January 8, 2002

Raoul Wallenberg’s statue, damaged


A new act of vandalism has been perpetrated in the corner of Austria Street and Libertador Avenue, in the Buenos Aires Recoleta quarter, when a statue of Raoul Wallenberg appeared covered with red spray painting.

It remembers the saviour of thousand of Jews. The face and body of the piece in bronze, made by the English sculptor – Philip Jackson, were attacked by unkown perpetrators.

In the wake of the attack, the local headquarters of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation issued a statement condemning this ”vandalic attack”, underscoring at the same time the figure of Raoul Wallenberg who ”saved, at the expense of his own security, tens of thousands of people condemned to death by the Nazis”.

Wallenberg was a Swedish Architect, the son of one of the most powerful families of Sweden that includes bankers and industrialists. In 1944 he was chosen to travel to Hungary in order to help save the Jews persecuted by nazism there.

He arrived to Budapest with diplomatic status and set up his headquarters at the Swedish Embassy from where he issued thousands of temporary passports that spared the lives of tens of thousands (may be a hundred thousand, according to many sources) of Jews and other persecuted by Hitler’s regime. At the end of 1944 Wallenberg was detained by Soviet troops. Since then his whereabouts are unknown.

”We are shocked, not only by the nature of the attack to a symbol of freedom, but also by the impunity that enjoy those who perpetrated it”, officials of the Wallenberg Foundation stated.