Speech of the Co-Chair of the Hungarian Caucus in the House of Representatives delivered on April 16, 2012.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg's birth. Raoul Wallenberg continues to be one of the most respected and courageous humanitarians to have sacrificed his life to save thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
Born on August 4, 1912 in Stockholm, Sweden, Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat and a true humanitarian who creatively and courageously came up with measures to protect Hungarian Jews from persecution and death during the German invasion of Hungary during World War II. He hung Swedish flags in front of nearly 30 houses, declaring them Swedish territory--turning these ``Swedish houses'' into protected territory in which Hungarian Jews could seek shelter. He also distributed thousands of Swedish ``protective passes,'' even as some were in the midst of being deported, prompting their release from German authorities and saving their lives.
Posthumously, Mr. Wallenberg has been honored by countries throughout the world in numerous capacities. There are awards, streets, parks and schools named after him, countless memorials erected in his honor, and in 1981, Congress passed legislation to make him an Honorary Citizen of the United States. His life is celebrated annually on October 5th in more than a dozen states. His bravery continues to be an inspiration.
Mr. Speaker and colleagues, please join me in recognizing the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg; may his courage serve as a guide to all of us who are committed to the protection of human rights.