TORONTO (JTA) — Canada will honor Swedish Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg with a postage stamp.
The stamp will be released on Jan. 17 to coincide with the 68th anniversary of Wallenberg’s arrest by Soviet troops in Budapest during the dying days of World War II.
Wallenberg was made Canada’s first Honorary Citizen on Jan. 17, 1985, and the government declared the date as the annual Raoul Wallenberg Day in the country. It is the first time that Canada is paying tribute to one of its five honorary citizens with a postage stamp.
Wallenberg, who would have turned 100 on Aug. 4, is credited with rescuing an estimated 100,000 Hungarian Jews from death during the Nazi occupation of Budapest. He issued thousands of protective documents to Jews and spirited thousands of others to safe houses that flew the neutral Swedish flag.
He also persuaded the Nazis to call off the destruction of Budapest’s Jewish ghetto along with its inhabitants.
His fate remains unknown. The Soviets have said he died in custody in 1947. Other reports, including from eyewitnesses who spent time in Soviet prisons, reported to have seen him alive long afterward.
"To recognize Mr. Wallenberg with a stamp is a fitting way to mark his courage and his contributions to our country, and we are proud to add him in our stamp program," said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra.
The stamp "will help raise the profile of a person whose courage served as a beacon of light during such a dark period," Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Miriam Ziv, said in a statement.
The United States issued a stamp paying homage to Wallenberg in 1997.