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Vigils for Wallenberg

January 19, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

About 20 persons held a 30-minute candlelight vigil across from the Soviet Embassy here last night to mark the 38th anniversary of the arrest of Raoul Wallenberg by the Red Army in Budapest. The Swedish businessman diplomat, who is credited with saving more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, is believed to be still alive in a Soviet labor camp.

Stewart Klein, a member of the Free Wallenberg Committee, which sponsored the demonstration, read a letter addressed to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov urging him to free Wallenberg. The demonstrators unsuccessfully tried to deliver the letter to the Embassy. Klein mailed a copy of the letter to the Embassy and to Moscow.

The letter, similar to the one the Wallenberg family has sent to Andropov, noted that “a mistake was made” when Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets. “How greatly to your credit it would be to rectify this tragic error at last,” Andropov was urged. “It is now within your power to right this terrible wrong.”

The letter also suggested to Andropov that there could be no “better way to show the sincerity of your new government’s intentions to a doubting world than to free Wallenberg.” A similar candlelight vigil was held last night across from the Soviet Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Meanwhile, New York State Senators Carol Berman, Manfred Ohrenstein and Donald Halperin, all Democrats, have introduced a resolution in support of the efforts of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States and as an expression “of our concerted support and of our unyielding commitment to effect the immediate release of Raoul Wallenberg from the Soviet Union.”

In an effort to establish lasting recognition for Wallenberg’s efforts, Berman and Ohrenstein have written to the chairman of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, to nominate Wallenberg for the Nobel Peace Prize. Berman has also proposed that Chancellor of the State University of New York, Clifford Wharton, award an honorary degree to Wallenberg, as an appropriate commemoration by the people of New York State.

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