May 25, 2012
Honoring Raoul Wallenberg
By the Voice of America
Wallenbergs actions show a timeless
courage, and continue to exert a powerful and enduring relevance
to the world.
World War II hero, Sweden's envoy to
Nazi-occupied Hungary Raoul Wallenberg. (undated photo)
Raoul Wallenberg could have chosen to live a life
of comfort and safety . . . during World War II, U.S.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said recently in
Stockholm, Sweden on the 100th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg's
birth. Instead, he risked his life to save the lives
of others. Raoul Wallenberg paid dearly for his brave choice,
and his actions speak to the core of our common humanity.
Americans are deeply grateful that Wallenberg said yes
when the United States War Refugee Board approached him
to go to Budapest to save the largest remaining concentration
of Jews in Europe. Amid the many missteps in responding
to the Holocaust, encouraging Wallenberg to go to Hungary
was one that the United States did right.
Wallenbergs actions show a timeless courage, and
continue to exert a powerful and enduring relevance to the
world. His actions embody the best of the democratic values.
They also embody the courage of the individual, of the dissenter,
of the independent moral conscience in a world full of wrongs,
of the hero who sees injustice and takes action.
Wallenberg gave his life for his commitment to those
values, the Deputy Secretary said. Wallenberg
was a son of Sweden . . . [The United States is] honored
to consider him one of our own.
It is worth noting that, while Wallenberg was trained as
an architect, he left no building behind. Instead, Wallenberg
left behind a legacy much more enduring than any physical
structure. Today, the granddaughters and grandsons of those
whom Wallenberg saved are building a better world as doctors
and scientists, mothers and fathers, farmers, teachers,
Raoul Wallenbergs life-giving legacy reminds
us of question[s] that we should all be asking, Deputy
Secretary Burns continued. How do we ensure that every
individual regardless of race or religion
is able to live a life of freedom, a life with dignity and
respect? How do we prevent the sins of history and our past
failures to stop mass killings of civilians from being repeated?
How do we pass on to the next generation a sense of the
importance of not being indifferent?
We remember Raoul Wallenberg, Deputy Secretary
Burns concluded. And we reaffirm . . . the importance
of not being indifferent.