|  Share | Cite

Raoul Wallenberg

Wallenberg, Raoul (räōlˈ vălˈĕnbâr) [key] 1912–47, Swedish diplomat and businessman. In 1944, he was assigned to Sweden's legation in Budapest, where he helped save approximately 100,000 Hungarian Jews from Nazi extermination in an effort secretly supported by the U.S. War Refugee Board. He issued Swedish passports to approximately 20,000 Jews and sheltered others in houses he bought or rented. Adolf Eichmann, heading the transport of Jews to concentration camps, demanded that Wallenberg stop these activities and ordered his assassination, but the attempt failed. In 1945, the Soviets, who had just entered Budapest, imprisoned him, possibly because of secret work he was doing for U.S. Office of Strategic Services. In 1957 the Soviet government announced that he had died in prison of a heart attack in 1947, but he was reported seen at later dates. In 1991 Soviet authorities released KGB records that, although they did not contain proof that Wallenberg was dead, appeared to confirm that he had died in 1947, most likely by execution. He was made an honorary U.S. citizen in 1981.

See J. Bierman, Righteous Gentile (1981), K. Marton, Wallenberg: Missing Hero (1982, repr. 1995).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Raoul Wallenberg from Infoplease:

  • This Day in History: January 17 - January 17 Yesterday Tomorrow 1706 Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston. 1806 James Madison ...
  • Richard Chamberlain - Biography of Richard Chamberlain, Star of Shogun and other miniseries
  • V - Z - V - Z Jacobus Van Cortlandt Stephen Van Cortlandt Cornelius Vanderbilt William Henry Vanderbilt Sir ...
  • August 4 Birthdays: Louis Armstrong - August 4 birthdays: Louis Armstrong, Barack Obama, Robert Hayden, Billy Bob Thornton, Roger Clemens, Helen Thomas, Russell Sage, Raoul Wallenberg, Percy Bysshe Shelley

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scandinavian History: Biographies