Report of Activities 2002

The Raoul Wallenberg Medal

Specially commissioned by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation a Commemorative Medal was coined to celebrate the life of Raoul Wallenberg. The medal is to be presented to personalities coming from all walks of life and of all social, religious and racial backgrounds who have demonstrated through their work an unwavering commitment to upholding the humanitarian values which Raoul Wallenberg stands for. The Medal shows a profile of Raoul Wallenberg embossed on a rough texture with the legends ”The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation” on its face and ”A Heroe without a Grave”-”90th Anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birthday, 4 August 1912 -? on the reverse side.

Presentation of the Raoul Wallenberg Medal to Kofi Annan

Baruch Tenembaum, founder of the IRWF, presented the Raoul Wallenberg 90th Anniversary Commemorative Medal in a meeting that took place on August 4 at the residence of the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York. Mrs. Nane Annan, wife of the world leader and niece of the Swedish diplomat who also attended the meeting, showed to Mr. Tenembaum a family album containing photographs of Wallenberg and a book with letters written by the diplomat, mostly to his mother, Maj Von Dardel.

Opening of a branch in Venezuela

A branch of the IRWF opened in the city of Caracas presided by José Weiss, who was saved by Raoul Wallenberg. The new branch is located at Ibarras A. Veroes, Urdaneta Avenue, Torre Alfa Building, Fourth floor, Office 4 -A, Caracas, Venezuela.

Prayer at a Synagogue in Venezuela

To mark this 90th anniversary, Mr. José Weiss – who was himself rescued by Raoul Wallenberg and is now President of the Venezuelan Branch of the IRWF – and Rabbi Pynchas Brener organized a prayer in honor of the Swedish diplomat that was held on August 2nd at the Israeli Union Synagogue of Caracas. During the ceremony the Chancellor of Venezuela, H.E. Roy Chaderton, spoke about the heroic actions of Raoul Wallenberg and his tragic and mysterious disappearance.

Venezuela announced the unveiling of a plaque

H.E. Roy Chaderton, Chancellor of Venezuela, announced on August 2 that a commemorative plaque to Raoul Wallenberg is to be installed within the premises of the Foreign Ministry of Venezuela.

Special anniversary edition

Dr. Gustavo Arnstein, editor of the Venezuelan newspaper Nuevo Mundo Israelita, issued a special number dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg with photographs of the heroe on the cover containing articles on his life and work written by prestigious international personalities.

Inauguration of a Raoul Wallenberg School

The Venezuelan branch of the IRWF inaugurated on September 18th the Raoul Wallenberg Kindergarten Unit, becoming the second school in Latin America bearing the name of the Swedish diplomat. The new school is located at Ecuador Street, between El Cristo Street and Panamerican Nº 114, Catia, Caracas, Venezuela. Directors Anabel and Jorge Aquino are responsible for this project.

Wallenberg Venezuela on Internet

The IRWF created an internet site for the Venezuela branch. News and articles about its activities are published in it.

Mass in honor of Wallenberg

A special Mass in honor of Wallenberg was held at the Metropolitan Buenos Aires Cathedral. During the Mass the President of Casa Argentina en Jerusalem (the IRWF´s parent interfaith organization) Father Horacio Moreno recalled the work of the Swedish diplomat and led the congregation in prayers celebrating the life of Raoul Wallenberg.

Gathering at the Memorial Mural to the Victims of the Holocaust

Following the Mass the congregation gathered at the Memorial Mural installed at the main Catholic Cathedral of Buenos Aires. The Mural– presented as a gift from the IRWF to the Cathedral – contains pieces of Jewish prayer books rescued from concentration camps.

Press coverage of Raoul Wallenberg 90th birth commemorations

Articles were published in the following publications: Nuevo Mundo Israelita, El Mundo, El Universal, Ultimas Noticias (Venezuela). Griechenland Aktuell (Greece). Rundschau (Russia). Clarin, Crónica Digital, Mundo Israelita, Buenos Aires Herald, Provincia 23 (Argentina) Tiempos del Mundo (Chile). Tribuna Israelita and CDI (México) El Diario (New York). Tachless (Switzerland), Estonian News Agency (Estonia). Channel 2 – Israel programme IBA News interviewed Dr. Yoav Tenembaum.

A thousand 5763 year calendars in Bolivia

IRWF volunteer, Mr. Leo Bokser organized the special edition of a calendar for the Jewish community of Bolivia with a central page dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg’s 90th birthday. The calendar will be distributed throughout Bolivia.

Educational centre in Israel will carry saviour’s name

Tali Livneh, President of the female organization Na´Amat announced the opening and/or renaming of an educational centre that will carry the name of Raoul Wallenberg, thus fulfilling one of the wishes of Wallenberg’s sister, Mrs. Nina Lagergren.

Street in Spain to be called Raoul Wallenberg

The Town Council of Monforte de Lemos will give the name Raoul Wallenberg to a street in the old quarter of the city, a district where the Monforte Jews lived until their expulsion from Spain in 1492, Monforte de Lemos thus becomes the first city in Spain to have a street remembering the Holocaust Heroe.

”Wallenberg at School” Educational Programme

The educational programme is being carried out by the IRWF at secondary schools in Argentina. Its objective is to help preserve individual freedom by understanding the examples of solidarity provided by the saviours during the Second World War. The educational programme is an initiative of Dr. Natalio Wengrower, Vicepresident of the Foundation, and Dr. Jean Pierre Bendahan.

Project of Law enters Lower House in Argentina

In tribute to Raoul Wallenberg national deputies Melchor Posse and Alfredo Allende presented a project of law in which they seek to pay homage to the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of persecuted Jews.

Donation of a Commemorative Plaque

To mark the 90th Anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, the IRWF will donate to the City of Buenos Aires a commemorative plaque that will be placed alongside the statue to the Swedish diplomat -by British sculptor Philip Jackson- unveiled in Buenos Aires in 1997.

Passing of Ambassador Per Anger

The IRWF regrets to announce with profound sadness the death of its Honorary Member, Per Anger at the age of 89. Per Anger, Swedish diplomat, worked with Raoul Wallenberg in the struggle to save Hungarian Jews during the Second World War. For over forty years he never ceased to search into the fate of his friend and colleague Raoul Wallenberg.

Angelo Roncalli Committee Publication

Thousands of copies of this publication were distributed internationally. The publication contains the more outstanding points of an investigation into the work aimed at saving the lives of Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime carried out by Nuncio Angelo Roncalli, who later went on to become Pope John XXIII.

Holocaust Memorial to be installed inside a German Christian Church

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation will donate – with the approval of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) – a replica of the Commemorative Mural to the Victims of the Holocaust installed in 1997 at the main Catholic Cathedral of Argentina. The replica will be placed inside the Our Father (Vaterunser) Church of Berlin. Thus, the German capital will become the second city in the world to host a monument of such characteristics in the history of the Christian-Jewish relationship.

”Nuncio Angelo Roncalli” stamp

During 2003 the IRWF will sponsor the edition of a commemorative postal stamp remembering Monsignor Angelo Roncalli on the 40th anniversary of his death. Roncalli, who later went on to become Pope John XXIII, organized numerous activities to save the lives of Jews persecuted by the Nazis while Papal Nuncio in Istanbul in 1940.

Sousa Mendes Prize 2002

The International Sousa Mendes Prize 2002 will be presented to Argentine historian José Ignacio García Hamilton and to British journalist Nicholas Tozer. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, while Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, France, saved the lives of dozens of thousands of refugees fleeing from Nazi persecution, putting his own life at risk. The winners have been awarded this prize for their work in clarifying, extending and educating while upholding the humanitarian values for which Sousa Mendes is renowned.

Cultural interest award for film ”Legacy”

Some two hundred people recently attended a screening of the film Legacy (Legado), which describes the lives of the Jewish colonists who settled in Argentina. The documentary was awarded the ”cultural interest” distinction and will now be screened in several provinces of Argentina.

Homage to murdered Jewish writers

To mark the 50th anniversary of the murder of Jewish-Soviet writers, Baruch Tenembaum wrote an article headlined ”Martyrs and Heroe”, in which he describes the events that took place in July 1952 when the Soviet Military Committee of the Supreme Court sentenced a twenty-four poets and intellectuals to death.

Publication of Poetic Anthology in Spanish

Further to the recent publication of his book, Prophetic Poetry (Poesía Profética) by Uri T. Grinberg, the IRWF will now publish Combative Poetry (Poesía Combativa), a poetic anthology of works by Haim Nachman Bialik, Saul Chernijovsky, Zeev Jabotinsky, Yaacov Cahan, Yair Stern, among other famous Jewish writers.

Conference re-visit John XXIII

Baruch Tenembaum was invited to take part in the International Conference Re Visit John XXIII to be held in June 2003 in Italy in representation of the Angelo Roncalli Committee. The symposium is organized by the John XXIII Religious Science Foundation (Fondazione Per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII) and the University of Bologna.

Documental film promotes co-existence

The documentary film First Primate Pilgrim, that describes the historic visit which Cardinal Antonio Quarracino made to the Holy Land in 1992 and his visit to Jerusalem, Nazareth y Bethlehem is to be re-issued. The film will be distributed at schools, universities and religious institutions.


The educational program implemented by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in high schools in Argentina finished the year 2002 very successfully. The program consisting of a series of conferences about the ´´Saviors and the Holocaust” will continue in 2003. Dr. Natalio Wengrower and Dr. Jean Pierre Bendahan are in charge of this initiative.


In the Tarbut School of Buenos Aires, the ”Raoul Wallenberg Contest”, a competition about facts related to the Second World War and the Holocaust, was held on October. Mr. Nicholas Tozer (photo) presented the winning students with ”Raoul Wallenberg Medals”.


With the 90th Anniversary of the birth of the Swedish diplomat as a motive, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation decided to donate a Raoul Wallenberg Commemorative Plaque to the City of Buenos Aires. The Plaque will be placed next to the statue that bears his name.


We have just edited the English version of the documentary ”The First Primate Pilgrim”. The film narrates the historical trip of Cardinal Antonio Quarracino to Israel in l992. It will be distributed in schools, universities and religious institutions.


The Peshev Museum in Bulgaria was inaugurated in November 25th. Dimitar Peshev, public official of the Bulgarian government during the Nazi occupation, helped save the lives of thousands of Bulgarian Jews condemned to extermination. In order to commemorate this event, we have sent the ”Peshev Medal” to the Bulgarian Museum where it will be permanently exhibited.


In October 2002, the 37th Anniversary of the historic Declaration of the Second Vatican Council of l965 ”Nostra Aetate” was celebrated. With this in mind, the Dionysus Center of Italy organized a meeting with rabbis, theologians, and experts in inter-religious dialogues. As recognition of the work of the Dionysus Center in favor of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue, we delivered the ”Angelo Roncalli Medal” (Pope John XXIII’s name) to the Director, Maria Nicoletta Gaida (photo, left).


Father Horacio Moreno, President of the Interreligious Institution ”Argentine House in Jerusalem”, inaugurated in November the Interconfessional Center for Services to the Human Being. Its objective is both, the physical and spiritual recovery of the person, as well as the development of educational undertakings in the field of interconfessional dialogue.


The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation organized a farewell in New York in honor of Archbishop Renato Martino, who completed his posting as Vatican representative before the world organization to take over as President of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice at Vatican City. On the occasion, the ”Angelo Roncalli Medal” was presented to Monsignor Martino.


The Institute of Foreign Service of the Nation and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation organized on November 18th a ceremony dedicated to the memory of the Portuguese Diplomat, savior of thousands of lives during the Holocaust. During the ceremony Dr. Natalio Wengrower presented the ”Aristides de Sousa Mendes Prizes” to: Argentine writer, Dr. Jose Ignacio Garcia Hamilton; British journalist Nicholas Tozer; Portuguese Ambassador to Argentina, Antonio Almeida Ribeiro; Dean of the ISEN, Ambassador José Sanchís Muñoz and to Alvaro de Sousa Mendes, grandson of the Portuguese savior.


The film ”Legacy” participated in the Latin Film Festival of San Francisco and in the Miami Jewish Film Festival. The documentary narrates the experiences of the first Jewish immigrants that started the agricultural colony in Argentina, with the help of the Jewish Settlement Association, a philanthropic organization created by Baron Hirsch.


On November 25, the 102nd Anniversary of the birth of Monsignor Roncalli was celebrated. To commemorate the event, we completed a series of educational and cultural activities on a worldwide level.


Mr. John Crisóstomo, in a special mission to Portugal, had the ”Aristides de Sousa Mendes Medals” delivered to the President of Portugal, Dr. Jorge Sampaio, to Dr. Mario Soares, former President of Portugal, and to Monsignor Antonio Monteiro, Archbishop of Viseau, birthplace of Sousa Mendes.


The Swedish Ambassador in Spain, Lars Grundberg, his wife, Gunnel Grundberg, and Baruch Tenembaum were the hosts at the presentation which took place in Madrid on December 9 at the Swedish Embassy. During the ceremony they presented the ”2002 Raoul Wallenberg Prizes” to the Israeli Ambassador to Spain, Herzl Inbar, and to the spokesman of the Commission on Foreign Policy of the Congress of Deputies of Spain, Gustavo Manuel de Aristegui y San Roman.


The IRWF coined a series of medals in recognition of the actions of the Saviors of the Holocaust. We have already issued the pieces dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg, Angelo Roncalli, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Dimitar Peshev, and Luis Martins de Souza Dantas.