Today in Holocaust History –> On this day 17 January 1945, Righteous Among the Nations, Raoul Wallenberg was taken away by Russian soldiers. He was never seen again.
Just prior to the Soviet army entering Budapest, Wallenberg said to his colleague in the Swedish embassy:
“I’ve taken on this assignment, and I will never be able to go back to Stockholm without knowing … that I’d done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible”.
~ Raoul Wallenberg, Righteous Among the Nations
Raoul Wallenberg was sent to Budapest in 1944 to rescue Jews with connections to Sweden. He arrived with a list of Jews whom he was to help and 650 protective passports. However, he quickly widened the scope of his efforts by issuing 1000’s of “protective letters” and setting up a network of protective houses for Jews .
As the situation in Hungary deteriorated, Wallenberg abandoned all diplomatic protocol and attempted to rescue as many Jews as he could at great risk to himself.
Wallenberg used unconventional methods, including bribery and blackmail, to finance and run his huge rescue operation, successfully saving thousands of Jews. When Adolf Eichmann ordered a “death march” of tens of thousands of persons to the Austrian border, Wallenberg followed the marchers in their vehicles, and distributed food, clothing, and medications. He was able to free Jews from the death march by claiming that they were his “protected” Jews.
In 1956, 11 years after his disappearance, the Soviets finally stated that Raoul Wallenberg had died in prison in 1947.
In 1963 Yad Vashem recognized Raoul Wallenberg as Righteous Among the Nations.
Source: Yad Vashem