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Remembering Raoul Wallenberg

Today is Raoul Wallenberg Day in Canada. Not many people know that. I knew but forgot, and had to be reminded by this article in today’s paper:

He is one of only two honourary Canadian citizens (along with Nelson Mandela), yet few know of him. One of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, yet virtually unknown in the country that chose to make him one of us. There’s something wrong here.

Why should we still care about Raoul Wallenberg? After all, it has been 62 years since he was arrested by the Russians, on Jan. 17, 1945, and vanished into another totalitarian killing machine, never to reappear.

Here’s why.

In the face of the darkest evil during the Second World War, Wallenberg left his quiet neutral country, Sweden, and went to Budapest, one of the bloodiest places of the war, to save people of a different religion, ethnicity and tradition.

Defying the Nazis, he rushed to death-camp deportation sites, using his consular status to hand out coveted papers with the seal of the government of Sweden.

He rescued those bound for death and delivered them to safe houses where they were protected from the Nazi death machine. He saved thousands – 100,000 people would certainly have been murdered if not for his intervention. Acting alone in Budapest, on his own initiative, he saved more lives during the Holocaust than any government in the world. Sounds impossible, but it is true.

I am constantly amazed at his staggering achievement, and the terrible irony of his life story – the hero rescuer who is himself imprisoned and silenced.

Read the rest. And, if you can, pause for a moment to pay tribute to this man who was truly one of the Righteous among the Nations.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • red rabbit 01.17.07, 7:32 PM

    I…. wow…

  • John Palubiski 01.18.07, 7:18 PM

    Has the date just recently been declared, or was it enacted some time ago?

    I’d no idea there was a day dedicated to this man.

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