Remembering Roul Wallenberg
Very touched by this tweet from the Swedish foreign ministry today:
"Each year, on 17 January, we honour the memory of Raoul Wallenberg. The Swedish diplomat saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.
Join us in lighting a candle today for Raoul, his humanitarian deeds and human solidarity!"
I will indeed be lighting a candle this evening in honour of a great man.
Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviet intelligence agency SMERSH on 17th January 1945, and never heard from again. Twelve years later the Soviet authorities claimed that he had died of a heart attack in the KGB's Lubyanka prison in 1947.
However, in the post-Soviet era, the Russian Federation government investigated what had really happened, and concluded that Wallenberg had been executed by the Soviets and that he and his driver were "victims of political repression."
This, of course, took place during the period when most of the people running Russia were keen to distance themselves from the crimes of the Soviet Union, rather than trying to re-establish it.
As a result of his successful efforts to rescue Hungarian Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis, Wallenberg has been awarded many honours from various nations. In 1981, US Congressman Tom Lantos, one of those saved by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States, the second person ever to receive this honour. Wallenberg is also an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary, Australia, United Kingdom and Israel, which has also designated Wallenberg one of the "Righteous Among the Nations."