Wallenberg

Wallenberg

Wallenberg, Raoul 1912-47, Swedish diplomat and businessman. In 1944, he was assigned to Sweden's legation in Budapest, where he helped save approximately 100,000 Hungarian Jews from Nazi extermination. He issued Swedish passports to approximately 20,000 Jews and sheltered others in houses he bought or rented. Adolf Eichmann, heading the transport of Jews to concentration camps, demanded that Wallenberg stop these activities and ordered his assassination, but the attempt failed. In 1945, the Soviets, who had just entered Budapest, imprisoned him, possibly because of work he was doing for the U.S. secret service. In 1957 the Soviet government announced that he had died in prison of a heart attack in 1947, but he was reported seen at later dates. In 1991 Soviet authorities released KGB records that, although they did not contain proof that Wallenberg was dead, appeared to confirm that he had died in 1947, most likely by execution. He was made an honorary U.S. citizen in 1981.

See J. Bierman, Righteous Gentile (1981), K. Marton, Wallenberg: Missing Hero (1982, repr. 1995).

(born Aug. 4, 1912, Stockholm, Swed.—died July 17, 1947?, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.) Swedish businessman and humanitarian. The scion of a family of bankers, industrialists, and diplomats, in 1936 he became the foreign representative of a Hungarian trading company whose president was Jewish. When the Nazis sent troops to round up Jews in Hungary (1944), Wallenberg asked to be sent to Budapest as a diplomat. There he rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews by sheltering them in “protected houses” under the Swedish flag or securing their passage out of Hungary through bribes or counterfeit documents. Soon after Soviet troops occupied Budapest (1945), he was arrested on suspicion of espionage. He was sent to Moscow, where he allegedly died of a heart attack in prison in 1947. Unconfirmed reports from freed Soviet prisoners reported him alive in 1951, 1959, and 1975.

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(born Aug. 4, 1912, Stockholm, Swed.—died July 17, 1947?, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.) Swedish businessman and humanitarian. The scion of a family of bankers, industrialists, and diplomats, in 1936 he became the foreign representative of a Hungarian trading company whose president was Jewish. When the Nazis sent troops to round up Jews in Hungary (1944), Wallenberg asked to be sent to Budapest as a diplomat. There he rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews by sheltering them in “protected houses” under the Swedish flag or securing their passage out of Hungary through bribes or counterfeit documents. Soon after Soviet troops occupied Budapest (1945), he was arrested on suspicion of espionage. He was sent to Moscow, where he allegedly died of a heart attack in prison in 1947. Unconfirmed reports from freed Soviet prisoners reported him alive in 1951, 1959, and 1975.

Learn more about Wallenberg, Raoul with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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