What is the relevance of Raoul Wallenberg’s story today?
Raoul Wallenberg's story is one of solidarity and empathy. As such, it is timeless.
He could have pursued a relatively comfortable life with a bright future. Instead, he plunged himself into wartime Hungary and devoted himself to reach-out to the victims of the Nazi persecution and extermination machine.
What lessons can we extract from Raoul Wallenberg’s life? How can those lessons be applied to our daily lives, and much more broadly, current problems facing humanity?
Raoul Wallenberg has taught us that one person can make a difference. Armed with imagination and courage, he managed to set-up an unprecedented rescue operation and in only six months he succeeded in saving scores of innocent lives.
His most important lesson is that love and solidarity transcend the boundaries of religion, creed, race and nationality and are powerful weapons that can prevail in the struggle against evil forces.
These are sublime values which he passed on us and we, at the Wallenberg Foundation, try to instill them in the hearts and minds of the young generation.
How would you sum up Wallenberg’s legacy if given one line?
Raoul Wallenberg has left a legacy of civic courage, a driving force that fought not only against evil but also against indifference.
Why is it necessary to increase public awareness of Raoul Wallenberg? What is the importance of his legacy in the context of contemporary mass atrocity prevention?
Increasing public awareness to Raoul Wallenberg is imperative for two reasons. He was a great hero and he should serve as role model for the young people who crave to follow the example of such a figure. In addition, he was a victim who can still be considered a disappeared one, and as such, we owe him our unwavering commitment to get him back home. As you know, he was abducted by the Soviets, back on January 17, 1945, together with his chauffer, Vilmos Langfelder, and even today, his fate and whereabouts are shrouded in mystery.
His legacy is very much relevant nowadays, as the peril of mass atrocities has not disappeared from the world. Raoul Wallenberg is a beacon of light who should guide the free world in its struggle against racism and all forms of prejudice.
Wallenberg put his own life in danger in order save the lives of people he did not know – what do you think motivated him?
Raoul Wallenberg followed the dictates of his own conscience. In theory, as a man of free will, he had many options, but in reality, he had no other option to act the way he did, because of his "moral DNA". This is something to all the rescuers we have researched.
Q & A with...
How can Raoul Wallenberg’s story be used to engage today’s youth on issues of humanitarianism and compassion?
As I said before, young people crave to follow role models. Regrettably, there is a sense of shallowness in a world in which "Reality Shows" have taken over. However, I believe that proper educational programs, like the ones we have in place, are wonderful tools to teach Raoul's legacy and show the youth that there are values which are priceless.