September 3, 2009

Raoul Wallenberg, a man who has affected many people


Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat abducted and disappeared by the Soviets in 1945, during the Second World War, after having saved the lives of thousands of Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis. There is a foundation named after him that tries to acquire the testimonies of men and women who survived the Nazis Holocaust and also develops educational projects that promote world unity.

Some of these people have the good fortune of being able to tell how they began their lives anew:

¨My name is Gina Sal de Ladanyi and I was born on June 21st, 1921 in Poland in a city that is only a few minutes from the German border.

The first camp that I was sent to was a forced labor camp and then afterwards I was transferred to a concentration camp. I was one of about 300 hundred prisoners that were ultimately liberated.

An uncle of mine came, the last that I had en Argentina and he brought me through what we call the ¨Green Frontier¨ which passes through Uruguaiana to Paso de los Libres. When we arrived in Argentina, I presented myself and declared myself an illegal immigrant. Within a year they gave me the documents.

I have been in Argentina since July 2nd, 1947¨.

¨I was born in Belgium to parents of Jewish-Polish background. The war began when I was 10 years old and we escaped to France believing that we would find refuge there.

My father, an ex-voluntary in the Polish army, when he was 38 years old, and I was 13, was taken with his uniform on and it was not until much later, after 53 years, that I found out they had brought him to the Maidanek concentration camp. We never received any news of him and he did not survive. There were 1,000 prisoners and only 5 of them survived. When the war ended, I was able to return to Brussels, Belgium with my mother and it was there that we waited for 5 years until we could get our visas to Argentina¨.

During the Second World War, approximately 6 million Jews and more than 3 million Soviet prisoners of war were brutally murdered under the Nazis regime by means of starvation, sickness, maltreatment, or outright execution.