Raoul Wallenberg

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Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat whose country was a neutral power in the war. He was sent to Budapest, Hungary, on 9 July 1944, with 650 protective passports for Jews who had some connection with Sweden. By this time knowledge of the death camps was widespread and Wallenberg decided to save as many people from deportation as possible.

Between July and December 1944, he saved the lives of many tens of thousands of Jews by issuing them with Swedish passports and putting them under the protection of the Swedish government.

When the ruling Hungarian Arrow Cross party planned the deportation of the remaining Jews of Budapest, Wallenberg and his colleagues protested successfully.

However, the Nazis began sending the Jews on a ‘death march’ to the Austrian border and this Wallenberg could not stop. Nevertheless, what he and his colleagues did do was to follow the marchers and give out food, clothing and medical supplies.

When the Soviet army entered the city of Budapest, Wallenberg knew he was in danger from the Communists. They might think he was a spy. On 17 January 1945, he was taken away by the Soviets and disappeared, never to be seen again.

On 26 November 1963, Wallenberg was recognised by Yad Vashem as one of the ‘Righteous Among the Nations’.