August 3, 2016

Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg in Buenos Aires

On Thursday, 4 August 2016 the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation paid tribute to the “Hero without a grave” on a new anniversary of his birth (August 4, 1912). The meeting took place next to the Philip Jackson statue located in the city of Buenos Aires.

The guest speaker was Dr. Roberto Malkassian, friend and collaborator of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation who also placed a wreath, accompanied by Dr. Luciana Minassian.

Dr. Malkassian is professor of the Holocaust, Genocides and Anti-Discrimination Chair, Faculty of Law (UBA).

Tomas Kertesz, Holocaust survivor saved by Raoul Wallenberg in 1944, attended the ceremony, along with Dr. Lilian del Castillo, head of the department of Public International Law (UBA); Sulim Granovsky, author of the book “Armenian Genocide. The Extermination Silenced “; Dr. Israel Imar, attorney,  Diana Liniado, Carolina Di Tella, Salvador Gutt and Annette Pascar, among others.

The ceremony in Buenos Aires was accompanied by three other tributes paid by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in New York, next to the “Hope” monument, just meters away from the United Nations building; in Tel Aviv, next to the statue of Wallenberg, by artist Imre Varga, and at the Ezeiza International Airport where, along with Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, a flower arrangement was placed next to the bust inaugurated in 2012 in Terminal A. Since the bust was unveiled 34,744,589 passengers passed through the terminal.

Speech by Dr. Roberto Malkassian

There are men who were served by life and others who have served life. The latter is the case of Raoul Wallenberg, who honored the human being in its first essence, life, by saving more than 50,000 Jews from death during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. While barbarism destroyed, Wallenberg put all his effort into a daunting task: to save his fellow beings without any distinction of race, nationality or religion.

What inner strength, tremendous conviction about what ethical, philosophical, religious and even legal principles had to have this incredible man who risked his life every hour in order to save the lives of others! Did Wallenberg know he was a living example of compassion? Did he know that his conduct held a light on for the civilized world that symbolizes the hope of humanity towards a future of brotherhood, harmony, peace? That light is the one which the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation honoring him, -created by Baruch Tenembaum and chaired by Eduardo Eurnekian-, has taken as an emblem to reward those who, like Raoul Wallenberg, honored life by saving their fellow men. That light is the light of the Righteous, the light of the Houses of Life.

Wallenberg’s life was hanging in the balance while he fought against the Nazi barbarism, even though he had a diplomatic status in Hungary. What an irony of fate, then, that his disappearance occurred after the defeat of Nazism, during the Soviet domination of that country.

We remember Wallenberg quoting his date of birth and writing a question mark instead a date of death. The Swedish government has launched in March this year a legal process to declare the presumption of death. Wallenberg lives in each one of us. His life inspires our actions and his example remains imperishable for future generations. Long live his memory and the foundation that honors him worthily.

Dr. Roberto Malkassian