The Foundation Of The “War Refugee Board“
Until 1944 the Allies played no active part in the fate of the European Jewish Community. In January 1944 th „War Refugee Board“ was funded by U.S. president Roosevelt. The board was also concerned with rescuing the Jews. The necessary financial aid was mainly provided by Jewish organizations. Most of the American ministers were indifferent to the board. A repeated proposal to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz was denied.
Rescue Efforts In Sweden
In neutral Sweden, steps were taken to prepare to help Hungary´s Jews. Norbert Masur, a representative of the “Jewish World Congress“, Chief Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis and Koloman Lauer considered the best way in which they could help. Masur suggested they find a person suitable to offer help in Budapest.
Proposed Is Raoul Wallenberg
End of May 1944, Koloman Lauer proposed his business partner Raoul Wallenberg for the position. Following some initial hesitation due to Wallenberg´s age, he proved successful in talks with War Refugee Board represantative Olsen and the U.S. amassador Johnson.
Wallenberg was the correct man for the task.