August 5, 2012

Sweden’s Holocaust hero Wallenberg remembered


Sweden and several other countries celebrated Saturday 100 years since the birth of diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. Crown Princess Victoria, Education Minister Jan Bjoerklund and Wallenberg relatives attended an afternoon ceremony and concert organised by the Raoul Wallengberg Academy in Sigtuna, a suburb of Stockholm.

In Berlin, a bust of the hero financed by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation was set to be inaugurated Friday. Designed by psychiatrist and artist Peter Bulow, whose maternal family survived the Holocaust in Budapest, the bust would be installed in the garden of a church not far from Wallenberg Street, according to the city mayor’s office. In New York synagogues were to offer a prayer of mourning, a gesture normally reserved for Jews.

“Orthodox rabbis gave us the go-ahead to recite the Kaddish, which is a special prayer for the people,” founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, Baruch Tenembaum, told AFP. “Those who knew how to confront hate and who saved lives were perhaps unable to prevent the evil and the destruction, but their memories should be cherished as strongly as possible,” Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog said at the ceremony.