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October 09, 1981 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-10-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, October 9, 1981 1

Reagan Confers Honorary Citizenship on Raoul Wallenberg



WASHINGTON (JTA) —
President Reagan said
Monday that Raoul Wal-
lenberg, the Swedish dip-
lomat who is credited with
saving the lives of 100,000
Hungarian Jews in World
War II, may still be held in a
Soviet prison. (See book re-
view, Page 64). The Presi-
dent made these remarks as
he conferred honorary citi-
zenship on Wallenberg, the
second person ever granted
this honor. The first was Sir
Winston Churchill.
Like Churchill, the war-
time British prime minis-
ter, Wallenberg exemplified
compassion, Reagan said at
a White House ceremony at-
tended by the missing dip-
lomat's brother and sister.
He said the U.S. had asked
Sweden in 1944 to cooperate
in protecting Hungarian
Jews who faced extermina-
tion at the hands of Nazis.
"The United States
supplied the funds and di-
rectives, and Raoul Wallen-
berg supplied the courage
and the passion," Reagan
said.
The President said that
Wallenberg's seizure by
Soviet troops in 1945 at
the end of the war was "in
violation of diplomatic
immunity and interna-
tional law." He was refer-
ring to the fact that the
Swedish government
gave Wallenberg dip-
lomatic status in 1944 and
assigned him to Budapest
where he issued Swedish
passports and pressed
Hungarian authorities to
improve the treatment of
Jews and Roman
Catholics.
Sponsors of the measure
to make Wallenberg an
honorary U.S. citizen said it
would strengthen the U.S.
hand in seeking informa-
tion about Wallenberg's
Condition and demanding
his release if he is found to
alive. Soviet officials claim
that he died in prison in
1947, but there have been
repeated accounts from
former Soviet prisoners that
he is still alive. If so, he
would be 69 years old.
Sweden still lists Wallen-
berg as missing and rejects
the Soviet account that he
died of heart failure and the
Soviet contention that he
was detained, as a suspected
spy, as a result of the exces-
ses of the Stalin era.
Reagan's action followed
a joint resolution passed by
both houses of Congress last
month-which called on the
President "to take all possi-
ble steps to ascertain from
the Soviet Union the
whereabouts of Raoul Wal-
lenberg and to secure his re-
turn to freedom." The resol-
ution described Wallenberg
as "a prisoner in the Soviet
Union since 1945."
At a reception Monday
night, sponsored by the
Anti-Defamation League
of Bnai Brith, former
Vice President Walter
Mondale said that
Americans had not acted
as Americans should

have
during
the
Holocaust. He said that if
they had acted as did
Wallenberg, they could
have saved hundreds of

thousands of lives and
perhaps millions.
Two days of ceremonies in
honor of Wallenberg ended
Tuesday night when mem-

bers of the Jewish Commun-
ity Council of Greater
Washington and the Luthe-
ran Place Memorial Church
held a candlelight ceremony

across the street from the
Soviet Embassy.
This afternoon, Wallen-
berg's brother and half-
sister are scheduled to be

present at the District of
Columbia building when
Mayor Marion Barry de-
clares today as Wallenberg
Day in Washington.

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