For the first time in Spain’s history, a street was named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews and others persecuted by Nazism. Wallenberg disappeared in January l945 after he was arrested by the Soviet Army.
On January 3l, 2003, the city council of Monforte de Lemos, a city in the Galician Province of Lugo, unanimously agreed to name a street in their city, Rua de Raoul Wallenberg.
Rua Wallenberg is located in a part of the center of the City of Monforte in the old Jewish quarter where there are monuments.
The promoters of this initiative are the Mayor of Monforte de Lemos, Nazario Pin Fernandez, and Monforte’s historian and delegate of the group of Jewish quarters of Spain, Felipe Aira Pardo; thus, following an initiative presented by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, and NGO founded by Argentine, Baruch Tenembaum. In August 2002, Tenembaum anticipated the news from the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, during a meeting held in New York.
The proposal was celebrated by the President of the Xunta de Galicia, Manuel Fraga Iribarne. In a letter addressed to Tenembaum, he expressed his satisfaction that a street in Galicia would be the first in Spain to have Wallenberg’s name.
The legacy of the Jewish community in the City of Monforte de Lemos is vast and rich. It is thus presented in this way by Aira Pardo in his history Monforte, the Hebrew community and the Converts, research carried out at the request of Mayor Pin Fernandez.
A document from the year 9l5 A.D. which belongs to the Saint Vincent Benedictine Monastery stands out within that research paper. The document refers to the Jewish presence in the community at large. Moreover, it tells the history of the powerful Counts of Lemos who, in the XIV century depended on the services of Jews in important positions in the State.
According to historical documentation, it is known that in the year l334 A.D., the feudal Lord of Monforte had Don Samuel as his treasurer. He was a good Hebrew friend of the powerful noble. Furthermore, Don Samuel’s brother, Cagaben Bueno, was a tax collector for Don Pedro during those years. The son of that noble, Fernan Ruiz de Castro, loyal to the pro-Jewish policy of his sovereign Peter I, ”The Cruel”, had a great friendship with the Hebrew community and hired distinguished Jews within the House of Lemos, with its capital in Monforte, Aira Pardos’ research points out.
Rua de Raoul Wallenberg enlarged the online index Wallenberg Around The World, published by the Wallenberg Foundation.