Raoul Wallenberg Memorial

 

The memorial to Raoul Wallenberg stands outside the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, at 32 Great Cumberland Place, London.  It is by British artist Philip Jackson and was unveiled in 1997.

The memorial is made of bronze and Wallenberg is depicted pensively standing against a wall. The rear of the statue is draped with the Swedish flag and made from 100,000 Schütz passes, the documents with which he saved Jews from being transported to Auschwitz.

An inscribed bronze strip at the outer edges encourages viewers to move around the monument as they read:

IN 1944, ARMED ONLY WITH DETERMINATION AND COURAGE, RAOUL WALLENBERG ARRIVED IN BUDAPEST AS A MEMBER OF THE NEUTRAL SWEDISH LEGATION AND SET ABOUT RESCUING THE 230,000 JEWS WHO REMAINED. SNATCHING MANY FROM NAZI AND HUNGARIAN DEATH SQUADS, HE DEMANDED THE REMOVAL OF OTHERS FROM TRAINS DEPARTING TO THE GAS CHAMBERS AT AUSCHWITZ. HE PLACED TENS OF THOUSANDS UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE SWEDISH CROWN BY ISSUING THEM WITH FALSE PASSPORTS, SCHUTZPASSES, SHELTERING THEM IN SAFE HOUSES FROM WHICH HE FLEW THE SWEDISH FLAG

 

There are regular gatherings at the memorial, particularly on Wallenberg’s birthday, the centenary of his birth being this year - 2012. On Aug 5th 2009, which would have been his 97th birthday this speech was made by Mrs Jill Blonksy, a volunteer of the Wallenberg Foundation:

 
‘As we know, in 1944 the order was given by the Nazi Government in Germany to liquidate the Jews of Hungary. The aristocratic and comfortably-off Raoul Wallenberg was asked to go to Budapest under the auspices of the Swedish Legation to rescue as many as possible by linking them in some way with Sweden. We know he bribed officials and soldiers, took people of trains, out of death marches, created safe houses and issued Swedish passes in an effort to save lives while putting his own very much at risk from the likes of Adolf Eichmann. Finally, when the order was given to destroy the ghetto, Wallenberg issued threats to the German army and the order was cancelled. No-one knows how many were saved but the figure could be as high as 100,000. But on January 17th as part of a scheme to arrange the rebuilding of post-war Hungary, Raoul asked to meet with the Red Army General Malinovsky. He and his driver, Vilmos Langfelder, was arrested and both disappeared into the gulag system, never to be heard of again.

To this day it is not what happened to Raoul, but what we do know is that we owe him a debt of gratitude, not just for saving lives, but for saving our faith in humanity at a time when there appeared to be so little in evidence. My greatest wish today is that wherever he is, Raoul is blessed and rewarded by God.

 
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