Raoul Wallenberg was instrumental in saving the lives of over 100,000 Jews in Budapest, Hungary, during the Holocaust. Wallenberg was sent to Budapest by the Swedish and U.S. governments to help protect Jews from deportation after the German invasion of March 19, 1944. When Wallenberg arrived in July 1944, 400,000 Jews had already been deported from Budapest to Auschwitz. He immediately began issuing Swedish protective passes to Jews and setting up “Swedish houses” that were hiding places for those in danger of deportation. Wallenberg was known for his undiplomatic attitude and the extreme measures he used to protect the Jews. When the Soviet Army liberated Budapest in February 1945, they took Wallenberg away. He was never seen again. To this day, his death is a bit of a mystery, but the Soviets claimed he died on July 17, 1947, in prison. Whether he was executed or died of natural causes has never been definitively known.
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Agnes Mandl Adachi-Describes rescue activity on the banks of the Danube River and the role of Raoul Wallenberg
“Budapest is uh, two cities, and in the middle is the so-called Blue Danube, for me it is the Red Danube, but that's what it was, and they took people down there, the Hungarian Nazis, and they roped three people together, and they shot the middle one, so they all fell in. And if they saw a movement, they shot again so they'd be sure. But many people by themselves somehow got out. But it was a terribly cold winter, as I said, and the Danube was frozen with big slabs of ice. So Raoul came home the third night, and there was no moonlight, no stars, just cold and dark. And he turned to us the first time, usually he only talked to the men and the Red Cross, and "How many of you can swim?" I have a big mouth, I put up my hand, I said, "Best swimmer in school." He says, "Let's go." And as you saw me coming in like a teddy bear, that's how I was dressed, and a hat and a glove. And we went down on the other side, the Hungarians didn't even hear us coming because they were so busy roping and shooting, and we stood on the left, way over, we had doctors and nurses in the cars and then we had people outside to pull us out. Four of us, three men and me, we jumped and thanks to the icicles, the ropes hang on to it, and we saved people out, but only fifty, and then we were so frozen that we couldn't do it anymore. But without Raoul Wallenberg, we wouldn't have saved even one single person.”
Source: US Holocaust Memorial Museum; http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_oi.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005211&MediaId=1077