Daily Israel Report

New Memorial to Raoul Wallenberg Inaugurated in Stockholm

A memorial to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during WWII, was inaugurated in Stockholm.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 8/20/2012, 3:18 PM

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A new memorial to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, was inaugurated in Stockholm.

The inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Raoul Wallenberg's sister Nina Lagergren,The European Jewish Press (EJP) reported.

The sculpture was designed by artists Ulla and Gustav Kraitz, who also created the Wallenberg monument outside the United Nations in New York.

The memorial consists of a bench made of black diabase with a briefcase of bronze placed diagonally on top. The bench has a text about Raoul Wallenberg engraved on its side, EJP reported.

"It is natural to have a memorial to Raoul Wallenberg just outside the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where he was formally employed," said Olle Wästberg, the Government's coordinator for Raoul Wallenberg Year.

The 100-year anniversary of Wallenberg’s birthday was celebrated earlier this month with worldwide commemorations in his honor. 

As Sweden's envoy to Hungary during the war, Wallenberg prevented the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to Nazi concentration camps by issuing them protective Swedish government passports.

Reports of Wallenberg’s death remain inconsistent. He was last seen on Jan. 17, 1945, in Budapest, when he drove off to meet Soviet authorities to discuss protection for Jews once the Red Army drove out the Nazis. Soviet intelligence agents abducted the Swedish diplomat.

The Soviet Union claimed that Wallenberg, incarcerated at Moscow's Lefortovo prison, died on July 17, 1947, of a heart attack, The New York Times wrote in 2000. However, he reportedly was interrogated six days after the date Russia claims Wallenberg died, according to others studying his case. A special commission investigating victims of Russian leader Joseph Stalin's political terror said he was executed at Lubyanka prison at KGB headquarters.