LONDON (Jun. 4)
A postage stamp with the portrait of Raoul Wallenberg will be issued by Sweden next year as part of a series of stamps honoring Swedish nationals who lost their lives while on international humanitarian missions.
Wallenberg, a diplomat, is credited with saving the lives of 100,000 Hungarian Jews when he headed a special section of the Swedish legation in Budapest during World War II. He was arrested by Soviet authorities when the Red Army entered Budapest in January, 1945 and his fate remains unknown.
Moscow insists he died in prison in 1947 but there have been persistent reports over the years that he was seen alive and may still be living. He would be 72. The Swedish Premier, Ingvar Carlsson, raised the 41-year-old case during his first official visit to Moscow last April. He has not disclosed what he was told there.
The Wallenberg stamp will be the first tribute to the war-time diplomat by his own country. A Wallenberg postage stamp was issued by Israel three years ago and Israel, Canada and the United States have conferred honorary citizenship on him.
The hesitancy of the Swedish authorities to officially honor Wallenberg until now has been attributed to a desire not to offend the Russians or not to appear to take for granted Wallenberg’s demise.
The stamp series will also honor Count Folke Bernadotte, a United Nations special representative in the Middle East, assassinated by Jewish terrorists in 1948 and Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations Secretary General who was killed in an air crash in 1965 in what was then the Belgian Congo.