• Sweden's news in English

Swedes to get Raoul Wallenberg memorial day

4 Jan 2013, 11:36

Published: 04 Jan 2013 11:36 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In an opinion article published on Friday in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, Wallenberg's sister Nina Lagergren, Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, and United Nation's Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson lead the call for a new memorial day on August 27th to honour the famed Swedish diplomat.

"It is time to manifest the individual's responsibility to tackle oppression and xenophobia, and to underscore Sweden's traditions of openness and tolerance," they wrote.

"Far too many people avert their eyes when someone finds themselves in trouble or are being threatened. Far too many decide not to react when they see bullying and injustices."

"Courage is tested in small ways in everyday life."

The declaration of a memorial day comes after the conclusion of a year marking what would have been Wallenberg's 100th birthday. It was filled with events to honour and celebrate his legacy.

"It's important that the wide range of activities surrounding Raoul Wallengberg during 2012 don't end in silence," they wrote.

Siavosh Derakhti, founder of Young Muslims against anti-Semitism (Unga muslimer mot antisemitism), the head of the National Education Agency (Skolverket) Anna Ekström, and Eskil Franck, chief curator at Swedish museum The Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia), were also on the list of co-signatories.

"It is deeply symbolic that Raoul Wallenberg sacrificed his life in fighting one of the 1900s evil ideologies, Nazism, and fell prey to Stalin's Communism," they wrote.

The authors said that a recent review showed that school history books rarely mention Wallenberg. They said perhaps the silence was due to 'Swedish shame' at not investigating his disappearance in the Soviet Union more thoroughly.

They also noted that he was more famous abroad, where Canada, Argentina and several US states already had Raoul Wallenberg memorial days.

"What he stood for is not just about history. It is, unfortunately, relevant today. Anti-Semitism is not a painful historical experience, but a reality that lives on," they wrote.

"History may not repeat itself in exactly the same way, but the echoes of history permeate our era. The internet is overflowing with Holocaust deniers and attempts to link every ill deed, from 9/11 to Utöya, to a Jewish conspiracy."

"These conspiracy theories about Jewish power and hidden motives are classic elements of anti-Semitism."

Story continues below…

They linked the need to fight anti-Semitism to rising xenophobia of all hues that had worsened due to the financial crisis. They called anti-Islam rhetoric a relative of anti-Semitism and asked people to step up against intolerance.

The authors note that there is no official process for introducing a memorial day in Sweden, but that the chosen date is meant to coincide with the start of the school year and will make it easy for educators to plan activities to boost awareness of Wallenberg's legacy among Swedish schoolchildren.

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:43 January 4, 2013 by Seamus Sean
A very good idea to honour a brave man.

Will we also see a day to mark the sale of Swedish steel to Nazi Germany, without it the war couldn´t have continued, much like many of todays conflicts around the world wouldn´t be able to continue without the sales of Swedish arms dealers.

What about allowing Nazi armies travel through Sweden to Norway, will those that gave Hitler the go ahead be honoured or is this a case of picking what bits of history fits with those today?

I am sure many would love the rest of the world to think all Swedes are like Wallenberg, maybe it explains the need to take in so many folk from warzones around the world...people who have lost homes and loved ones by Swedish arms are welcomed into Swedish arms,maybe it eases the conscience a bit.
12:56 January 4, 2013 by RobinHood
Slowly, Sweden is beginning to understand and accept that Mr Wallenberg is a hero of historic proportions. He's up there with Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Theresa; "a moral giant" said Ronald Reagan.

Unfortunately for the socialists, who have governed Sweden for most of the time since the war, he didn't quite fit the profile, what with him being a rich aristocrat from an elite family and all that. They tried to push him under the carpet. It's good to see a Swedish government finally realising what an asset he is to Sweden, and celebrating him as he deserves.
16:38 January 4, 2013 by EP
@Seamus Sean

Well said ...
18:08 January 4, 2013 by JOHNATAN
A couragious and a brave man!

we shell remember him for ever.

may God bless his memory.

19:07 January 4, 2013 by millionmileman
This is a most well diserved honor for this real Swedish Hero. Especially today when we have a decline in roll models. I cetainly hope his story will be told in full in the Swedish Schools as well as his new Memorial Day, on 27 August each year. Another proud day to display the Swedish flag in addition to Sweden's Nation Day on 6th June.
16:45 January 5, 2013 by AHA
Mr Raoul Wallenberg was an honorable man indeed. But there was another Swede who was just as brave in helping thousands of people out of Nazi Germany. His name was Mr Folke Bernadotte. Why is he forgotten?
01:16 January 6, 2013 by wolfbay
Raoul Wallenberg would probably be run out of Malmo if he were alive today.
08:14 January 6, 2013 by JOHNATAN

Bernadotte had 2 chapters in his life:a very positive one ,saving Jews from the Nazi

concentrations camps specialy 400 Danish people from Treisenstadt, and on that he is an valubale man exactly as Wallenberg, and a negative one after war was ended, his opposing to the creation of Israel,we recognize his first chapter and reject his later one, saying that most of the Jews in Palestine under the Hagana condemed his assassination by Lehi underground.
Today's headlines
Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available