September 29, 2006

Wallenberg Foundation Greets Benedict XVI


Meets Religious Leaders in Rome

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2006 ( A delegation of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, led by founder Baruj Tenembaum, greeted Benedict XVI in Rome.

The foundation, dedicated to remembering those who risked their lives to save those persecuted during the Second World War, met with the Pope after Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The organization presented to the Holy Father a worldwide educational campaign, named after Father Alfonso Duran, a Puerto Rican native, who promoted from Argentina ”courageous actions to eradicate anti-Semitism and racial prejudices,” reported the foundation.

The Pontiff also received from Tenembaum a parchment with the following inscription: ”Testimony of the Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation a tribute to the memory of Monsignor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, savior of thousands of Jews during World War II; Sister Sara Salkahazi, killed for having protected the lives of her Jewish brothers persecuted by Nazism; Sister Leonella Sgorbatti, killed in Somalia; Father Alfonso Duran, who, from Argentina, raised his voice against the aberrant crimes of Nazism when the world was silent, and all the numerous Catholics who were outstanding in their conduct, following the precept ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.’”

The inscription, engraved in letters of the Hebrew alphabet, covers a parchment made from the skin of sheep of the Argentine Patagonia.

The delegation of the Wallenberg Foundation, which included Abel Bomrad, Ricardo Faerman and Enrique Zanin, attended working sessions this week with Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The foundation’s representatives also met with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, Sami Salem, Imam of Rome’s Mosque and Franca Eckert Cohen, director of the interreligious dialogue table of Rome.

On Sept. 28, the foundation awarded the 2006 Raoul Wallenberg prize to Jesús Colina, director of ZENIT, ”in recognition of the excellence of informative work placed at the service of inter-confessional dialogue and reconciliation.”

The award was conferred at the headquarters of the Argentine Embassy to the Holy See.