The Raoul Wallenberg memorial by Charlotte Gyllenhammar in Goteborg, Sweden
Raoul Wallenberg was a modest Swedish businessman whose heroism in Budapest at the height of the Holocaust saved countless Jewish lives, and ultimately cost him his own. A series of unlikely coincidences led to the appointment of Wallenberg, by trade a poultry importer, as his country’s special envoy to Budapest in 1944. With remarkable bravery, Wallenberg created a system of protective passports and sheltered thousands of desperate Jews in buildings he claimed were Swedish libraries and research institutes.
In January 1945, as Wallenberg was on his way to meet one of the Soviet military commanders of the Budapest Offensive against the Nazis, he and his driver were taken into what was described as “protective custody” by the Soviet secret police. Later arrested as a spy, he disappeared into the depths of the Soviet system, never to be seen again.
In the award-winning Raoul Wallenberg: The Biography (Quercus), Swedish journalist and author Ingrid Carlberg carried out unprecedented research into all elements of her subject and his tumultuous times, narrating the story of a heroic life and navigating the truth about his disappearance and death. She talks about Wallenberg, and her work in documenting his life, with Steve Roberts, professor of politics and journalism at George Washington University.
Copies of Carlberg’s book are available for sale and signing.
In a video interview for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Holocaust survivor Eva Brust Cooper remembers hiding after her family received protective papers from Raoul Wallenberg.