President Obama and the American Jewish Community

Remembering and Honoring Courage: Raoul Wallenberg Receives the Congressional Gold Medal

On July 26th 2012 President Obama signed into law a Bill bestowing the Congressional Gold Medal upon Raoul Wallenberg.  Mr. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who, while living in Nazi-occupied Hungary, devoted himself to saving the lives Jews suffering at the hands of the Nazi regime. He, along with others, successfully protected as many as 100,000 Jews in Budapest during the Holocaust.  As we celebrate Raoul Wallenberg’s upcoming centennial on August 4th we reflect on the heroic life of Mr. Wallenberg and commemorate his selfless dedication to human rights. This spring, the President recorded a video message marking the 100th Anniversary of Wallenberg’s birth.  In a blog post accompanying the video United States Ambassador to Sweden, Mark F. Brzezinski, remarked:

In 2012, Sweden is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, a diplomat who chose not to be indifferent and to rise to a higher moral calling. We remember and revere this courageous man whose efforts saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.  Wallenberg paid with his life for his commitment to basic values. And we all have the obligation to ponder the full measure of Wallenberg’s personal sacrifice and tragedy.

Jarrod Bernstein is the Director of Jewish Outreach in the Office of Public Engagement.


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