Raoul Wallenberg. 1912 – ?
On August 4, 2004, with the world coordination of the Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation numerous commemorative ceremonies of the ”Hero without a Grave”, savior of thousands of persecuted and condemned to death by Nazism, took place on the 92nd anniversary of his birth.
The ceremonies were held in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, the United States, Hungary, Uruguay and Israel.
”Far from being an issue of the past, Raoul Wallenberg’s case is pure present”, Baruch Tenembaum, founder of the IRWF, pointed out from New York. ”That is why our foundation is focused on developing educational projects requested by schools from the whole world. The essential values put into practice not only by Wallenberg but also by many other saviors: solidarity and civic courage are never lasting and have no temporal or geographical boundaries”, concluded Tenembaum.
Wallenberg saved people until he was captured by the Soviet Army in January 1945. He never returned and his whereabouts still remain a mystery.
Next to the monument ”Hope” located a few steps away from the UN building in New York, Abigail Tenembaum, vice-president of the IRWF read letters of support sent by Louise von Dardel, Wallenberg’s niece, and by US Representative Tom Lantos. The General Consul of Argentina to New York, Hector Timerman and the General Consul of Sweden, Anders Eliasson were present on the occasion.
In Buenos Aires, survivors of the Holocaust, high schools students and diplomatic representatives accompanied Laszlo Ladanyi and Tomas Kertesz, both saved by Wallenberg in 1944, when they placed bouquets next to the statue remembering the Swedish diplomat, located in the corner of Figueroa Alcorta Avenue and Austria Street, in the Argentine capital. It is worth mentioning the presence of the ambassadors of Germany, Poland and Romania, as well as the Chief Rabi Salomon Ben Hamú. By the afternoon Rabbi Simon Moguilevsky remembered Wallenberg during the ceremony of Shabat in the Libertad Temple.
In Jerusalem the ceremony took place in the Wallenberg esplanade. Mario Ablin, vice-president of the IRWF and professor Angreu Hajder, Hungarian saved by Wallenberg spoke on the event. The ceremony was accompanied by a musical and poetic interval in charge of assistants who wrote allusive works. Adhesions of the Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger and the president of Yad Vashem, Professor Shevaj Weiss were read. The homage was organized with the group Reut, the Raoul Wallenberg Honorary Committee and the Jerusalem work group for the acknowledgement of Jewish saviors during the Shoah.
In Montevideo, Uruguay, students of the Raoul Wallenberg Lyceum, directed by -Dr. Monica Barbazita, paid homage to the missing hero by unveiling an allusive plaque and presenting literary works about Wallenberg’s deeds in Hungary. Students of the Ariel Hebrew Institute of Uruguay and the Hebrew School of Uruguay were present.
On the other hand, the headmaster of the ORT school in Montevideo, Mrs. Charlotte Grunberg, placed a bouquet next to the monument commemorating the Swedish diplomat in the Allies Park of the Uruguayan capital.
In Santiago de Chile the Raoul Wallenberg Chilean branch of the B’nai B’rit Association placed a bouquet and unveiled a plaque next to the Wallenberg commemorative monument, in 2000 Americo Vespucio Norte Avenue, Vitacura, in front of the Swedish embassy.
The following personalities spoke during the ceremony: Mr. Amikam Doron, the Israeli Ambassador to Chile, Yosef Regev, the Swedish business Attaché to Chile, Lena Nordstrom and the president of the Wallenberg branch of the B’nai B’rith in Chile, Luis Stern.
In Quito, Ecuador,a civic hour took place at the Raoul Wallenberg School, ran by Patricia Vecilla Mackliff. Tens of students wrote essays and reports about Wallenberg’s personality, values and mission as savior of persecuted people by a totalitarian regime.
On the same day, August 4, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation sent a special letter addressed to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, asking for his support to a project promoting the condemnation of Anti-Semitism. Among the signatures it is worth mentioning Louise von Dardel’s, niece of the ”Hero without a Grave”.