March 22, 2011

Report of Activities 2010


Wallenberg Foundation to Document Righteous Armenians

On the 19th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia, the IRWF announced the launching of a new chapter which shall be dedicated to the study of Armenian history and focus on the preservationof the legacies of the Armenian heroes who were involved in the rescue of victims of the Holocaust, a theme which has not been properly documented so far.

The IRWF Documented Angelo Roncali’s (Pope John XXIII) Rescuing Actions

In 2010 the IRWF has researched and documented the case of Nuncio Angelo Roncalli and his actions in favor of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. Through the International Angelo Roncalli Committee the IRWF has already worked on analyzing the historical, documentary and bibliographic materials on Angelo Roncalli. This time, an extensive research that included new testimonies and proofs on Roncalli’s rescuing actions has been performed by a team of historians and volunteers from U.S., Israel and Italy gathered by the International Angelo Roncalli Committee, Casa Argentina en Israel – Tierra Santa and the IRWF. The findings of the investigation were presented to YadVashem and the bestowal of the title of Righteous among the Nations on Angelo Roncalli was requested.

The IRWF unveils the amazing story of two children who found shelter with a Belgian couple

Zenon Fajertag was a Jew born in 1940 in Brussels, Belgium, during the Nazi occupation. In 1941, when Zenon was only one year old, his father died from an incurable illness. By mid-1942, the Nazis intensified their persecution of the Jewish population in Belgium, beginning an era of massive deportations.Zenon’s mother began looking for a safe place to hide her little son. This proved extremely difficult, as the Nazis applied harsh consequences against any gentiles who were caught hiding Jews. Eventually, she managed to find a family that was willing to take the risk of hiding Zenon.


The Wallenberg Series Exhibit Inaugurated in New York

Holocaust Survivors, art connoisseurs, members of the Jewish community, and press representatives gathered on January 17, 2010, at the recently inaugurated cultural space of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation for the opening of ”The Wallenberg Series”exhibit.
Showcased in its totality for the first time in the U.S., ”The Wallenberg Series” by Austro-Canadian artist Armand Frederic Vallée was organized to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the disappearance of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg at the hands of the Soviet troops on January 17th, 1945.

Peter Bulow’s Exhibit at the IRWF New York

The IRWF and Casa Argentina in Jerusalem presented Blessings May Break from Stone exhibit by Peter Bulow, a sculptor artist and psychiatrist from New York.Inaugurated on April 8th, and organized in commemoration of Yom Hashoah, the showfeatured art inspired by Peter’s family’s stories from the Holocaust as well as five bronze portraits sculptures of three rescuers — Raoul Wallenberg, Angelo Roncalli (later Pope John XXIII), and Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas — which were commissioned by the IRWF and had their debut at the show.

Permanent Collection on Exhibit, New York

The IRWF and The Angelo Roncalli International Committee (ARIC) presented the organizations’ permanent collection in the form of two exhibits: ”Rescuers,” featuring bronze busts by Peter Bulow, and ”The Wallenberg Series,” of paintings by Austro-Canadian artist Armand Frederick Vallée. ”The Wallenberg Series” was donated to the Wallenberg Foundation by Vallée’s estate. The series consists of 14 paintings that narrate the Swedish diplomat’s quest to save victims. “Rescuers,” consisted of bronze sculptures of Raoul Wallenberg, Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas, and Angelo Roncalli which were commissioned by the IRWF and presented earlier as  part of Peter Bulow’s solo exhibit.

5th Annual Saviors on the Screen Film Festival, New York

IRWF joined forces with the JCC Manhattan once again to present Saviors on the Screen, a special Films Series remembering the righteous saviors of Jews during the Holocaust. Taking place on April 11-12 at the JCC Manhattan, the series is part of the IRWF’s Yom HaShoah programs, which not only honor the memory of those lost during the Holocaust, but also celebrates the life of those who survived.

IRWF and Felix de la Concha

The IRWF commissioned painter Felix de la Concha to create a portrait and interview Denis Avey, the only man to enter Auschwitz on his own. Governed by a wish to see for himself what was going on inside the camp, Avey bore witness of horrible suffering. The interview is a part of a bigger project aimed at portraying and recording Holocaust survivors that Mr. De la Concha has been carrying on since 2008.

World Premiere of Wallenberg Musical

Wallenberg, a musical on one of the greatest heroes of mankind, had its world premiere production at the White Plains Performing Arts Center from Oct. 28 – Nov. 21, 2010.
With book and lyrics by the 2006 Kleban Award-winning team of Laurence Holzman & Felicia Needleman, music by Benjamin Rosenbluth, and under the direction of Emmy Award winner Annette Jolles, Wallenberg is a groundbreaking endeavor with which the IRWF shares the same goal and vision – to bring the story of Raoul Wallenberg to every household in the U.S. The IRWF is an associate producer of Wallenberg.

Wallenberg Survivors at the Wallenberg Musical

On Sunday, November 14, 2010, a delegation of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) attended a performance of Wallenberg Musical. The joyful occasion was shared with many Holocaust Survivors who were rescued by Wallenberg who attended as guests of the organization. The IRWF has been supporting the musical since its early days.


Honoring Wallenberg in Buenos Aires

VilmaMartínez, United States Ambassador in Argentina, was the keynote speaker at the commemorative ceremony organized on February 8, 2010 in Buenos Aires, in honor of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, marking the 65th anniversary of his disappearance. At the event organized by the IRWF Buenos Aires office, Ambassador Martínez gave a speech next to the statue that honors the great hero of WWII. Bishop of Zárate-Campana, Monsignor Oscar Sarlinga and Nicholas Tozer, member of the Board of Directors of the IRWF, also took part in the official program.

The IRWF Interviews Dr. JánosBeér, a Man Who Worked With Raoul Wallenberg

Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, Daniela Bajar, and SeveroReynoso, from the IRWF, travelled to Cambridge, MA, to record Dr. Janos Beér’s testimony. Dr. Beér was part of the SchützlingProtokoll, a department created by Raoul Wallenberg within the Swedish Legation with the objective of rescuing Schutzpass holders and accompanying them into safe houses. The role of the SchützlingProtokoll was instrumental to the success of Raoul Wallenberg’s rescue operation in Budapest, 1944-45.

International Telelink on Wallenberg

Mr. Danny Rainer and Mr. Alexander Blonsky, Vice-President and representative of the foundation in the UK respectively, have participated in an international telelink sponsored by NovostiRia News Agency, Accu Radio and the Izvestia Magazine organized on March 4, 2010. Together with the IRWF representatives in the Jerusalem studio was Knesset Member, Dr. Marina Solodkin, who campaigns for Raoul Wallenberg is promoting a special Law of Remembrance of the Rescuers.

Sebastián Romero Radigales Honored on Postage Stamp, Israel

The Wallenberg Foundation paid tribute to the Spanish diplomat rescuer Sebastián de Romero Radigales with a postage stamp issued by the Israel Postal Company.
Romero Radigales arrived to Athens in mid-April of 1943 as the new Consul General of Spain.Since his arrival to the Greek capital, Romero Radigales put every effort in defending the Sephardic Jews – over 800 persons between the communities of Athens and Salonica.

Worldwide Religious Services to Honor Diplomat Heroes of WWII

June 17, 2010, marked the 70th anniversary of the day in which Portuguese Diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes decided, against the explicit orders to do the contrary, to follow his conscience and give visas to those trying to escape the horrors of the Holocaust. By doing so, he saved around 30,000 people in only a few days and forced open a new escape route to freedom for many others during WWII.This year, which also marks the 125th anniversary of Sousa Mendes’ birth, special Thanksgiving Masses and Services were held around the world -from Rome to Newark, Sao Paolo, Paris, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, and many more- following the initiative of the IRWF and the Angelo Roncalli Committee.

Survivors Commemorated Wallenberg’s Birthday

To commemorate Raoul Wallenberg’s 98th birthday, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation invited Wallenberg survivors to share their thoughts on the man who saved their lives. A special note that compiled their messages was released on August 4, 2010.

The IRWF Celebrated Wallenberg’s Birthday

The IRWF celebrated Wallenberg’s 98th Birthday from its offices in Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, and New York.Numerous Holocaust survivors reunited on August 4th at the headquarters of Casa Argentina en Israel Tierra Santa (CAITS) in Buenos Aires. Tomas Kertesz, one of the Wallenberg survivors, was in charge of blowing the candles, while the Happy Birthday song was sang. Members of the Board and many friends of the IRWF and CAITS were present for the occasion.

A Catholic From El Salvador Proclaimed as Righteous Among the Nations

Thanks to an initiative of the IRWF, Colonel José Arturo Castellanos, a catholic and a former Consul of El Salvador in Geneva during the WWII, was declared ”Righteous Among the Nations” by YadVashem. During his tenure as Consul General in Geneva from 1942 to 1945, Castellanos saved the lives of around 40,000 Central European Jews persecuted by the Nazis, by conceding false documents that accredited them as citizens of El Salvador.

Rescuer’s Visas Registry Book Exhibited in New York

On July 21, 2010, the ”Bordeaux Registry Book,” where the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes entered the names of all the people who received his visas to freedom during the Holocaust, was unveiled during a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust to celebrate the 125th anniversary of his birth.
The loan of the ”Bordeaux Registry Book” was made possible thanks to the direct intervention of Mr. Luís Amado, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, who personally acceded to a request from John Crisostomo, Vice President of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, to lend the book.

Letter from the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation addressed a letter to the Wallenberg Foundation regarding the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, following a letter to the President of the Russian Federation D.A. Medvedev. The letter is dated June 16, 2010, and it´s available on our website in its original version as well as translated into English.

Meeting with Beate Klarsfeld, Buenos Aires

On September 27, 2010, volunteers from the IRWF met with Mrs. BeateKlarsfeld, who along with her husband, Serge Klarsfeld, will receive the Raoul Wallenberg Award 2010. The couple is globally recognized as one of the most active in terms of documentation on the Holocaust and persecution of Nazi war criminals.Along with Diana Liniado and Paula Ini, volunteers of the program ”Wallenberg at School”, MrsKlarsfeld enthusiastically addressed educational issues. Mr. Gustavo Jalife, executive director of the foundation, also participated in the meeting.

Beate Klarsfeld visited the Shoah Memorial Mural in Berlin

On November 1, 2010, BeateKlarsfeld visited the Shoah Memorial Mural installed inside the EvangelischeVaterunserKirche in Berlin. Her hostess was Pastor Annemarie Werner, head of the congregation and the IRWF’s representative in Germany.

Honoring Hungarian rescuers in Budapest

On November 11, 2010, the Ambassador of Israel in Budapest Ms. Aliza Bin-Noun and the Minister of Interior of Hungary Mr. Sandor Pinter thanked 17 Hungarians and their families for rescuing Jewish victims during the Holocaust, and awarded them the “Righteous Among Nations” honorary medal.Among those honored were Karolina and ZsuzsannaReszeli, mother and daughter who saved the lives of Steve Colman and his mother. Mr. Colman, who lives in Australia, attended the moving ceremony organized at the Embassy of Israel in Budapest, Hungary.


Wallenberg at School, the IRWF’s Buenos Aires Educational Initiative

Wallenberg at School educational program spreads the values of solidarity, civic courage and interfaith dialogue in order to promote a pluralistic and democratic society. Ever since the year 2003 the program is presented in high schools and universities across Buenos Aires with the support of the Secretary of Education of the City of Buenos Aires. In 2010 the program reached more than 8,000 students.

Ben Olander’s Special Presentation in New York

On Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Ben Olander gave a special presentation dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg in the Swedish Seamen Church in Manhattan. The presentation, organized by IRWF used inspiring ballads and stories to convey Wallenberg’s heroic legacy.


The IRWF published a collection of e-books available on the IRWF website. ”Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest. Myth, History and Holocaust” by Paul A. Levine; ”Speaking to One Another: Personal Memories of the Past in Armenia and Turkey” and ”Brothers For Resistance and Rescue” by David Gur are just some of the titles from the vast selection published in English, Spanish, German, Hebrew, and French.