Report of Activities 2009


Rescuers Research in 2009

During 2009 the IRWF research team has investigated and documented the cases of the following WWII rescuers:

  • Julio Palencia, the Spanish Ambassador in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Bernardo Rolland y Miota, the Spanish Consul General in Paris, France
  • Jozef Borzecki, Poland
  • Istvan Nagy, Hungary
  • Hannah Sotschek and daughter Eva Cassirer, Germany
  • Paul and Leni Pissarius, Germany

All the aforementioned cases have been conveyed to Yad Vashem for their evaluation. In addition, a significant number of rescue stories are currently in various stages of evaluation.

New Testimonies Recorded in New York and Buenos Aires

The IRWF continued interviewing Holocaust Survivors rescued by Wallenberg for its ”Documenting Wallenberg” project. As a result, the testimonies of John Schiffer, Eva Cooper, Marianne Balshone, George Schwartz, Ana Waller, Marta Sebor, Thomas Weisshaus, Gabriel Hartstein and Robert Tabory have been added to the video archive in 2009. The Buenos Aires offices of the IRWF have recorded interviews with Holocaust survivors Eugenia Unger, Irene Birnbaum and Raquel (Mónica) Mowszowicz.

The read the transcripts of the interviews click here.


A Series of Lectures Presented by the Buenos Aires offices of the IRWF

The series of lectures entitled ”The Origin of the Jewish Nation” was launched at the IRWF Buenos Aires headquarters on May 11, 2009. Ms. Lidia Assorati, Ph.D., a volunteer of the Foundation, was in charge of the lectures that were open to volunteers, members of the Board of Directors, and special guests.


The IRWF published a collection of e-books available on the IRWF website. ”Borges and the Jews,” ”John XXIII: The Good Pope,” and ”Poems of Robert Olschwanger” are just some of the titles from the vast selection published in English, Spanish, German, Hebrew, and French.

New ”Wallenberg at School” Educational Session in Buenos Aires

The French-Argentinean Liceo ”Jean Mermoz” of Buenos Aires hosted a new session of the IRWF’s educational program ”Wallenberg at School” on September 30, 2009. Ms. Myriam Kesler, a Holocaust survivor, was the key-note speaker at the presentation. ”Wallenberg at School” was developed by the IRWF with the aim of disseminating the values of civic courage and solidarity, ethical cornerstones of the brave men and women who risked their lives to rescue persecuted people during the Holocaust. More then 9,000 students have participated in the program during 2009.

The ”Wallenberg at School” Educational Program was Launched in Israel

The IRWF and Casa Argentina launched the ”Wallenberg at School” educational program in Israel, consisting of a series of lectures about the life and feats of Raoul Wallenberg by Eli Yossef, a renown Israeli educator who specializes in educational programs that underscore the corageous deeds of the Swedish hero. This initiative will continue in full force, aimed at reaching a large number of Israeli students.

National History Day Contest 2009

Aware of the upcoming National History Day contest, featuring ”The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies” as its 2009 theme, the IRWF encouraged students to choose Raoul Wallenberg and/or other rescuers as the topic of their projects. The IRWF provided resources for students that include a specially designed ”Learn About Raoul Wallenberg” Study Guide.

Volunteers of the IRWF Buenos Aires Educational Program Gathered to Celebrate the New Year

The gathering included the presence of Baruch Tenembaum, the Founder of the IRWF and Israel Faerman, General Secretary of Casa Argentina en Israel Tierra Santa. The celebration also marked the ninth consecutive year of the activities of the ”Wallenberg at School” educational program.


Raoul Wallenberg Remembered on the Day of His Disappearance, Buenos Aires

On January 21, the IRWF Buenos Aires organized a commemorative gathering in front of the Raoul Wallenberg statue. Political annalist George Chaya, writer Marcos Aguinis, and the Ambassador of Sweden in Argentina H.E. Arne Rodin were present at the event.

”Righteous From Austria – the Heroes of the Holocaust,” Santiago de Chile

The exhibit ”Righteous from Austria,” organized by the IRWF, was inaugurated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile in commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The exhibit presented the cases of sixteen people – out of a group of eighty-six men, women, and teenagers- who, living under the Nazi dictatorship, consciously violated one of the main principles of the National-Socialist ideology that considered Jews to be sub-humans belonging to an enemy race. Documentation from ”Yad Vashem” served as the base for the creation of the exhibit, which was first presented in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The IRWF Met With People Rescued by Wallenberg, New York

April of 2009 was a month of encounters. Alice Breuer and Erwin Koranyi, both rescued by Wallenberg, came to Princeton, New Jersey, to visit their dear friend and sister Marta Sebor. Marta herself was also rescued by Wallenberg, whom she helped by typing Shutz-passes at one of the Swedish protected houses that served as the Swedish diplomat’s office. The IRWF had already collected Mr. Koranyi’s written testimony as part of its ”Documenting Wallenberg” project, but this was a rare opportunity to meet him and Ms. Breuer since both of them live abroad.

IRWF Reunited Wallenberg Survivors for the First Time, New York

On August 4th, 2009, the IRWF New York office celebrated Wallenberg’s 97th birthday with a unique gathering that reunited about twenty survivors rescued by Wallenberg, living in the New York area. Ms. Margareta Barvaeus, Deputy Consul of Sweden in New York; Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, Research Consultant for the IRWF; and Kayla Kaufman, one of Wallenberg Survivors, spoke at the event that turned out to be a touching experience for everyone involved.

Celebration of Raoul Wallenberg Birthday, Buenos Aires

People rescued by Raoul Wallenberg, teachers, and volunteers from the IRWF Buenos Aires office gathered on August 4th, 2009, for a celebratory ceremony in honor of Raoul Wallenberg’s 97th birthday. The gathering took place next to the Raoul Wallenberg monument ”Hero Without A Grave” on the corner of Austria Street and Figueroa Alcorta Avenue in the city of Buenos Aires. Renowned Argentine writer Marcos Aguinis was the keynote speaker at the event.

The IRWF Remembered Raoul Wallenberg, Tel Aviv

A special screening of the documentary film ”The Case of Raoul Wallenberg: Savior and Victim,” directed by Klaus Dexel, took place at Tel Aviv’s cinemateque on August 4th, to commemorate the 97º anniversary of the Swedish diplomat’s birth.

Raoul Wallenberg’s Niece Met With Survivors Rescued by her Uncle, New York

Louise von Dardel met with Holocaust survivors rescued by her uncle, Raoul Wallenberg, at a reunion organized by the IRWF in its New York headquarters in September of 2009. The Wallenberg Survivors, many of them with their children, were present at this wonderful and touching meeting. The survivors were thankful for the opportunity to express their gratitude to a relative of their rescuer and were eager to know more about Wallenberg’s fate and the toll his disappearance took for the Wallenberg family. ”The stories were amazing,” said Louise after the gathering, ”all so different and still full of synchronicities and miracles.”

To read more click here.

The IRWF Participated at the Yom Hashoah Ceremony of Manhattan Ramaz School, New York

Ms. Louise Von Dardel, Raoul Wallenberg’s niece, was a special guest at the Yom Hashoah Ceremony at the Manhattan Ramaz School. The IRWF took part in this wonderfully organized event by bringing along Wallenberg survivors.

The Marshal of the Polish Senate Paid Respect to Holocaust Victims, Buenos Aires

On November 12, 2009 Bogdan Borusewicz, the Marshal of the Polish Senate, visited the Commemorative Mural to the Holocaust Victims, installed at the Chapel of the Virgin from Luján at the Buenos Aires Cathedral. Borusewicz was accompanied by Oscar Vicente, the president of the Casa Argentina en Israel Tierra Santa, Holocaust survivors Myriam Kesler and Tomas Kertesz, as well as by the representatives of the IRWF Buenos Aires office.


Performances of ”Wallenberg, a Musical Drama,” in Harrison and New York

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation continues its support of ”Wallenberg, a Musical Drama” as an associate producers of this wonderful, Broadway-bound piece. On Sunday, April 26, a new concert presentation took place in the Jewish Community Center of Harrison, New York. Following the performance, the audience was invited to meet Award-winning librettists Felicia Needleman and Laurence Holzman, composer Benjamin Rosenbluth, director Annette Jolles, and the entire cast, for a talk-back reception. A Wallenberg musical performance was also organized at the Consulate of Hungary in New York on October 5th to coincide with the annual ”Raoul Wallenberg Day” commemorated in many states across the U.S.

Ann Froman’s Exhibition at the IRWF New York

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and Casa Argentina en Israel – Tierra Santa had the pleasure of presenting ”Heroes,” an exhibition of Ann Froman’s art. Considered a true innovator, Froman is an internationally recognized artists whose sculptures have found a place in many prestigious collections, including those of Time Warner, March of Dimes, Harvard University, Brooklyn College, the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, Temple Emanu-El, and St Patrick’s Cathedral. One of the main art pieces featured in the exhibit, ”Survival,” is a sculpture in bronze that depicts Raoul Wallenberg and his struggle to help others.

The IRWF Started Collaborating With Dr. Peter Bulow

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation announced a new collaboration with Dr. Peter Bulow, a sculptor and an assistant professor in psychiatry at Columbia University. Dr. Bulow has been commissioned by the IRWF to create a series of sculptures featuring Rescuers of the Holocaust. The first two pieces, which Dr. Bulow is currently sculpting, depict Raoul Wallenberg and Brazilian rescuer Ambassador Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas. Dr. Bulow himself feels greatly connected to the subject since both his mother and his uncle were rescued by Raoul Wallenberg.

New Partnership With Spanish Artist Felix de la Concha

Artist Felix de la Concha shared with the IRWF the portraits and testimonies of people rescued by Wallenberg, part of his latest project of painting portraits and recording Holocaust survivors. The process of portraying, done in an intimate setting and assuming considerable time of interaction between the artist and the model, turned out to be a perfect invitation for the survivors to tell their story with details and reflections. Two of the 24 survivors that Mr. de la Concha has painted and recorded so far, were rescued by Raoul Wallenberg. The IRWF transcribed the interviews, now available on the ”Documenting Wallenberg” section of its website.

Saviors on the Screen Film Festival Presented on April 20-21, New York

The IRWF and the JCC in Manhattan presented ”Saviors on the Screen” a Yom Hashoah Film Festival that pays tribute and remembers the rescuers of persecuted people during the Holocaust. This is the forth year that the festival has been organized. In this year’s edition, the audience had the opportunity to see ”Blessed is the Match,” a first documentary feature on the life of Hannah Senesh, the WWII-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc; ”Pigeon,”a short film set in France during WWII, based on a true story, that recounts a rare and startling act of charity; and ”Just an Ordinary Jew: An Oxymoron in Contemporary Germany,” a feature film based on the book of Charles Lewinskty, that explores a complexity of life as a Jew in post-war Germany.

The IRWF Received an Art Donation, New York

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation received a donation of fourteen paintings from Canadian-Austrian artist Armand Frederick Vallée. The paintings compose ”The Wallenberg Series” and narrate Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg’s quest to save persecuted people in 1944 Budapest. Following the artist’s passing earlier this year, Liesel Paris, trustee of Mr. Vallée’s estate, contacted the Wallenberg Foundation with the decision to fulfill her late friend’s wish: to exhibit ”The Wallenberg Series” at the IRWF New York.

To read more click here.

”Legado” Presented at the Buenos Aires Legislature

On September 1, 2009, more then one hundred people gathered in the Legislature of the city of Buenos Aires to present the special screening of the documentary film ”Legado.” The screening was organized by the IRWF Buenos Aires and the legislator Facundo Di Filippo. The directors of ”Legado” Vivián Imar and Marcelo Trotta were present at the screening. ”Legado”, a documentary which tells the story of the Jewish colonization in Argentina was produced by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

The IRWF New York Oppened Cultural Center

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, together with Casa Argentina en Israel – Tierra Santa, inaugurated a cultural space dedicated to the promotion of Wallenberg values through artistic and cultural endeavors. The Foundation is planning to supply the space with a media room where visitors will be able to experience the many audiovisual interviews produced and collected by the organization through its initiative ”Documenting Wallenberg: An Archive of Testimonials.” A library, lectures, after school classes, screenings, and other weekly programs are among the many ideas being considering for 2010.


Karolina and Zsuzsanna Reszeli Declared ”Righteous Among the Nations”

Karolina Reszeli and her late mother Zsuzsanna were declared ”Righteous Among the Nations,” the highest honor bestowed by Yad Vashem, the ”Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.” The Reszeli case was researched and compiled by the IRWF team and later on conveyed for evaluation to the Yad Vashem commission. Reszeli mother and daughter had been previously honored by the IRWF in October of 2008.

To read more click here.

Spanish Journalist Eduardo Martín de Pozuelo Received the Raoul Wallenberg Award

The Raoul Wallenberg Award was bestowed upon the Spanish journalist Eduardo Martín de Pozuelo for his praiseworthy journalistic career and his exceptional articles in the series ”The Holocaust Revelations” published in the newspaper ”La Vanguardia.” The ceremony was organized with the collaboration of Casa-Sefarad Israel and was held at the headquarters of the European commission in Madrid on May 29, 2009. Judge Baltasar Garzon and 2002 Raoul Wallenberg Award honoree Gustavo de Aristegui presented the award. Diego de Ojeda, director of Casa Sefarad – Israel; Miguel Puente Pattison, chief press officer of the European commission; and Danny Rainer, vice-president of the IRWF also took part in the ceremony.

Baruch Tenembaum Honored in Israel

The center of the Iberian and Latin American communities in Israel (CICLA) awarded its annual prize to Baruch Tenembaum, founder of the IRWF, as well as to other distinguished members of the Hispanic community, such as ambassador Ana Salomon, professor Leon Trahtenberg, Mr. Eliahu Toker, and Ms. Jana Beris. The ceremony took place at the Truman Institute of Hebrew University of Jerusalem on September 7, 2009.

Polish Diplomat Received Recognition, Buenos Aires

The IRWF distinguished Polish diplomat Izabela Matusz, the economic attaché at the Polish Embassy in Buenos Aires, for her praiseworthy human values, dedication to the discovery of historic truth, and impeccable professional career. Ms. Matusz’s cooperation enabled the IRWF to discover thus far unknown rescuers of persecuted people during the WWII, such as Stanislawa Slawinska, a Polish woman who saved the lives of Ms. Esfira Maiman and her family members. The ceremony took place on July 29th, 2009, at the Embassy of Poland in Buenos Aires.

A Member of the Executive Board of the IRWF Presented With a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree by the Humboldt University of Berlin

Former Community Rabbi of Berlin and an incumbent Member of the Executive Board of the IRWF, Rabbi Ernst Stein, was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa degree by the oldest Berlin’s academic institution, the prestigious, world renown, Humboldt University. The Ceremony took place on November 23, 2009 in Berlin.

To read more click here.


Ten US States Proclaimed Raoul Wallenberg Day

The IRWF initiated a campaign aimed at obtaining official proclamations of ”Wallenberg Days” in the United States in 2005. This year the governors of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming joined our initiative by proclaiming October 5, 2009 as Raoul Wallenberg Day in their states.

Russian Federation Officially Blames Stalin for Wallenberg Disappearance

The IRWF Foundation and its founder, Baruch Tenembaum, issued a press release disclosing the letter that the IRWF received from Mr. Alexander Darchiev, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C., as a result of a worldwide campaign that the Foundation launched to uncover the Wallenberg’s fate. In the letter, Mr. Darchiev states, ”responsibility for the death of Mr. Wallenberg lies with the USSR leadership at that time and on I.V. Stalin personally. No other authority could deal with a Swedish diplomat, representative of a neutral state, a member of the ”Wallenberg House,” well known both abroad and to the Soviet government.”

The IRWF Campaigned Against the Knut Hamsun Celebration in Norway

The IRWF raised its voice against the Norwegian government’s announcement that 2009 would be dedicated to Knut Hamsun as it marks the 150th anniversary of his birth. Knut Hamsun, Nobel Prize winner and one of Norway’s best known writers was also an avid supporter of Adolf Hitler and Norwegian Nazi Party known as ”Nasjonal Samling.” Letters to the editor and articles signed by the IRWF were published world-wide. In order to promote more positive human values embodied by the righteous actions of the Rescuers, the IRWF started a search for new rescue stories from Norway.

To read more click here.