May 13, 2004

Tribute to diplomats and UN officials

On 13 May 2004 the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation paid tribute to the diplomats and UN Officials murdered in 2003 while fulfilling their duty. The ceremony took place at the Chilean Embassy in Buenos Aires. The host was the head of the diplomatic legation, Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés.

Among the Saviours of the Holocaust there were hundreds of diplomats from several countries that disobeyed immoral instructions in order to save the lives of thousands. It is worth mentioning here the names of Raoul Wallenberg (Sweden); Aristides de Sousa Mendes (Portugal); Monsignor Angelo Roncalli (later Pope John XXIII) and Hiram Bingham IV (USA), among many others.

In the spirit of those courageous men and women, the IRWF remembered the diplomats who passed away recently.

Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes, Swedish Ambassador, Madeleine Stroje-Wilkens; José Ignacio García Hamilton, Vice-President of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Resident Coordinator of the UN System to Argentina, ad-interim, Juan Manuel Sotelo, spoke on the occasion.

Each one of them lighted a candle as sign of respect and grief for all and each of the fallen.

The ceremony included an exhibition of memorial panels produced by the IRWF, and the projection of a documentary of the UN in homage to the officials murdered in Baghdad.

Prestigious Argentine sculptress Norma D´Ippolito presented to Ambassador Valdés her sculpture “Homage to Raoul Wallenberg”, a gift from the IRWF to the Chilean people.

Within the frame of a packed auditorium some of the most important adhesions to the ceremony were read aloud; among them the ones signed by the President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos; Nina Lagergren and Louise von Dardel, sister and nephew of Raoul Wallenberg, respectively; Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand; John So, Mayor of Melbourne; Christian Ferrazino, Mayor of Geneva; Pavel Bem, Mayor of Prague; Klaus Wowereit, Mayor of Berlin; Rabbi Adrian Herbst; Director of the Latin-American Rabbinical Seminar and Monsignor Justo Laguna, Bishop of Moron, Buenos Aires.