September 21, 2009

Raoul Wallenberg’s Niece Meets with Survivors Rescued by her Uncle

Louise von Dardel met with Holocaust survivors saved by her uncle, Raoul Wallenberg during her week-long stay in New York. About nine Wallenberg Survivors, many of them with their children, were present at this ”wonderful and very touching meeting.”

This is the second time the IRWF organizes a reunion of Wallenberg Survivors. More than twenty survivors living in the New York-New Jersey area gathered a month ago to commemorate the Swedish Diplomat’s 97th birthday.

The survivors were thankful for the opportunity to express their gratitude to their rescuer’s relative and were eager to know more about Wallenberg’s fate and the toll his disappearance took for the Wallenberg family. Diligently, Louise spoke about her grandparent’s tireless search and the countless letters sent inquiring about Wallenberg. She also mentioned the research his father, Guy von Dardel, conducted in the Russian archives and the work her aunt, Nina Lagergren, does to commemorate Wallenberg’s deeds.

Born five years after Wallenberg’s disappearance, Louise was particularly interested in learning more about her uncle’s drive and personality. One by one, Wallenberg Survivors shared their experiences and encounters with the Swedish diplomat. ”The stories were amazing,” said Louise after the gathering, ”all so different and still full of synchronicities and miracles.”

Marianne Balshone described the three miracles Wallenberg performed for her family, saving her husband, her parents, and her grandfather. George Schwarz told how Wallenberg personally drove his mother back home after rescuing her from the brick factory, a dreary place where Jews where gathered before being sent to the camps. And Judita Hruza emphasized the hope the Wallenberg’s Schutz-Pass inspired when she finally obtained one in the death march. ”Many of them said my uncle was an angel. Probably he was,” concluded Louise.