July 18, 2011

States of Utah and Illinois proclaim 2011 Raoul Wallenberg Day

Since 2005, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has campaigned annually to establish October 5th as Raoul Wallenberg Day throughout the United States. Since then 20 states have decided to join this initiative many of them supporting it multiple times.

On October 5th, 1981, Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who disappeared in January 1945 after saving the lives of tens of thousands persecuted people during World War II, became the second person in history to be awarded Honorary Citizenship by the U.S. Congress.

Utah and Illinois are the first two states to have proclaimed Raoul Wallenberg Day in 2011, for which we are truly grateful.

For the state of Illinois this is the 4th Raoul Wallenberg Day proclamation as a result of the IRWF annual campaign. It is important to mention that in 1990 Illinois was the first state to require Holocaust education in public schools. In addition, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center inaugurated in 2009 in Skokie also shows state’s efforts to teach future generations about the lessons of Holocaust and the need to fight hatred, prejudice and social injustice.

This will be the second consecutive Raoul Wallenberg Day celebration in Utah. The 2011 proclamation has an additional significance as it marks the thirtieth anniversary of the day in which Wallenberg was declared an Honorary Citizen of the United States.

We hope that the schools and local organizations across Utah and Illinois will dedicate a class, program, or event on October 5th to the memory of this great rescuer.