Raoul Wallenberg

P1030507This statue can be found off the beaten track in London.  It pays tribute to a remarkable man.  To find it, you have to head northwards just where Oxford Street meets Marble Arch. If you go up Great Cumberland Street you can find this sculpture.  There are no dates on it because the date of death of Raoul Wallenberg remains a mystery.

Raoul Wallenberg was born in 1912.  He was Swedish but worked in Hungary for a Jewish Hungarian.  He had worked briefly in Palestine after graduating. This is where he came into contact with Jewish refugees and heard about the Nazi atrocities.  In Budapest, he used the diplomatic status granted by Swedish and US authorities to issue protective passports known as the Schutzpass to Hungarian Jews.  It is estimated that he saved the lives of up to 100,000 people.

He survived the Nazi threat but was arrested by the Soviets in 1945.  They accused him of being an American spy.   His death remains mysterious although Soviet authorities claim that he dies of a heart attack in July 1947.  There is little doubt that he was in Soviet custody when he died.

P1030510

This bronze statue by Philip Jackson is life sized and was unveiled by the Queen in the late 90s.  The back is an image of bundles of paper.  These are the protective passports (Schutzpass).

P1030508Public art that commemorates great men such as Raoul Wallenberg is in my hinterland.  What’s in yours?

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