New York – Kayla Kaufman was only 9 years old in 1944 in Hungary. But she still remembers the look on her father’s face the Friday night when her family was safely reunited with the help of Swedish Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. ”I’ve seen so many movies and so many TV shows, I have never seen a human being cry that hard ever… [Raoul Wallenberg] saved six of us, and today there are 159 lives because of him.”
Kaufman will share her story with other Holocaust Survivors saved by the Swedish diplomat in the first Wallenberg Survivors’ reunion. Organized by The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) to celebrate what would be Wallenberg’s 97th birthday, this unique gathering will reunite about twenty survivors living in the New York area on Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at 10:30 am at the IRWF’s headquarters, located at 34 East 67th Street.
”The reunion is as a response to Wallenberg Survivors’ wishes and our way to thank them for sharing their inspiring life stories with us,” says IRWF founder Baruch Tenembaum. He is referring to the work produced by the organization’s most exciting project to date, ”Documenting Wallenberg.” Aimed at preserving testimonies, the program has compiled an extended collection of interviews that give insight into Wallenberg’s courageous life and heroism. ”Not only have we compiled an archive of firsthand accounts about Wallenberg’s courageous life and rescue missions, but also invaluable friendships with these ‘Wallenberg Survivors’ who, during the interviews, expressed interest in meeting each other,” explains Tenembaum.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is a Non Governmental Organization whose mission is to install the values of solidarity and civic courage on the future generations through educational programs, research, and public awareness campaigns. The programs of the IRWF are organized world-wide from its offices in New York, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Buenos Aires.
Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued 100,000 Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps during World War II by issuing protective passports and creating safe houses, was taken into Russian custody on January 17, 1945. His fate remains a mystery to this day.
Let this be the last year Wallenberg’s birthday is celebrated while he is still missing.
To read the survivors’ testimonies, please visit here
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
34 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10065