January 17, 2002

A heroe without a grave 1945 – January 17th – 2002

On the occasion of a new anniversary of the abduction 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 all around the globe.

Tragically, Wallenberg disappeared without leaving trace after he was captured by the Soviet troops which, in January 17, 1945, took control of Budapest. His fate is still a matter of conjecture. Nevertheless, his name remains alive in a glorious manner.

We cannot close this declaration without referring to an unprecedented symbol which by its 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 Jewish Community Center (AMIA), installed inside 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 has 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.