Hungary Launches Wallenberg Memorial Year

Published January 17, 2012 4:00PM (EST)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Government ministers from Hungary, Sweden and Israel are launching the Raoul Wallenberg Year, commemorating the centennial of the birth of the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.

As a Swedish envoy in Budapest from July 1944, Wallenberg gave Jews Swedish travel documents and set up safe houses for them. He also is credited with dissuading German officers from massacring the 70,000 inhabitants of the city's ghetto.

He was arrested by Soviet forces in January 1945, and his fate remains unconfirmed.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, as well as Israeli Cabinet member Yossi Peled were to speak at Tuesday's inaugural event at the National Museum in Budapest.

By Salon Staff

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