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Introduction to Ceremony in Honour of Raoul Wallenberg by the Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Jan Eliasson
Introductory Remarks at the Ceremony in Honour of Raoul Wallenberg by the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh
Speech at the Ceremony by Ambassador Per Anger
Speech at the Ceremony by Dr. Kati Marton

Introductory Remarks at the Ceremony in Honour of Raoul Wallenberg by the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh
Lindh, Anna

Introductory Remarks at the Ceremony in Honour of Raoul Wallenberg

We have gathered here today to honour Raoul Wallenberg.
Many books and articles have been written, and many movies and TV programmes have been produced about the work of Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest. We know that he - together with his own loyal staff and with brave colleagues from several countries - saved the lives of tens of thousands of people. We know that, by his involvement in the efforts to stop the destruction of the ghetto in Budapest, Wallenberg helped saving maybe another 60 000 people. And we know that he became one of the outside world's witnesses - the eyes and ears of the international community - at a time of horrific human degradation.

It is now almost exactly 55 years since Raoul Wallenberg disappeared in Budapest. What does Raoul Wallenberg tell us about our own responsiblity when facing the forces of evil?

First, Raoul Wallenberg showed, together with his friends and colleagues in Budapest, that one individual - through compassion, determination and conviction - can make a difference. He showed that we do not always need to be well prepared to do what is right.

Secondly, Raoul Wallenberg showed that action is not only possible, but necessary, in the struggle against evil. He was well aware of the dangers of delay, that there was no room for hesitation. With his daring rescue operations he showed the importance of arriving in time and acting decisively to defend life and human dignity.

Thirdly, Raoul Wallenberg reminds us of the moral responsiblity of each individual. He and his co-workers never doubted what was required of them during those weeks in Budapest. The individual has to have an unfailing moral compass.

Sadly, we still lack a full account of Raoul Wallenberg's fate after his disappearance in Budapest 1945. We had strong expectations that a new and open Russia would help us establish the truth. We have indeed had a constructive co-operation with the Russian authorities within the Swedish-Russian Working Group on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, which was set up in 1991. The Working Group has systematically been examining documents and collecting evidence. We know that he was brought to Moscow, and we have been able to gain considerable information about his first two years in Soviet custody. What we still do not know, however, is the full truth of what happened to him later.

Looking back at more than half a century of Swedish investigations on Raoul Wallenberg's fate it must be acknowledged that in the early stages not everything was done that could and should have been done. Mistakes were made that may have had unfortunate consequences. These issues, are also being studied by the Working Group, whose report can be expected towards the end of this year.

The legacy of Raoul Wallenberg truly lives on. In Hungary he saw the forces of evil in the eye, but he never gave up, and never stopped taking action. He and others in similar situations, like Count Folke Bernadotte, knew what they had to do. Their determination, compassion and moral convictions will live on as examples of lasting truths and values – which must guide all of us today, as well as future generations. To a certain point you can make compromises and follow the regular decision-making process. But at a certain point you have to trust your conscience.

Conclusions from this can be drawn also in a wider perspective. Just as the central aspect of Raoul Wallenberg's efforts was the focus on human life, on each human being, international relations should always be regarded in a human perspective. Nations should not be seen as pawns on a geopolitical chessboard but as societies consisting of individuals – each and everyone with a right to political and religious freedom, to economic and social justice and a life in dignity for all.

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Opening Session: Messages and speeches

Plenary Sessions: Messages and speeches

Workshops, Panels and Seminars

Closing Session and Declaration

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