Park East Synagogue and The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation presented ”Remembering Raoul Wallenberg: Holocaust Survivors Share Their Stories”, to recognize the anniversary of the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who selflessly rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis.
His heroism was crowned by tragedy. On January 17th, 1945, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviet troops, who had just liberated Budapest, never to be seen again. Wallenberg is, then, a hero without a grave.
The event was designed to allow families and individuals a rare opportunity to learn first-hand from the experiences of those who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust. Special guest speakers included survivors Rabbi Arthur Schneier, who was in Budapest when Wallenberg disappeared; Agnes Adachi, who collaborated in Wallenberg’s rescue operation; and Kayla Kaufman, who was a child at the time and owes the survival of her family to the Swedish diplomat.
Ms. Kaufman remembered how Raoul Wallenberg arrived in the Budapest Ghetto and saved her father, who expresely asked him to reunite him with his wife and children. Wallenberg sent two jewish collaborators dressed as Nazi officials to the Red Cross where Kayla, her mother and siblings were sheltered. They were guided to a Swedish safe house and their lives were saved.
The evening also featured a special musical performance of ”Prologue” and ”Messages for Raoul Wallenberg,” by award-winning American composer Terry Winter Owens, performed by Soprano Patricia Sonego and Reizen Ensemble.