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::: Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre - Human Rights :::
Righteous Among the Nations Profiles
Swedish Diplomat Turned Rescuer

Wallenberg’s career as a Swedish diplomat took him on many trips to Nazi-occupied countries before the war broke out, and he bore witness to the unbearable suffering of the Jews under the regime. As Nazi measures worsened, Wallenberg used his position in the Swedish government to save Jewish lives. In 1944 the Jews of Hungary, the last remaining Jewish community in Nazi-occupied Europe, began to be rounded up for deportation. The Swedish government, having received overwhelming requests for passports from Hungary’s Jews, sent Wallenberg to Budapest on a special task to secure travel documents for them.

Wallenberg fought tirelessly for these protective papers to be recognized by Nazi officials, who would try to declare the papers null and void. Using his cunning and wits, Wallenberg went so far as to pull out Jewish prisoners from a Death March to Austria, insisting they were protected by his Swedish documents.

Wallenberg managed to save the lives of about 10 000 Jews before the end of the war, often risking his life to do so. Among these Jews was Judith Friedmann, who as a young girl was brought with her family to one of Wallenberg’s “safe houses” for Jews in Budapest. Friedmann eventually settled in Montreal.

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