February 12, 2008

Honor due to Raoul Wallenberg


January 16 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Every year, all Americans dedicate the day to the memory of this great fighter for equality and human rights. The great irony is that just one day later we commemorate a great American tragedy. The heroism of another (honorary) American citizen, who fought for human rights, just like Martin Luther King, Jr., who paid the ultimate price, just like Martin Luther King, Jr., but who, years after that terrible fate, still has not not received his due.

This man is Raoul Wallenberg. He saved tens of thousands from certain death at the hands of the Nazis in World War II. No one person in history has saved so many lives. And he paid the price when on January 17, 1945, he was taken by the Soviet Army. Martin Luther King, Jr., has a grave his family can visit. Raoul Wallenberg’s fate and whereabouts remain a mystery.

As we celebrate King’s legacy, we must remember it should serve to do everything we can to bring Raoul Wallenberg home. The justice of having a day dedicated to the great humanist that King was is overshadowed by indifference, by the fact that obviously we have not done enough as a nation, as human beings, to fight for justice for Raoul Wallenberg.

Let’s all get together and let’s bring Raoul Home.

Baruch Tenembaum
Founder, International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
New York, New York