As result of a proposal made by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, a school carrying the name of the Swedish diplomat was inaugurated on September 18th, 2002.
Before a large audience of students, teachers, government officials, including national, municipal and community authorities, the meeting was organised by Nussia and José Weiss, who are in charge of the Venezuelan branch of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Also present were Anabel and Jorge Aquino, the principals of the Raoul Wallenberg Pre-school Educational Unit, situated in the Catia district of the capital city of Venezuela.
The inauguration of the Raoul Wallenberg School had been announced to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, by Baruch Tenembaum, creator of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, in a meeting they held on August 4th, 2002 to mark the anniversary of the Swedish diplomat’s 90th birthday. Wallenberg disappeared in January 1945 after having saved the lives of tens of thousands of people, mostly Hungarian Jews, persecuted by the Nazi regime.
Nane Annan, wife of the United Nations leader and a niece of Raoul Wallenberg, sent the Wallenberg Foundation a letter of gratitude in which she expresses her satisfaction about the work being carried out by the NGO.
In turn, in a message specially sent from Jerusalem, Tenembaum pointed out:
”It is very exciting for all of us to see the birth of such an ambitious idea. Especially one that is so dear to the Wallenberg Foundation, as is the fact that a school now carries the name of one of the Heroes of the XX century. Thus, one of the most important wishes of Wallenberg’s sister, Nina Lagergren, has come true: to pass on to new generations the values that encouraged the conduct of this true ”Heroe without a Grave”.
During the ceremony a commemorative plaque marking the inauguration of the Wallenberg School was unveiled and a portrait of the missing Swedish diplomat, by artist Peter Malkin, was presented by the IRWF.
Venezuela becomes, thus, the second country in Latin America to have a Wallenberg School. In the near future a street is to be inaugurated with his name and a plaque in his memory will be unveiled at the Foreign Ministry, making this Caribbean country a hemispheric forerunner as far as its acknowledgements of the life and work of Raoul Wallenberg.
In accordance with what was expressed by the President of Federal Germany, Johannes Rau during his meeting held in Berlin in March, 2001, Baruj Tenembaum said:
”There are things in life that are more important than life itself. In accordance to what the voice of our forefathers tells us to do, we must look for Truth and Justice. There are lights and shadows in the world; and even though it is important not to forget the shadows, we have decided to dedicate our efforts to remembering the exceptions that constitute the lights. We have decided to promote the person of Raoul Wallenberg, a protestant who saved tens of thousands of Jews condemned to death, and many others like him who risked everything to help the others.”