The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau, received the founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) Baruch Tenembaum.
The meeting took place on Wednesday 7 March, 2001 at the ‘Schloss Belevue’ Palace, the presidential residence in Berlin, and lasted for sixty minutes. The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, was the next visit that the German President would receive hours later.
‘I want to express my total recognition to the success achieved by your institution’, pointed out Rau in the main hall of the palace where the flashes of the numerous reporters present reflected against the walls.
Afterwards, Tenembaum praised president Rau for his position in favor of the search of truth and for the courage shown in February of the year 2000 when, in German language, he pleaded for forgiveness before the Israeli Parlament in Jerusalem by the crimes committed by the national socialist regime. The IRWF was the first non-government organization to praise the leader’s gesture just hours after it took place.
‘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’, said Tenembaum. In another part of his speech he added: ‘There are lights and shadows in the world; and even though it is important not to forget the shadows we have decided to dedicate to the exceptions that constitute the lights. We have devoted ourselves to Raoul Wallenberg, a protestant who saved thousands of Jews condemned to death.’
Tenembaum, who among other initiatives is the promoter of the creation of the Memorial Mural commemorating the Holocaust victims installed inside the Buenos Aires Cathedral in 1997, informed President Rau about the recently created Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli International Committee in relation to the IRWF to recognize through investigations the part played by the future Pope John XXIII during his nunciature in Istanbul in 1944. Roncalli saved thousands of Jews, in many cases children to whom Christian baptismal certificates were issued to avoid their annihilation. The Vatican’s State Secretary, Cardinal Angelo Sodano duly approved the constitution of this committee.
Tenembaum handed the German President the ‘Homage to Raoul Wallenberg’ sculpture, by the Argentine artist Norma D’Ippólito. This exclusive piece of the IRWF, has already been placed in many embassies and government agencies in the whole world. President Rau received it clearly excited and pointed out that he will not cease in his search of reconciliation.
Afterwards, Rau invited Tenembaum to hold a private reception. There the Argentine businessman had the opportunity to inform the President about the ultimate plan of the IRWF: the creation of a data base with the names of all the Germans saviors; people that, at their own lives’ risk, and during the nazi regime of terror helped thousands of persecuted, of whom mostly were Jewish.
‘We will address to all the communities and religions in the world to consider the possibility of naming newborn babies with the names of the saving angels. Sons and daughters with names of heroes and angels.’, Tenembaum said.