postcard from sweden; r stands for raoul wallenberg

my postcard stamp - textR stands for Raoul Wallenberg – a lost hero

A young Swede whose choices made him the hero and immortal symbol, the angel of Budapest. Please. give this remarkable man a couple of minutes. raoul-wallenberg - rickardsoderberg se

Raoul Wallenberg is maybe the most unknown hero almost the youth today, even is his work, his legacy and life are honored is so many ways and places all over the world.

Raoul was born 4 February 1912 in Knappsta outside Stockholm, and likely he died on July 17, 1947 in Moscow. No one really knows when, where or how he died. But probably under captivity after having surrendered himself to the Russians in Exchange for several Hungarian Jews lives.

The family Wallberg is the most influential family in Sweden, since the beginning of 1800’s.

A businessman who worked in Budapest came by chance to see a train en route to one of the concentration camps, when his train to Stockholm stood still at a station. Upon his return to Sweden, he made contact with the Swedish Government and explained what he had seen.

He decided to return to Budapest and with Swedish Government’s help, he got a diplomatic status.

He saved hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Holocaust  and in the end, it cost him his own life. I wonder how a modern state of today seems to have forgotten about what the Holocaust cost them (my political statement) .raoul wallenberg - stairs - theibtaurisblog com

While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory saving about 65.000 lives. That is over 5000 per months, because he was only able to do for about a year’s time before he was arrested.

His father died of cancer three months before he was born, and his maternal grandfather died of pneumonia three months after his birth. His mother and grandmother, now both suddenly widows, raised him together. After high school and his compulsory eight months in the Swedish military, Wallenberg’s paternal grandfather sent him to study in Paris. He spent one year there, and then, in 1931, he matriculated at the University of Michigan in the United States to study architecture.raoul wallenberg _haifa - raoulwallenberginstitute org

He graduated from university in 1935, but upon his return to Sweden, he found his American degree did not qualify him to practice as an architect. Later that year, his grandfather arranged a job for him in Cape Town, South Africa, in the office of a Swedish company that sold construction material. After six months in South Africa, he took a new job at a branch office of the Holland Bank in Haifa.

He returned to Sweden in 1936 and obtained a job in Stockholm with the help of his uncle and godfather, Jacob Wallenberg, at the Central European Trading Companyan export-import company trading between Stockholm and central Europe, owned by Kálmán Lauer, a Hungarian Jew.Raoul_Wallenberg_thefriedlandergrou com

Raoul was aware and proud of his one-sixteenth Jewish blood.

When Wallenberg reached the Swedish legation in Budapest in July 1944, the campaign against the Jews of Hungary had already been underway for several months. Between May and July 1944, Eichmann and his associates had successfully deported over 400,000 Jews by freight train. Of those deported all but 15,000 were sent directly to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland. By the time of Wallenberg’s arrival there were only 230,000 Jews remaining in Hungary. Together with fellow Swedish diplomat Per Anger,he issued “protective passports” (German: Schutz-Pass), which identified the bearers as Swedish subjects awaiting repatriation and thus prevented their deportation.raoul wallenbeergs pass_peaceworks se

Although not legal, these documents looked official and were generally accepted by German and Hungarian authorities, who sometimes were also bribed. The Swedish legation in Budapest also succeeded in negotiating with the German authorities so that the bearers of the protective passes would be treated as Swedish citizens and be exempt from having to wear the yellow badge required for Jews.

Sandor Ardai, one of the drivers working for Wallenberg, recounted what Wallenberg did when he intercepted a trainload of Jews about to leave for Auschwitz:

.. he climbed up on the roof of the train and began handing in protective passes through the doors which were not yet sealed. He ignored orders from the Germans for him to get down, then the Arrow Cross men began shooting and shouting at him to go away. He ignored them and calmly continued handing out passports to the hands that were reaching out to them. I believe the Arrow Cross men deliberately aimed over his head, as not one shot hit him, which would have been impossible otherwise. I think this is what they did because they were so impressed by his courage. After Wallenberg had handed over the last of the passports he ordered all those who had one to leave the train and walk to the caravan of cars parked nearby, all marked in Swedish colors. I don’t remember exactly how many, but he saved dozens off that train, and the Germans and Arrow Cross were so dumbfounded they let him get away with it.

On 17 January 1945, Wallenberg was called to General Malinovsky’s headquarters in Debrecen to answer allegations that he was engaged in espionage. Wallenberg’s last recorded words were, “I’m going to Malinovsky’s whether as a guest or prisoner I do not know yet.

On 6 February 1957, the Soviet government released a document dated 17 July 1947, which stated “I report that the prisoner Wallenberg, who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack or heart failure. Pursuant to the instructions given by you that I personally have Wallenberg under my care, I request approval to make an autopsy with a view to establishing the cause of death… I have personally notified the minister and it has been ordered that the body be cremated without autopsy.raoul wallberg - 4 august - raoulwallenberg net

In 1989, Wallenberg’s personal belongings were returned to his family, including his passport and cigarette case. Soviet officials said they found the materials when they were upgrading the shelves in a store room.

1991, Vyacheslav Nikonov was charged by the Russian government to investigate the Wallenberg’s fate. He concluded that Wallenberg died in 1947, executed while a prisoner in Lubyanka.

In  May 1996 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released thousands of previously classified documents regarding Raoul Wallenberg, in response to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

(here in his calender you can see he had a meeting with SS scheduled at 3pm)

raoul wallenberg calender - .svd se

In Moscow in 2000, Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev announced that Wallenberg had been executed in 1947 in Lubyanka prison. He claimed that Vladimir Kryuchkov, the former Soviet secret police chief, told him about the shooting in a private conversation.

Wallenberg was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1948 by more than 50 qualified nominators and in 1949 by a single nominator. At the time, the prize could be awarded posthumously, but the concept of such awards was controversial.raoul wallenberg - raoulwallenberg net

Raoul Wallenberg is honored in many countries;

In Buenos Aires, there is a monument in honour of Wallenberg at a park. It is a replica of the London monument by Philip Jackson, was unveiled in 1998.

In Melbourne, a small memorial in honour of Wallenberg stands at the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre; a monument dedicated to him is on the corner of Princess Street and High Street, Kew; and a tree and memorial seat are at St Kilda Town Hall.raoul wallenberg - signature - baumanrarebooks com

In the 22. district of Vienna a street was named “Raoul-Wallenberg-Gasse”.

Wallenberg was made the first Honorary Citizen of Canada in 1985; and the government declared 17 January, the day he disappeared, as “Raoul Wallenberg Day” in Canada.

In the center of Batumi a street was named “Raoul Wallenberg street”.

Budapest named Wallenberg as an honorary citizen in 2003. Several sites honor him, including Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, which commemorates those who saved many of the city’s Jews from deportation to extermination camps, and the building that housed the Swedish Embassy in 1945.

Israel granted Wallenberg honorary citizenship in 1986 and honored him at the Yad Vashem memorial as one of the Righteous Among the Nations; this designation recognizes Gentiles who saved Jews from the Holocaust. Other tributes to Wallenberg in Israel include at least five streets named after him

A memorial to his name was made in 2013 in the capital city of Lima. Taking the form of a park.

A memorial to him stands in the courtyard of the Russian Rudomino Library of Foreign Languages in Moscow, and an educational institute in Saint Petersburg was named after him.

United Kingdom
A Raoul Wallenberg memorial was installed at Great Cumberland Place in London, outside the Western Marble Arch Synagogue. On separate occasions in the 1990s and 2000s, Queen Elizabeth II and Charles, Prince of Wales paid tribute to Wallenberg at the Western Marble Arch site. A separate memorial stands near the Welsh National War Memorial in Alexandra Gardens.

United States
On 26 July 2012, Wallenberg was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress “in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.”
The US Congress made Wallenberg an Honorary Citizen of the United States in 1981the second person to be so honored, after Winston Churchill.

In 1997, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor.

In Manhattan, a monument honoring him was installed on Raoul Wallenberg Walk, named in his honor, across from the headquarters of the United Nations. The Swedish consulate commissioned the piece, created by Swedish sculptor Gustav Kraitz. The sculpture, Hope, is a replica of Wallenberg’s briefcase, a sphere, five pillars of black granite, and paving stones (setts) which were formerly used on the streets of the Budapest ghetto.raoul wallenberg- canada stamp - thedailybeast com

In  26 July 2012, Wallenberg was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress “in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.

and of course in Sweden  – In 2001, a memorial was created in Stockholm to honor Wallenberg. It was unveiled by King Carl XVI Gustaf, at a ceremony attended by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. A memorial to Wallenberg was installed in Gothenburg, near Hagakyrkan (Haga Church)

A number of films have been made of Wallenberg’s life, including the 1985 made-for-television movie Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story (1985), starring Richard Chamberlain, the 1990 Swedish production God afton, Herr Wallenberg (Good evening, Mr. Wallenberg), featuring Stellan Skarsgård, and various documentaries.

Men like Raoul Wallenberg, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Olof Palme make me feel so enormously proud over being Swedish. Men that died because of theirs work and believes, trying to make our world better place for all of us. That frighted for the underdogs; the small that didn’t have a strong enough voice.

But also Harald Edelstam (the Black Pimpernel), our ambassador in Chile during the 1973 military coup , that saved lives. Will come to him later.

The power of one saved hundred thousand.

He didn’t need any guns only his will,
courage and determination.

“I encounter one example after another
of how relative truth is.”
Raoul Wallenberg

RW breif case

For more information about this remarkable man you can go to;
The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States or  The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.lars erik larsson - youtube com

As cloud to this post have I given my favorite Swedish classical piece;  Pastoral Suite for Orchestra, Op. 19, is an orchestral suite by the Swedish composer Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) composed 1938.. You’re just listing to the “Romance”.  For me no other piece of Swedish music is more suitable to pay tribute to Raoul Wallenberg and his humanity.

For text and information-  a big THANK YOU to

Images provided by and a massive thank you to:
Gallery 1;
Gallery 2;
Galery 3;
svd se
Gallery 4;
Gallery 5;
Gallery 6;
last one; my own

25 thoughts on “postcard from sweden; r stands for raoul wallenberg

    • Thank you so much, Andy – your comment means a lot to me … for me this post is very special. I felt so humble before the humanity of this man. I think we have to be reminded about our heroes that made a difference and for today’s heroes too .. that is out there helping the needed, without thinking about the risks to their own life.

      • Andy, thank you so much …. I guess he is an unknown hero for the younger generations. He didn’t have to use violence and of course the Swedish government had a big part in it. Thanks again for your support

      • Yes he should be as well known as Schindler. I did a post a while back-In Memory Of Czeslawa Kwoka. Everyone has heard of Anne Frank, but not this girl. It is her photo that has haunted me since I first saw it.

      • I think that Wallenberg is more honored around the world then Schindler, the movie made him and his
        name remembered more. Schindler saved about 1200 and Wallenberg 65000 and there is other people around Europe that did the same and they should all be remembered and honored.
        Anne Frank, yes – a remarkable story – imaging living in that fear.

  1. Great post, Viv….and a tribute to a remarkable, very courageous man. I saw a documentary about him some years ago, and was struck by his bravery and determination.

    • Thanks, Sue …. because this post means a lot to me … I’m so humble over this mans work, but it seams like the interest isn’t the greatest, whatever I’m proud over my post and I believe in men like Raoul. Sometimes I have a feeling that all that matters and has an interest is our photo entries.

    • Yes, he truly was … we can’t maybe so fearless has he was, but we can make a difference on our level … sometimes a smile is enough or nice word on the way.
      Thank you, Uru, for your support.

    • Marilyn, thank you so much for taking the time for my post and I totally agree with you – we need to be reminded for time to time and people like Raoul should never be forgotten, but time fades memories, even the best ones

  2. Wallenburg was a truly brave man who had the courage of his convictions. I really enjoyed your wonderful tribute post, Viveka. I watched a movie about him a few years ago, called “A Hero’s Story.” It was very moving indeed.

    • I have seen that movie too with Richard Chamberlain, as you said a very strong movie, but I think “Good Evening, Mr Wallenberg” with Stellan Skarsgård is even better, it’s more authentic. Thanks for taking giving this man your time. *smile

  3. Fascinating piece Viveka – I’d love to see one of the films about his life and will visit the memorial next time I’m in London. There’s an interesting and very emotive memorial to some of the Jews who lost their lives in Budapest here – hope you don’t mind me positing the link…

    • I don’t mind your link. Suzanne, thank you so much for your support. We need to be reminded at times about our heroes, even the bravest.
      Time fades, you should visit the one in New York .. by UN and Hammarskjöld Plaza. If I have enough time when I’m up in London, I will make a visit too.

  4. Isn’t it incredible how evil sits alongside heroism and the good in mankind, Vivi? How many of us would walk away? So many tried not to see what was happening. In his short life your hero seems to have seen and done an incredible amount. How wrong that he should end like that!
    Thank you so much for sharing, and the music is sublime. 🙂

    • Yes, the sad thing is that nobody really what happen to him. I’m trying to copy one of the films about hi, but so fare no sucess, if I manage I will send a copy to you.
      Thank you for giving Raoul your time. *smile

  5. I believe I saw a film about him long ago. Yes it is so sad but what a spirit!! He is part of the light!! And there were a few others too thank God who kept the torch of compassion and truth alive. May the forever rest in light and peace.

  6. What a wonderful post Viv. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story of one man who saved many. I have read much on WWII, yet don’t recall reading about this hero. #ProudCanadian. 🙂

    • Wallenberg saved 65000 lives and he is honored is many places around the world and Canada even has a Wallenberg Day. I must say I can’t remember reading about him in school neither.
      Why Schindler is remembered is because of the successful movie about him. You should watch the movie – Good Evening, Mr Wallenberg .. truly great movie and very authentic.

      • My pleasure Viv. As I said, I am fascinated with this kind of history. And I should be thanking you for taking the time involved to put together this amazing post! ❤

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