July 26, 2001

Other humanitarian heroes


Steven Spielberg’s film made famous Oskar Schindler’s story, the German businessman who saved 1,200 Jews from the gas chambers by contracting them in his enameled-goods factory in Crakow. Nevertheless, most people ignore the names of many other non-jewish people who, during the Second World War, risked their lives for refugees of all beliefs.

In the same way that the Swedish aristocrat Raoul Wallenberg, who in 1944, when he was first secretary at the embassy of his country in Budapest, did everything he could to protect the Jews from Hungary, occupied at that time by Germany. Among 50,000 and 100,000 people owe him their lives. He disappeared in 1945 and he is believed to have been captured by the Soviets.

The international Foundation which carries his name, apart from honoring his memory, also pays tribute to other humanitarian heroes, many of them diplomats.

This year this NGO will promote investigations about Nuncio Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli’s actions who, when he was a representative of the Vatican to Istanbul, Turkey, saved thousands of Jews. He is even ignored by those who remember him as John XXIII, the Good Pope.

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