Raoul Wallenberg’s death remains a mystery to this day. The Swedish diplomat is responsible for saving 100,000 Jewish lives during WWII. Here’s his story.
Wallenberg was born on August 4, 1912, to a prominent well-respected family in Sweden. Following his Swedish military service, Wallenberg studied in Paris and in 1931 he attended the University of Michigan where he received his bachelor degree of Science in Architecture. By 1936, Wallenberg had returned to Hungary and went into business. He was later appointed as a special Swedish envoy in Budapest and his job was to carry out a rescue operation for Jews.
On July 9, 1944, Wallenberg was granted a diplomatic passport and arrived in Budapest. It was there that he used his diplomatic status to issue protective passes and shelter thousands of Jewish families in protected houses. A few months later, on January 17, 1945, 32-year-old Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet troops and disappeared near Budapest. To this day it is unknown if Raoul Wallenberg died in prison in 1947 as declared by Swedish authorities. Over the years various individuals have reported seeing the Swedish hero, but nothing has ever been verified.
On November 26, 1963, Yad Vashem recognized Raoul Wallenberg as Righteous Among the Nations. In 1981, Wallenberg became an honorary citizen of the United States and in 1986, an honorary citizen of Israel. In 2016, 71 years after his disappearance and no trace of his whereabouts, the WWII war hero was declared dead.
“I will never be able to go back to Sweden without knowing inside myself that I’d done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible.” – Raoul Wallenberg