On September 29th 2005, during an event that took place at the White Reception Room of the Government headquarters of Santa Fe, in the city of Rosario, Governor Jorge Obeid handed out the title of Distinguished Citizen of that province to Baruch Tenembaum, founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
Tenembaum was born in the colony ”Las Palmeras”, in Santa Fe, a settlement of Jewish immigrants founded at the end of the 19th. century. Grandson and son of Jewish gauchos, he studied in Buenos Aires and in Rosario.
The decree signed by Obeid, points out, amidst other concepts, that ”Mr. Tenembaum is the founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which carries the name of the person who had a leading part in countless and extraordinary actions to rescue the hungarian Jews during the World War II” and that the Wallenberg Foundation ”groups people of different faiths, without ever getting involved in politics and developing its activities totally independent of States and/or governments”.
”The work and the human quality of Mr.Tenembaum has won him the national and international appreciation of governments and institutions such as Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Chile, the Vatican and the Congress of the United States.
For all these reasons, the Governor decreed that Mr. Baruj Tenembaum be declared Distinguished Citizen of the Province of Santa Fe, ”honorable ambassador of our Province before the entire World”.
The engineer Oscar Vicente, Director of Petrobras Energía S.A., the presbyter Horacio Moreno, President of the Wallenberg Foundation, Governor Obeid and Mr. Tenembaum spoke during the course of the ceremony. The latter, very touched, thanked his native Province for the honor bestowed upon him.
Amongst the numerous demonstrations of support which arrived from all over the world, the ones that stand out most are those of the Argentine President, Néstor Kirchner; the Minister of the Interior, Aníbal Fernández; the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit; the Representative of the Congress of the United States, Tom Lantos; the American Ambassador to Argentina, Lino Gutierrez; the Parish Priest Annemarie Werner from the German Evangelical Church; the Sheik Abdul Aziz Bukhari, President of the Uzbekian Community of Jerusalem; as well as those of the Governor of Munich; the Archbishop of Rosario, Monseigneur Eduardo Mirás; the Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Argentine Nation, Carmen Argibay; the President of the newspaper La Nación, Julio Saguier; the Director General of the ORT Schools in Uruguay,Charlotte Grünberg and the Ambassadors of Germany, Portugal, Austria, the Vatican and Israel, amidst other diplomatic delegations from the whole world.
Lantos, the only survivor of the Holocaust that occupies a seat in the Capitol, wrote: ”There is no bigger recognition for a man like you, who dedicated each one of his days to cultivate a peaceful coexistence, education and human rights, than the one offered to you by your own community (…) The pride that your native town feels for the result of your efforts, will be useful to inspire other individuals to follow your steps. Often, those nearer to us are the most difficult to please. Notwithstanding, your work has managed to accomplish even this great feat”.
Lino Gutierrez, American Ambassador for Argentina, stated: ”The province of Santa Fe deserves to feel proud for the native son that created the Wallenberg Foundation, mister Baruj Tenembaum. In this occasion I wish to join the citizens and the Governor of Santa Fe in the acknowledgement and homage to the life of this really outstanding man”.
In a letter written by the parish priest Annemarie Werner of the German Evangelical Church in Berlin to Governor Obeid , she says ”To Mr. Tenembaum, with his inexhaustible efforts towards the reconciliation and the intereligious dialogue, his dedication to humanity, his generosity and magnanimity, we owe the donation to our church of a copy of the Memorial Mural to be found in the Cathedral of the city of Buenos Aires which was dedicated to the victims of the Shoa and to the victims of the terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli institutions in Argentina. We feel his constant appraisal of the suffering and needs, of honesty and truth, and we are very pleased to have shared his wisdom and knowledge”.
The vicegovernor of Santa Fe, Mia Eugenia Bielsa; the ministers of the Governor´s cabinet; the president of the CGE, Ricardo Faerman; the Superintendent of Las Palmeras, Víctor Cravero; community managers, educators and diplomats were all present at the ceremony.
The Fisherton Chorus of Rosario closed this act.
Translation: María Pensavalle