Budapest – A Hungarian park has been renovated and named after Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who has been credited with saving an estimated 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Second World War by providing passports and arranging for safe houses. Approximately 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
According to bosnewslife.com (http://bit.ly/UEAMU6), Israeli officials and the Vatican ambassador to Hungary were among those who attended the dedication ceremony yesterday of the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, which was held in the courtyard of the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest. The park has a weeping willow tree and a memorial to Wallenberg and others identified by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.
Speaking at the event, Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor said he had a mixed reaction to the dedication, citing a recent increase in Hungarian anti-Semitism which has included the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust monuments. But Gusztav Zoltai, director of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities said Wallenberg’s “life and deeds of action serve as a model for Jews in Hungary.”
Wallenberg’s neice, Louise von Dardel, said she and her family viewed her uncle’s life and death as a source of “inspiration,” as well as a mystery. Budapest, where Wallenberg was stationed in July 1944, is the last known place of his whereabouts. Soviet troops drove out the German and pro-Nazi Hungarian forces on January 17, 1945. It is unknown exactly how or where Wallenberg died, but official Soviet records indicate he perished in a Moscow prison in 1947.
The Hungarian government had declared the year 2012 to be “Wallenberg Year.”