A humanitarian hero of the Holocaust will be paid homage on a new U.S. stamp next year.
Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II, will receive this philatelic tribute for vividly demonstrating that one person can make a difference.Although he was not of the Jewish faith, Wallenberg risked his life to help tens of thousands of people he did not know.
Born Aug. 4, 1912, an heir to a prominent Swedish banking family, Wallenberg studied architecture at the University of Michigan in the 1930s. In 1944, he was appointed a Swedish special diplomatic envoy to Hungary. There he proceeded to save the oppressed Jews from Nazi death camps, primarily by issuing them falsified Swedish passports.
Once he was reported to have boldly threatened a Nazi general. The action prevented the bombing of a Jewish ghetto.
Wallenberg disappeared while on a trip to the Soviet zone and was rumored to have been arrested there. According to documents released in 1991, he died in a Soviet prison July 17, 1947.
In 1981, a special Act of Congress made Wallenberg an honorary American citizen, a distinction awarded to only one other person, Sir Winston Churchill.
The upcoming 32-cent commemorative will feature a profile portrait of Wallenberg against a background of Holocaust survivors looking over his shoulder. A "Schutzpass," the false passport he often issued, is in the upper left corner. Along the right border vertically is the word "humanitarian."
- Syd Kronish