August 22, 2018


The former UN Secretary General has died, aged 80

Kofi Annan hosting Baruch Tenembaum and Perla Graisman

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Kofi Annan was a world renowned diplomat. He served as Secretary General of the United Nations for 10 years, from 1997 to 2006. This soft-spoken statesman has devoted his life to bettering the health conditions in his native Africa and denouncing any form of racism and discrimination. Annan is survived by his second wife, Nane Annan, niece of Raoul Wallenberg. This family connection gave us a good reason to approach him, and this move proved right. We found in Annan a solid friend and partner. A person deeply committed to the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg. Someone who understood the importance of instilling the Swedish rescuer’s heroism in the hearts and mind of the young generations, which are eager to identify with positive role models. Our first encounter with Kofi Annan and his wife took place in New York, at their residence, precisely in August 2002, on occasion of the 90th birthday of Raoul Wallenberg. Both our hosts showed a great degree of interest in our activities and ever since, both of them became a source of inspiration to our NGO. In another meeting we held in New York, next to the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial located in front of the UN headquarters, in Manhattan, we told Kofi Annan about our dream to identify and mark with special plaques those sites in Europe that, during WWII, served as shelters to the victims of the Holocaust, especially children. He was mesmerized by the idea and prompted us to implement it. A few years later, our Houses of Life program became a reality and nowadays, we have gathered information on more than 500 Houses of Life in Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Greece and Albania, and the numbers are growing by the day. Kofi Annan was delighted to receive our periodical reports to him with the progress of our Houses of Life program and his words of encouragement served as a strong motivational force which propelled us to continue our efforts. With his sudden passing, we have lost a great friend and supporter. We shall deeply miss him and we shall do our utmost to keep on shedding light on the rescuers, which is something that was very close to his heart. May you rest in peace our dear friend!

Eduardo Eurnekian – Chairman

Baruch Tenembaum – Founder