Birgitta Olsson, Liberal Party MP, presented the Swedish Parliament with a bill to declare Raoul Wallenberg Day in Sweden, the home country of the diplomat whose humanitarian efforts saved tens of thousands of lives in Hungary during World War II.
Wallenberg led a mission in 1944 to rescue 100,000 Jews after the Nazi invasion of Hungary, by issuing false passports and establishing ”safe houses” under the protection of his country’s neutral flag. The post-war Swedish government was seriously questioned for its responsibility in Wallenberg’s disappearance at the hands of Soviet troops in 1945, and for not strongly demanding his actual appearance of the Soviets.
The commemorative day would offer a way for people to respect, learn from, and emulate the moral values, including solidarity and civic courage, embodied by Wallenberg and nurtured by his Swedish heritage. The initiative follows a suggestion by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which campaigns for commemorative days in order to promote peace among nations and to honor those who were heroes of the Holocaust.
Raoul Wallenberg Day is commemorated every year around the world, from Canada to Argentina to the State of New York. It was observed in the States of Nevada, Nebraska, Maryland and Connecticut in 2005. West Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, Maine and Illinois joined in the 2006 commemorations.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, with the aim of rendering homage to, promoting the message of, and remembering the actions of all those Heroes of the Holocaust who, like Raoul Wallenberg, risked their lives to save persecuted people.