• 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
National
Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Summer has come to a definite end in Kiruna as residents of the northern town were greeted with a blanket of snow on Sunday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. Photo: Leo Sellén/TT

Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart

Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has said that the election success of the Sweden Democrats is a "slap" in the face for the Stockholm establishment. READ  

National
Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
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

866
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