The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) presented its educational project titled ”Diplomacy and the Holocaust” on August 25, 2000 at the functions room of the National Institute of the Foreign Service of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In attendance were some 120 people.
Taking this opportunity, the historian and Vice-president of Argentine House in Jerusalem, Mr. José Ignacio García Hamilton, delivered a sixty-minute speech about Raoul Wallenberg’s life, deeds and character. He emphasized his humanistic values to the thirty students of the Foreign Office Diplomatic School who were also in attendance, pointing out that the Swedish diplomat ”did what every public servant should do: give the best of themselves in order to assist their fellow person when they should be in need of it.”
The presentation was carried out by Ambassador José Sanchís Muñoz, Director of the National Institute of the Foreign Service, who also reiterated the achievements and advancements of the IRWF, so much so in Argentina as in the rest of the world. ”A few months ago, functionaries from the IRWF approached me with the idea of this meeting. I didn’t hold a doubt in my mind that Raoul Wallenberg’s birth month was an ideal time to hold this event. It not only exemplifies his work as a diplomat but rather it demanded that his conduct should be viewed as a paradigm for young people aspiring to work for the Foreign Service. The message that all diplomats take away from Wallenberg is that there are no norms or bureaucratic rules that should be placed above ethics and one’s own moral convictions”, indicated Mr. Sanchís Muñoz.
Mr. García Hamilton was flanked by three Holocaust survivors: Thomas Kertesz and Laszlo Ladanyi, rescued by Wallenberg in 1944 and by Jack Fuchs, an Auschwitz camp survivor. They all told of their life experiences culminating with Ladanyi who was unable to finish his speech being overcome with much emotion and grief.
The educational program, ”Diplomacy and the Holocaust” is an educational undertaking that proposes to massively broadcast the example of the dozens of diplomats from more than twenty countries who, during the course of the Holocaust (1933-1945), saved the lives of tens of thousands of people by helping them elude the Nazi regime’s plans for massive extermination. These diplomats constitute an example of conduct that should be taken by public functionaries and are a beacon for future generations.
The presentation was attended by ambassadors, functionaries from the Foreign Office and accredited foreign embassies in Argentina, students, teaching staff, members of Parliament, the Judicial Power of the Nation, managers of firms and the general public.