action developed by our institution.
I am here to thank you for offering to help us with everything
within your means and to tell you the following:
I am aware that it is a very special
moment for our organization, and for me to find myself
before the president, but especially the personality whose
trajectory is well known.
There are things in life that are more
important than life itself. In accordance to what the
voice of our forefathers tells us to do, we must look
for TRUTH and JUSTICE.
Your historic declaration before the
Israeli Parliament in which you had the strength and courage
to plead for forgiveness, is an example for all humankind.
It is obvious that nobody can grant forgiveness, but the
action, the intention, and the dynamic manifested are
examples for our children; and it is the search of TRUTH.
Our foundation follows the same track. We are looking
forward to know the TRUTH the truth of the hero
Ours is an interfaith institution,
and it has a different perspective to offer our children
a model of what man has to be and has to do. Thirty Heads
of State already accompany us in the Wallenberg Foundation.
Where there are shadows there are lights, and even though
it is important not to forget the shadows, we have decided
to dedicate to the exceptions that constitute the lights.
We are dedicated to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, a
protestant who saved thousands of Jews assuring that there
are more important things in life than life itself: the
You know what we have done and what
we are doing. Following the same path, we are in the process
of preparing an international campaign for the world to
know what another person did, this time a catholic, also
a diplomat, Nuncio Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who later
became Pope John XXIII. Today we present you the first
two reports prepared by a special commission of historians
and scholars. Allow me to tell you, Mister President,
that the Vaticans State Secretary, Cardinal Angelo
Sodano, has publicly expressed in New York his surprise
and admiration by this initiative of the spirit commenced
by us, always in the search of Truth. Wallenberg and Roncalli
are exceptions; they are lights illuminating the long
nights in which the martyrs of humankind go on forever.
Roncalli issued baptismal certificates to save Jewish
This and other remarkable facts will
be part of the final report to be presented soon. I have
the honor to tell you, Mister President, that following
the path of Wallenberg and Roncalli, a few moths ago we
initiated a search for German Angels, people who risked
their lives to save those of others during the World War
II. What a surprise it was when it was revealed that hundreds
enlarge the list of what the world does not know: German-Catholics,
protestants, believers, agnostics that saved their
Jewish brothers and sisters, many paying with their own
lives for their acts of heroism.
We must follow that track of TRUTH
that the world knows and will leave their children this
example: German angels (´Germangels´). In
the near future, when this job of producing and registering
the list of Germans who saved human beings during the
Shoa is over, we wish to launch an international campaign
that will include, as in the Wallenbergs case, worthy
coverage useful to new generations as a legacy through
exhibitions, educational programs, films, seminars, and
courses, all in different languages.
Mister President: in the Old Testament,
there is a dialogue in the Book of Genesis, in which the
patriarch Abraham talks to the Creator trying to persuade
him not to destroy the city of Sodom. The Creator then
said that if there were only fifty upright people, the
destruction of all the inhabitants would be avoided. Then,
this number was becoming smaller and smaller because Abraham
was looking for any light in the depth of shadows but
he could not find it. He was looking for the exception
and he did not find it. We all know the way in which this
episode ended. With all modesty and humility we have looked
for such a dramatic chapter of history and luckily we
have found human beings that are good as an example and
as a model for our children. This is the TRUTH.
And today we are here to tell you,
Mister President Johannes Rau, that we all wish to collaborate
in this sense and we want you to stay with us in everything
that the Constitution of your country allows you to. Wouldnt
it allow you to be the Honorary President of this movement
that we are initiating dedicated to exalt the German angels,
those lights that illuminated our lives? We have decided
to renew an old tradition about which we have talked to
the Vatican authorities and we want to share it with you.
Not only in Wallenbergs case as well as Roncallis
and the hundreds of German angels, we will address to
all the communities and religions of the world without
exception to ask them to consider the possibility of naming
newborn babies with the names of the saving angels. This
project, which undoubtedly will produce deep emotions,
will have to be adopted by Christians during baptism,
Jewish males during circumcision, and every religion according
to its rites and traditions. Of course we have consulted
the religious authorities and the answer was of enthusiasm
and total approval.
Daughters and sons with names of heroes