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Brown Appeals to Reagan to Find out Fate of Wallenberg

November 30, 1981
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Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. has appealed to President Reagan to officially ask Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev for a report on Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved 100,000 Jews in Hungary from the Holocaust.

Brown made the appeal at a meeting of the Broad of Directors of the Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Center at the Yeshiva University of Los Angeles, commemorating Wallenberg and his role during the war years. Reagan recently awarded Wallenberg honorary U.S. citizenship for his heroic actions in issuing counterfeit Swedish passports to Jews in Hungary.

Wallenberg disappeared in Budapest in 1945 where he had been a representative of the American War Refugee Board attached to the Swedish Embassy. The Soviet Union has claimed that Wallenberg die# in prison. However, former Soviet prisoners as well as many prominent individuals around the world believe that Wallenberg is still alive.

Brown told the meeting that for 36 years “Jews all over the world have attempted to learn the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. Although all efforts have failed, many who have pursued this search believe that Wallenberg may still be alive. Dead or alive, Jewish people all over the world cry out for word of his fate … Raoul Wallenberg, a non-Jew, is a symbol of world concern for the millions of Jews who died during the Holocaust.”


In a related action, the Simon Wiesenthal Center paid tribute to the Swedish diplomat by presenting its Simon Wiesenthal Humanitarian Laureate, in absentia, to Wallenberg. Nina Lagergren, Wallenberg’s sister, accepted the award on her brother’s behalf. Wiesenthal, the Nazi-hunter, told the 1,200 national leaders from the arts and business communities attending the award ceremony, that Wallenberg is “one of the 36 Righteous,” those “who by their deeds and way of life unknowingly help mankind not to despair of man and the world. They shine as the light in the darkness, they guard the world against doom.”

Actor Jon Voight, who will portray the heroic diplomat in an upcoming motion picture, said: “Raoul’s saga is not only about courage and heroism. It is about someone who cared about ethics and morals at a time when the world continued to place little emphasis on such virtues.”

Other motion picture and television personalities who paid tribute to Wallenberg were Barbra Streisand, Milton Berle, Rod Steiger and Rita Moreno. Elizabeth Taylor, a Center trustee, was unable to attend due to laryngitis. Dinah Shore substituted for her.

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