Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who helped save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II, is one of two finalists for this year’s European Human Rights Prize of the Council of Europe.
Wallenberg saved many Jews through the distribution of Swedish certificates of protection, among other actions. He mysteriously disappeared near the end of the war, after he was to report to Soviet army headquarters in Budapest.
The other finalist is Sergi Kovalyev, a Russian who has served as a human rights monitor in war-torn Chechenya.
The commission that deals with legal affairs and human rights — part of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly — met last week in Paris to make the choice for the prize, which is awarded every three years.
Wallenberg and Kovaliov were chosen from the 71 candidates that were initially proposed. The commission has made its proposal to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which will meet next month to choose the winner.
Those who are supporting the nomination of Wallenberg for the prize stress that he would be an appropriate winner this year, as Europe commemorates the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps and the defeat of the Nazi regime.