To commemorate Raoul Wallenberg’s 98th birthday, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation invited Wallenberg survivors to share their thoughts on the man who saved their lives.
Since no words could ever express my eternal gratitude to you, Raoul Wallenberg, I named my child, Raoul T. Boros, born in London, 1957, after you, for saving his grandmother’s life on November 27, 1944, at the Budapest brick factory.
George Boros, Canada
I never saw his face, yet he is a part of everything inside and outside of me. According to my father, G-d rest his soul, he was a block of charisma walking.
With a heart so enormous that it could not find a vault to contain it. His courage was mythical. And today, there are survivors, with millions of children, grandchildren and grandkids walking this earth because of his gallant and victorious deeds and more added with each awakening and at each slumber.
What can one say? One hundred thousand Jews saved! There are those few who visit this earth for whom words have not yet been invented.
What can one say? I am talking, of course, of Raoul Wallenberg.
Kayla Kaufman, USA
Mother of two, grandmother of 7, and great grandmother of 3 and counting.
She, her parents, her 2 sisters, and one brother were saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
After my escape from a Nazi slave labor camp, I found shelter in Budapest in one of the Swedish safe-houses set up by Raoul Wallenberg. He saved my life… But what is etched even more deeply into my consciousness is the memory of having observed Wallenberg, at a railroad depot in Budapest, saving Jews from deportation to the death camps.
He was more than heroic…
To me; he symbolized humanity, at its best…
Frank Shatz, USA
Sixty-five years did not diminish the pain of the unjust and barbaric arrest and later the murder of Raoul Wallenberg by another dictatorship whose cruelty matched the one that Raoul Wallenberg so heroically fought. It has been Raoul who brought me back from the shore of the Danube where I had been taken for execution. And this is just one of the many bold and valiant deeds that he endeavored.
We still mourn Raoul Wallenberg deeply.
Dr. Erwin K. Koranyi, Canada
Among the many righteous gentiles who helped me and my family survive, surely Wallenberg had to be around the top. Thank you, Raoul!
Tom Sommer, Canada
The most courageous and heroic individual in history, Raoul Wallenberg saved our family from certain deathbed. We will be grateful to his memory forever.
Giselle Bulow and George Schwartz, USA
I would not be here if it wasn’t for Wallenberg. He not only gave us the passport which saved our lives, but he also gave us food when it was next to impossible to get. It’s the greatest unfairness that the Russians incarcerated him.
Mona Kramer, nee Maria Gergely, USA
I was a six your old young Jewish child in Hungary when the great majority of Hungarian Jews were killed. I survived because of Raoul Wallenberg. He was a man of vision, courage and determination.
The example of two people, one of them Raoul Wallenberg, the other our Christian ”maid” who in the course of my growing up was my second mother and who also heroically helped us during the Holocaust, seemed to have shaped the course of my life, as I studied what leads people to remain passive in the face of other needs and what leads them to become helpful, caring and altruistic, to become positive active bystanders. I then studied how people become perpetrators of mass violence and how we can prevent mass violence.
Like all of us, Raoul Wallenberg was changed by his own actions: he became increasingly committed to save lives and became a true hero for all ages.
Ervin Staub, USA
Professor of Psychology and Founding Director Emeritus of the Ph.D. Program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and author of The roots of evil: the origins of genocide and other group violence and of Overcoming evil: Genocide, violent conflict and terrorism.
I was in Budapest in 1944 when Raoul Wallenberg was there. Although I did not know it at that time, I am convinced I survived because of Wallenberg’s activities in Budapest. I will never forget this great man and am saddened about the tragic fate that awaited him after the war.
Michael Blain, USA
Our thoughts are with Raoul Wallenberg on his 98th birthday. If there was one important man in our life is certainly him who saved our lives and those of so many other men and women’s with his personal bravery. He lived a hero’s life and died a hero’s death.
George and Agi Adler, USA
Raoul Wallenberg is the greatest hero of my life. Brave, risking his own life selflessly and being highly effective in his mission of saving the lives of tens of thousands of Jews he did not know and whose religion he did not share. I am most grateful to my fate for having known him personally and working for him.
Janos Beer, USA
Only very few people have ever been given the ability (and the grace) to effectively counter evil. Wallenberg was one of those.
Judith Brody, UK
Raoul Wallenberg did for me the greatest thing that one man can do for another human being: he saved my life! He did it not by signing a paper or sending somebody -which is great too-, he did it personally. I was standing by the bank of the Danube, waiting to be sent to Auschwitz or to be executed, when He came to me, took my hand and take me out from death to life. I have been grateful to him all my life.
I learned from him that one person can make a great difference, even in an insane world; that we have always the choice between good and evil; and that there is always hope.
Dr. Nomi Gur, Israel
My father survived the dark days in Budapest in one of [Wallenberg's] safe houses as ”a doctor for the Swedish Red Cross.” The story is that my mother, who had a separate false identity paper as an unmarried woman from the provinces with an illegitimate baby (me), used to visit the Red Cross every day under the pretext that I was sick, just so that my father could see me. Although he did not survive the war for very long, I always believe that I had a father for 12 years because of Raoul Wallenberg, and I thank his family for raising him to be the hero that he became.
Elizabeth Ban, Australia
I was saved by Raoul Wallenberg and became an MD Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst. During all my life I keep his memory. He is with me every time I do something good for another human being. He would have liked it.
Thank you for my life, Raoul Wallenberg.
Alice Breuer, Sweden
Raoul’s actions were a torch that lit up the lives of thousands condemned to annihilation during the Nazi regime. He stood up against an inhuman ruling system and dared to oppose them and saved many of their intended victims.
I am alive today because I met him for a short moment and his quick decision helped me to find a safe shelter… The torch is extinguished now, but the memory of its light will shine forever.
His goodness and bravery will be recalled by grateful future generations!
May THE DARK SPECTERS, who sent Raoul to his cruel fate -after all the good he did for others- be condemned to oblivion.
Our love and respect belongs to Raoul’s family for raising a son, as good and exceptional, as he turned to be.
Agnes Adler, USA
We are the children of Josef Wosner z’l, a World War II survivor, who remained alive thanks to the Schutzpass he received at the Gyor Labor Camp. We cannot be more grateful to Raul Wallenberg for his brave and audacious help in the midst of WWII.
Our father was released immediately from the camp; all his fellow inmates who remained there were later sent to death camps. My father survived in Budapest and ended the war period in the Budapest Ghetto.
We only hope that justice will prevail and Raul Wallenberg’s memory will never be forgotten.
We thank you very much for the opportunity of including this story along with those of the thousands of survivors who lived thanks to Raul Wallenberg’s deeds.
Evelyn Wosner Grausz and Miguel Wosner, Israel
In my darkest hour, Wallenberg miraculously saved my life. I never had the chance to say thank you.
I will always think of him as my selfless hero and the shining symbol of Humanity. Raoul Wallenberg’s memory must be preserved and kept alive by generations to come. My little, New York born grandson, proudly wears his middle name: Raoul.
Tibor Gonda, USA
Dear Wallenberg Family,
How does one thank anyone for saving their life? No word is good enough to show my gratitude!
I was too young at the time, but looking back I understand the sacrifice and humanity it took for Raul Wallenberg to do what he did to save so many Jewish people!
I will never forget what he did to save me and tell my children and grandchildren over and over again so future generations will never forget!
Veronika Gelb, USA
On December 24, 1944, when I met Raoul Wallenberg, it was the first time in my life that I noted a Christian person that was so humane that he actually had tears in his eyes while watching the persecution of Jewish children.
Dr. Frank Markus, Canada
It is easy to pay lip service for the persecuted. The reason why I admire and respect Raoul Wallenberg is that he expressed his solidarity in brave, self-sacrificing deeds. And beyond admiration and respect, I am personally grateful to him: I received the Schutzpass from him, which in 1944 saved my life from the Nazi Arrow Cross, troopers driving Jews to their death.
Janos Kornai, Hungary & USA
Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University
Permanent Fellow Emeritus, Collegium Budapest
On Raoul Wallenberg’s 98th birthday, we celebrate the life of a great man. He helped many Jews in Hungary giving passports and shelter in safe-houses. My mother, brother, and I are among the many in Budapest who owe our lives to him. I wish I could thank him in person.
I was 11 years old, my brother just a few months old. Our father was deported but survived. You must be very proud of him and I am sending thanks to you.
What he did was an extraordinary act and, in turn, we try to lead a life that is meaningful, helping others as much as we can, in his honor.
Susanne Palagy, USA