Kofi Annan meets the Wallenberg Foundation

Baruch Tenembaum presented an exclusive medal to the Secretary General of the UN

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation was invited by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, to a meeting specially held on Sunday August 4, the day of the 90th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.

During the meeting, that took place at the Secretary General’s residence in New York, Perla Graisman and Baruch Tenembaum, founder of the IRWF, presented a Commemorative Medal specially commissioned and coined to mark the anniversary. Mrs. Nane Annan, wife of the world leader and niece of the Swedish diplomat and Perla Graisman, IRWF Global Development Director, also attended the meeting.

This is the third time Mr. Annan meets the international NGO whose mission is to convey through educational programs the values of courage and solidarity demonstrated by Wallenberg, as well as by other saviors, during his six months rescue mission in Budapest between 1944 and 1945. Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of people, mostly Jewish, condemned to death by the Nazi regime. He later disappeared after being abducted by the Soviet Army on 17 January 1945. His whereabouts are still unknown.

On presenting the Medal, Tenembaum pointed out:

”As one of the people Wallenberg rescued accurately pointed out, ´Raoul saved the lives of tens of thousands but, paradoxical as it may seem, tens of thousands could not save him’. Therefore, the Wallenberg Foundation is going to mobilise 100,000 people all around the globe in order to know what really happened to Wallenberg, a man that is alive and will continue to be alive forever”.

Mr. Tenembaum stressed that the IRWF is committed to continue with the educational programs that it is carrying out all around the world, bringing to future generations the message of one of the true heroes of our times. The IRWF is supported by more than fifty heads of state, scholars, Nobel Prize laureates and intellectuals from the entire globe.

The IRWF has branches in New York, Jerusalem and Buenos Aires.

For his part, the UN Secretary General recalled the example given by the Swedish diplomat as a beacon to be followed by future generations.

Finally, Mrs Annan, the daughter of Wallenberg’s sister, Mrs Nina Lagergren, showed Mr Tenembaum an album of Wallenberg’s photographs and a book containing hundreds of letters written by the diplomat, mostly to his mother, Maj Von Dardel. In his last letter to his mother, written in December 1944, Wallenberg sent his greetings to his sister Nina ”and the little girl”. That ”little girl” is precisely Mrs Annan, now a renowned international lawyer and painter, who dedicates most of her time to UN educational and child-care programs. Mrs Annan assured Mr Tenembaum that both she and her mother are delighted with the work carried out so far by the IRWF.