About the truth being a monument more durable than marble

17-11-1998 , by Guy von Dardel

Talk about Raoul Wallenberg, Buenos Aires, 1998-11-17

On behalf of my brother Raoul Wallenberg and our family I would like to thank the Argentinian authorities, Casa Argentina, and all the groups and individuals who took the initiative and realised the beautiful monument we see before us. We are grateful and proud to see Raoul remembered this way. I also speak on behalf of the thousands who lives were saved by Raoul Wallenberg and his colleagues in Budapest.

I am deeply touched by the interest hi case still attracts in a distant country, after half a century.

It is necessary that we always remember. Remembrance enables us to learn from the past and it is my hope that coming generations will be  inspired by Raoul Wallenberg’s deeds and accomplishments. Perhaps most of all it is the spirit of his actions that we should remember and that we celebrate today. Raoul Wallenberg and those who worked with him showed all of us what it means to take responsibility personally. Personal committment, combined with utter determination and resourcefulness are what made Raoul Wallenberg’s efforts so effective.

Tragically, Raoul paid a high prize for his committment and today we still do not know his true fate. The official Russian claim is that he died in a Soviet prison in July 1947, but the circumstances are uncertain. Did he die of a heart attack or was he executed? Or did he survive in the Soviet Gulag and for how long?

We owe it to Raoul to find the truth. A bilateral Swedish-Russian Working Group has conducted seven years of research, in particular in Russian archives, and it has achieved important results. But  it is clear that much is still to be learned, both about his fate and the reasons for it. There are still persons alive today who know the truth. And although many papers related to Raoul’s case were reportedly destroyed, some of the essential documentation must have been preserved.

I have been criticised for insisting on the truth about one man when so many others died. But when those we love can no longer speak for themselves, we must speak out. When Argentina suffered the terrible pain of the disappeared, it also witness the courageous and ultimately successful protests of the Mothers of the Plaza del Mayo. Our own family has been too weak to oppose, unaided, the forces which captured Raoul but while we are alive we will never give up to demand the truth about his fate.

To find the truth is a lengthy and difficult task and we need your help, the public’s help. Monuments in honor of Raoul Wallenberg have been  built in many countries to preserve his memory, but we also need to support the search for the truth – this is what is required of us if we truly want to be our brother’s keeper.

The truth can and will be found and it will be, as the Romans said long ago, « a monument more durable than marble. »

Thank you very much for coming today to attend this ceremony.

Guy von Dardel

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