Israel Remembers Wallenberg

Ambassador Yehuda Blum of Israel issued a statement here today marking the 70th birthday of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Nazi occupation and who disappeared shortly after the Red Army entered Budapest at the end of World War II. Soviet authorities have claimed that Wallenberg died in a Soviet prison in 1947, but there have been persistent rumors that he is still alive.

“On this day, May 9, 1983, Israel and the Jewish people join with all those who mark the 70th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish diplomat and humanist,” Blum declared.

“Wallenberg is remembered as the savior of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from systematic extermination at the hands of the Nazis, ” Blum said, adding: “Through his direct intervention, 20,000 were spared the final destination of the infamous Nazi death march of 1944. The 120,000 Jews surviving in Budapest at the end of WWII were the living testimony to other rescue efforts, both direct and indirect, on the part of Wallenberg.”

Noting that special ceremonies remembering Wallenberg were taking place today in Israel, Blum said: “Today, 38 years to the day since the death of Nazi Germany, it is with renewed urgency that we add our voice to all those in the free world who seek word of his (Wallenberg’s) whereabouts and welfare.”

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