Prime Minister Sharon meets Relatives of Raoul Wallenberg

02-02-2005


Press release from the Prime minister’s Office:

02/02/2005 Photo by GPO02

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, at his Knesset office, met with family members of Raoul Wallenberg. Minister Natan Sharansky attended the meeting.Prime Minister Sharon thanked Raoul Wallenberg’s nieces for their uncle’s many efforts to save Diaspora Jews during the Holocaust and commended them for coming to Israel.

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Louise von Dardel’s speech at the Knesset February 5th, 2005.

I thank everyone who made this event possible, especially Max Grunberg and Eli Joseph for their dedicated work and Minister Nathan Sharansky for caring about the fate of my uncle and organising this important event which hopefully will have concrete results.

Years ago there was an international movement to have your liberated from the goulags. I hope the same can be done for my uncle, at least to know his fate.

For years, governments and organisations knew about the atrocities. It took individuals like my uncle to act on the information. Action is what saved over100.000 lives. Information by itself has no value if not acted upon when needed.

60 years ago, the world could no longer ignore the truth about the atrocities of the Holocaust, as Auschwitz and the other death camps were liberated
60 years ago, the Russians abducted Raoul Wallenberg, who, like 20 million others, disappeared in the Soviet genocide.
Now when I think about how my uncle could save so many people within only 6 months, I see the amazing convergence of work by rescuers in different countries and even continents, who probably did not even know each other.

There was this invisible bind between people like the two prisoners who escaped from Auschwitz to warn the Jews of Hungary.
From Bratislava, Rabbi Weissmandel sent his version of the report on Auschwitz to Budapest.
George Mantello in Switzerland got the report and acted on it by publishing it in the press in spite of the censorship.
When Hillel Cook in the US heard about the massmurder, he decided to act by lobbying the Roosfelt administration to set up the War Refugee Board
The War Refugee Board gathered the money and my uncle volunterd for the very dangerous mission to save the remaining Jews of Hungary
For that, the Swedish King transfomed the young architect and businessman Raoul Wallenberg, to a diplomat overnight
In Budapest, we have Karl Lutz at the Swiss Embassy, and Per Anger at the Swedish Embassy putting rescue in the air, by giving out protective letters.
Finally there were the Jewish rescuers working for my uncle to save their own people.
All these courageous people may not have known each other at the time, but their independent actions reinforced each other and made my uncle’s mission possible.

My uncle and a handful of other diplomats and priests saved around 120.000 Jews in Hungary. The people of Budapest saved an additional 50.000. It was the largest surviving Jewish population in Central Europe.
We now need a similar movement of people like my uncle, intelligent and creative doers and risktakers to find out what happened to him. And I call on relevant governments to open their archives for them.

So why should we, after 60 years, care about what my uncle did and about what happened to him?
First of all it is our moral duty to recognize, care and help rescuers like Raoul, who proved his unconditional love to other people by risking his life
Secondly to assure that international laws are respected. It is illegal to arrest a foreign diplomat
Thirdly because he is a honorary citizen of various countries, which have therefore an obligation toward him
And at last because it is the right thing to do
Also…

Through my uncle’s example, other heroic diplomats from all over the world have lately been identified. They too saved Jews in Europe, just like my uncle, by distributing visas, which often spelled the difference between life and death.
Through his example, we know that there were many beacons in the darkness.
Through his example, people found hope and faith back in humanity
Through his example, other men and women, up to our time, know that sometimes it is necessary to break the rules in order to make the world a better place.
Through his example we know that it is possible to act on one’s deep convictions and to create miracles.
Through his example educators can and should shape the character of future generations, which must be put into practice.
My uncle and people like him are timeless and universal figures. We need to be inspired by them today for making the world of tomorrow a better place.

Louise von Dardel
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