Speech of Ambassador Kjell Anneling

Dear Friends of Raoul Wallenberg,

I and my wife Birgit are honored to be present here tonight to share this evening with you commemorating the 60th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance and we are gathered here today to remember him and his good deeds. It is an important event because – and I am convinced you all agree – we must never forget!

We also share this evening with friends around the world. I know that many of my colleagues in other countries – Swedish ambassadors and consul generals – are present at events these days around the world honoring Raoul Wallenberg and we are proud to have had such a distinguished collegue.

Raoul Wallenberg is by many considered an international citizen. He is also an international hero in the true sense of the word, someone who is bold and daring, imaginative and inventive, someone in charge, quick to make decisions, a person with authority. A real ”doer”.

Raoul Wallenberg was all of that – and more, and we desperately need more of his kind, not least in these times of unrest and turmoil around the world. People are suffering and sometimes we feel frustrated and some of us might feel as if the international community stands paralyzed. Raoul was never paralyzed.

We will probably never know exactly how many Jews could be saved from the Holocaust thanks to the efforts of the Swedish legation in Budapest and Raoul Wallenberg. In a historical perspective, however, this is of no significance. What is important to remember is that there was one person who was prepared to devote all his energy to and in the end was also forced to sacrifice his freedom for the sake of a great humanitarian deed. Or as has been said about Raoul Wallenberg in a few short words: ”One single person can make a difference.”

Raoul Wallenberg’s fate after 17 January 1945 was unknown for a long time. Not until twelve years later did the Soviet government admit that he had been arrested on false grounds and taken to Moscow where he was said to have died of a heart attack in July 1947. In January 2001, another 44 years later, the Russians explained that Raoul Wallenberg had not died a natural death but had been killed in Lubyanka Prison in Moscow.

The Swedish Government cannot accept this as the ultimate truth about the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. Far too many questions still remain unanswered about what really happened to Raoul Wallenberg after 17 January 1945. Sweden continues its efforts, therefore, to bring clarity to the Raoul Wallenberg case. This is being done through contacts with the Russian authorities at the highest political level when necessary and through Russian archives. The Government also supports independent research into the case of Raoul Wallenberg in Sweden and abroad.

We need to know what really happened to him, as do survivors and their families.

We need to know so that that our wound may finally be allowed to heal.

Until such time we cannot rest. We do not know if Wallenberg is alive, most likely not. However, he lives in our hearts and he is in our prayers.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation for all its work here in the United States and around the world. You work effortlessly to promote peace and understanding between nations and people, and you spread the word about Raoul Wallenberg and his heroic work.

We also thank you for your tireless efforts to shed light on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.

There has been many books written about Raoul Wallenberg, there have been numerous articles published, films and documentaries have been produced but to my knowledge never a musical before this one. I so very much look forward to listening to the music here tonight.