JERUSALEM (EJP) — Marking 100 years since the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research will hold a symposium on Tuesday on Rescue Operations During the Holocaust.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish-diplomat in Nazi-occupied Hungary who led an extensive and successful mission to save the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
Wallenberg used his role to launch a series of highly unconventional diplomatic efforts, ranging from bribery to extortion. Designing a Swedish protective pass to help Jews be legitimized by German invaders and their Hungarian allies, he began by issuing three times as many protective passes as he was authorized to and employed an exclusively Jewish staff to protect them from persecution.
When Wallenberg discovered Eichmann’s plans for a massacre of Budapest’s largest Jewish ghetto, he used his diplomatic connections to threaten the general in charge of the operation, August Schmidthuber, that should he proceed with the operation he would be hanged as a war criminal when peace was declared.
When the Russians liberated Budapest days later, they found 97,000 Jews remaining in its two largest ghettos, but Wallenberg disappeared following their arrival in the city. The Russians later claimed he died in their captivity on July 17, 1947.
Tuesday’s symposium will take place with the participation of Swedish Minister for Integration, Erik Ullenhag, Canadian MP Prof. Irwin Cotler, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and Hungarian Ambassador to Israel HE Mr. Zoltan Szentgyorgyi.