A Canadian postal stamp honoring Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, will be issued on Jan. 17, 2013, exactly 28 years after he was bestowed with honorary Canadian citizenship, The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) reported.
The occasion will mark the first time an honorary Canadian receives the distinction, according to CJN. Wallenberg is also an honorary citizen of Israel, the United States and Hungary.
In a statement last week, Canada Post president and CEO Deepak Chopra said the plan to issue the stamp is “a fitting way to mark [Wallenberg’s] courage and his contributions to our country, and we are proud to add him in our stamp program.”
Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport, described Wallenberg as “a shining example of incredible courage” for his actions during World War II.
Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Miriam Ziv, commended Canada Post for its decision to issue the stamp. “A commemorative stamp for Raoul Wallenberg is not just a symbolic act. It will help raise the profile of a person whose courage served as a beacon of light during such a dark period,” Ziv said in a statement.
“The stamp’s release… will conclude a series of commemorative events and educational programs,” she said.
Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) also welcomed the news.
“Under any circumstances, this is a very fitting tribute, but at a time when we are in desperate need of individuals who can serve to inspire Canadians about speaking truth to power, taking the high road and moving beyond their comfort zones to make a difference, there’s an added dimension of significance,” Fogel said.
Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies Canada, said that, “Commemorating Wallenberg’s legacy of courage and moral fortitude in the face of absolute evil is an inspired decision by Canada Post.”
“His efforts to save close to 100,000 Jewish Hungarians from the horrors of the Holocaust continue to be celebrated around the world,” Benlolo said.
The 100-year anniversary of Wallenberg’s birthday was celebrated earlier this month with worldwide commemorations in his honor.