August 4, 1998

Declaration by the IRWF

Commemorating the 86th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish Diplomat

On the occasion of a new anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg we pay tribute to one of the most heroic figures of our time, a Gentile, a citizen of neutral Sweden, who, in Second World War Europe, risked his life to save the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the clutches of the machinery of extermination of Nazi Germany.

Using the flag of his country as a cover for his activities and displaying unmatched courage, Wallenberg sheltered the Jews in safe places and gave them documents which were supposed to render them immunity. He was thus able to demonstrate that a single person can change the course of History, as long as he or she is imbued with sufficient courage and determination. This is the immortal lesson of Wallenberg’s life, an example for the following generations in Latin America and Europe.

Tragically, Wallenberg disappeared without leaving trace after he was captured by the Soviet troops which, in January 1945, took control of Budapest. Where and when he died is still a matter of conjecture. Nevertheless, his name remains alive in a glorious manner. On behalf of the International Raoul Wallenberg Committee that the non- governmental organisation Casa Argentina en Jerusalem promotes, as part of its programme ”Righteous Gentiles,” we remember this 4th of August, 1998 the 86th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish diplomat, a true ‘hero without a grave’.

We cannot close this declaration without referring to an unprecedented symbol which places Argentina in a privileged position in the concert of nations; a symbol which by nature is linked to the heroic feat of Wallenberg: The Commemorative Mural for the Victims of the Holocaust and those assassinated in the terrorist attacks at the Embassy of Israel and the AMIA, installed in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires. We ask today, honouring the memory of someone who risked his own life to save the lives of others, that anyone visiting the Mural should reflect on the meaning of life and the way it can resurrect from the ruins of extermination. Let us remember, for ever, the price that humanity – and in particular the Argentine people – have had to pay throughout history when it was unable or unwilling to protect freedom of expression, a dear right we must always see to it that it is never subdued. It is precisely the freedom of expression of all our truths which we should safeguard, more than any form of physical defence, from the dictatorships which, in all periods of human life, have endeavoured to eliminate through torture, terror and persecution the natural differences that ought to exist in a civilised community

By Sir Sigmund Sternberg, Tom Lantos and Baruch Tenembaum.