The Avenue of the Righteous

 

As we remember those who fell in the Holocaust today, we should also pause for a moment and give thanks for the Righteous of the Nations who stood against the rising darkness. These individuals risked everything in order to stop the “final solution” from being realized, and they saved lives. Raoul Wallenberg was one such individual, and he is credited as having saved between 30-100,000 people in Budapest.

Wallenberg was a member of the Swedish diplomatic mission in Hungary in 1944 and he was chosen to lead a task force whose entire mission was to rescue as many Jews as possible. And Wallenberg was zealous in his pursuit of that goal.

He printed emergency passports bearing the official seals of the Swedish King by the thousands. He would stand in front of trains of cattle-cars loaded with Jewish prisoners and refuse to step aside. Meanwhile, his staff would drop these passports through the roofs of the cars to the Jewish prisoners inside. Wallenberg would then threaten to charge the German commander on site with open war against the people of Sweden and risk the wrath of the King if they did not order the soldiers under their command offload the protected Swedish citizens under their guard.

He purchased buildings in town and hung Swedish flags out the windows, declaring them extraterritorial grounds of Sweden, and would shelter refugees inside. Anyone who could make it inside was given an emergency passport and protected. Wallenberg and his staff were dedicated to their task and they risked everything.

Wallenberg also worked tirelessly to get the Jewish families he helped save out of the country and to true safety. He remained behind and continued to help people get out of the country even after the Germans retreated and the Red Army advanced. He stayed so long, in fact, that he was captured and would spend the last two years of his life as a political prisoner of the Soviets.

He died in 1947, and the Soviets never revealed any details of his death. He was named one of the Righteous Among the Nations on November 26th, 1963, and his tree still grows on the Avenue of the Righteous.

Take a moment, and read his story, which you can find at the following links….

http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/…/raoul-wallenberg-s-biogra…/

http://www.yadvashem.org/…/en/righte…/stories/wallenberg.asp

 

 

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