“In the darkest of times, 1944, the 31-year old Raoul Wallenberg was asked to take on a rescue mission in Budapest to save the last remnants of European Jewry. He accepted without hesitation and was attached to the Swedish legation there. He developed protective passports, established so called Swedish houses with access to food and medicine and carried out rescue actions in Budapest and its surroundings. Risking his own life he saved the lives of tens of thousands Jews, at the same time restoring their hope and dignity. When the Soviets troops approached Budapest, Raoul Wallenberg left to negotiate his postwar rescue and reconstruction plans with them. Instead he was arrested, in January 1945, seventy years ago.
Since then the family has lived in hope and despair, hope that their efforts would bear fruit and Raoul would return, despair as their hopes were dashed again and again. In his absence Raoul was and will forever be present in our minds. At the same time we send our warm appreciation to all those who assisted and will continue to assist in the family’s quest to know his fate and keep his memory alive.
We have now decided to lay Raoul to rest and are planning a memorial site. The family had a private gathering at Kappsta outside Stockholm, where Raoul was born in 1912, remembering and mourning. Remembering the creative, engaged, action-oriented young man who rose to the highest levels of humanity to save those in need, mourning that his life in freedom was cut too short, that he himself never was saved and that his fate remains unknown. The declaration of death is a way to deal with the trauma we lived through, to bring one phase to closure and move on. But it will not affect his presence in our lives nor the inspiration he is to us and to the world. Raoul shows that it is possible to rise above our limitations and fears and act with courage for what is right. It is a great comfort to know that he lives on in the many he saved, in their children and grand-children and in those he continues to inspire.
This underlines the need and importance to find the truth about his fate. His mother said she prevailed in her struggle not just for her son but for all disappeared persons. It should just not be possible to disappear, nor should it be accepted.
So the search continues to find out the truth about his fate and recently “The Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative” was launched supported by the family. Researchers are planning a roundtable at the beginning of next year. For all those who want to know more about this initiative or support it, please go to http://www..eu.”