January 16, 2015

Double program in Tel Aviv to remember Raoul Wallenberg

“Seventy Years without Raoul Wallenberg, International Diplomatic and Legislative Activity Against Racial Discrimination”, was the title of the conference that took place on January 15, at the Cymbalista Jewish Heritage Center, Tel-Aviv University.

The speakers were Carl Magnus Nesser, Ambassador of Sweden; Professor Dina Porat, Head of the Kantor Center; Jens Orback, Secretary General of the Olof Palme International Center; Professor Joseph Klafter, President of the Tel-Aviv University; Prof. Yoram Dinstein, former President of the Tel Aviv University; Professor Irwin Cotler, Member of the Canadian Parliament; Professor Raanan Rein, Vice-President of the Tel-Aviv University; Cecilia Åhlberg, grand-niece of Raoul Wallenberg and Danny Rainer, Vice-President of the Wallenberg Foundation, who, among other words, said:

“We continue asking the Russian authorities to enable an unfettered access to the KGB archives. Historians should be able to carefully study the archival evidences as they might shed a lot of light into the fate of Raoul and that of Mr. Langfelder. We fail to understand the Russian obstinate stance not to allow such an access. With great pain, we must admit that we also fail to understand the strange passivity adopted by the various Swedish Governments, from the day Wallenberg was abducted, to this very day. I must say so, with all due respect, in the presence of my friend, Ambassador Nesser. We believe that true friendship allows this type of direct talk. Beyond its moral obligation towards Wallenberg, one must underscore that Sweden had and still has a great deal of diplomatic and economic leverage which could be used to bring Raoul back home.”

The event also marked a decade to the UN’s declaration of the International Holocaust Memorial Day and 70 Years to the liberation of Auschwitz.

An unusual opera

Later, a video recording of the opera “Wallenberg”, composed by Estonian Erkki-Sven Tüür, was screened at the at the Tel Aviv Cinémathèque.

The video is a recording of the performance by the Estonian National Opera staged in 2007. The opera premiered in 2001 at the Opernhaus Dortmund. After praising the work and mission of the Wallenberg Foundation, Tüür said that the screening of his opera in Tel Aviv “is definitely special”.

The Estonian Ambassador to Israel, Malle Talvet-Mustonen, added that the screening of Wallenberg was achieved thanks to the Estonian embassy, in cooperation with the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish embassy in Israel.

“It’s because of the fact that it’s unusual for an opera about such a person to exist, in addition to it having been written by an Estonian composer, that we have to introduce it to wider audiences. It’s also unusual that the composer himself attends the screening. Also, perhaps it’ll help get closer to the dream of having this opera performed on stage in Israel or elsewhere in cultural capitals where the subject and modern music matter.”, Ambassador Talvet-Mustonen said.


Danny Rainer Speech