• Sweden edition
 
RAOUL WALLENBERG CENTENNIAL
'One individual can save the lives of thousands'

'One individual can save the lives of thousands'

Published: 04 Aug 2012 09:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Aug 2012 09:17 GMT+02:00

On Saturday August 4th, Raoul Wallenberg would have turned one hundred years old. This year, his centennial is observed in close to sixty countries all over the world.

The reason for this is of course his personal achievement; that he stands out among the many that risked or sacrificed their lives in order to save innocents during the Second World War.

Raoul Wallenberg is the most internationally known Swede - with parks, streets, monuments named after him all over the world.

RELATED GALLERY: WHAT DO SWEDES KNOW OF RAOUL WALLENBERG?

Raoul Wallenberg’s life is highly symbolic. He risked his life to fight one of the most horrifying ideologies of the dark twentieth century, Nazism, and was a victim of another, communism. Exactly how and when he died we still do not know, but we believe that Raoul Wallenberg was killed in custody in the Soviet.

Raoul Wallenberg is the epitome of the accidental hero. No one could have anticipated that the young businessman, educated in the US as an architect, was to turn out as one of the heroes of our time; as an icon for human rights.

It is an example of how a man can step up when faced with the utmost evil.

During autumn 1944, the Nazis deported close to half a million Jews from the Hungarian countryside to the concentration camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Now, obviously, the turn had come to the 230,000 Jews in Budapest. The US, awakening late to the fate of the Jews, established the World Refugee Board, in order to save the remaining Jews in Europe. And they defined Budapest as the most crucial place.

The Americans turned to the neutral nations, who were diplomatically represented in Budapest. Several of them had distributed passports to Jews connected to their countries.

Now, the US urged the neutral countries to send more special representatives in order to enlarge and hasten the operation with the protective documents. The other neutral nations refused, Sweden complied.

And then by a serendipitous twist of fate, the office of the American diplomat given the task of identifying a candidate for the job in Budapest was located in a building on Strandvägen in Stockholm, in the same property where Raoul Wallenberg had his office.

The American met Wallenberg’s boss, Koloman Lauers, in the building's elevator. He asked if Lauers – who was a Jew from Budapest - had any idea of who could be a good candidate for the task. And Lauers proposed his young colleague Raoul Wallenberg.

A few months later Wallenberg was approved by the Swedish Foreign Ministry and on his way as a junior diplomat, arriving in Budapest July 9th 1944.

The organization Raoul Wallenberg immediately started is considered to be the most effective operation of its time and led to the survival of more than 100.000 Jews in Budapest.

Raoul Wallenberg could have chosen another life, more conventional and more comfortable. Instead he followed an inner calling.

Raoul Wallenberg’s achievement shows the difference a single person can make. ”One man can make a difference” are the words over the entrance to the Raoul Wallenberg School in Brooklyn – one of the many schools all over the world in his name.

Dictatorial madness is still rampant. Anti-Semitism is far from gone. People are oppressed in many places. Even in nations that call themselves enlightened, minorities of different kinds are persecuted. So where are the Raoul Wallenbergs of today?

In this lies the importance of Raoul Wallenberg today. Of course his person is worth honouring. But even more the idea that one individual, driven by an inner sense of justice, can save the lives of thousands.

It begins with each of us - in the streets, in the schools or workplaces, in our human relations. We have a chance to stand up against evil.

Therefore the best commemorative activity this year will be to use the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial in schools and among young people to raise the awareness of the responsibility of the individual.

Olle Wästberg

National Coordinator for the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg Centennial

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:10 August 6, 2012 by motti
Mr Wallenberg was a real humaitarian, who was murdered because oif his decency.

He is commemerated in Israel. On ethe Israeli website YNet. This hero was commemerated on the anniversary at the jewish Museum byHungarian authorities. Sadly though the statue was covered with the bloody remains of pigs feet.

The perpetrators, are themselves pigs. well actually no. At last pigs are not murderous like their human counterparts
08:23 August 8, 2012 by Osk
Pity the majority of Sweden failed to stand up against evil.
10:46 August 8, 2012 by motti
Yes Osk, it's also a great pity that so many Swedes appear not to know exactly what this pious man did. I really do wonder, that Wellendberg is/was an embarrassment for saving Jews and the Swedish elite/establishment did not want to upset the mighty soviet Union is the cause? If so, than there is something serious;y adrift in Swedish society. If Sweden needs a real hero - forget the the olympics, then Wallenberg fits the mould 100%.
13:45 August 8, 2012 by cohen
but than a whole Swedish nation make sure to import antisemitism and support terrorist who send under age Palestinian kids to bomb themselves on the only native people in the world who claimed back their motherland in the history of human kind. you have a problem with the truth may be you should invite your queen and climb Nirenberg, the mountain Sweden is so proud of.
16:20 August 8, 2012 by HungarianAmerican1975
Why do we constantly have to have this shoved in our face? It happened a long time ago, and yet ANY historic event in Europe from the North to the South, is somehow tied into the Holocaust. Funny how there seem to be more and more "survivors" coming forward each year...
20:19 August 8, 2012 by guliver
HungarainAmerican

No Sir, the srviviours are dying every year and in few years will disappear because their age and sickness.

the sons and doughters of these surviviours are those who raise the flag of the holocaust to make remember to the Hungarians that we did not forget and will never forget what they did to our families.

Israel
11:41 August 9, 2012 by motti
How you Hungarians screamed for help against Soviet invasion. Perhaps they had the right idea in combatting Hungarian Nazis. Why place the remains of a bloody pig on the monument to Wallenberg?

Gulliver, your excellent answer to the HungarianAmerican will make no sense to morons, left or right. Not for nothing is Hungary recognised, along with the mainland Baltci states Lits, Lats and Estsas being the worst kind of Jew haters. Unfortunately there is another who escaped justice by obtaining refuge in the USA
Today's headlines
Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN