Raoul Wallenberg by Ingrid Carlberg

Raoul Wallenberg by Ingrid Carlberg

Author:Ingrid Carlberg
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Quercus
Published: 2016-03-07T16:00:00+00:00

Raoul Wallenberg Square, January 2010

The snow is falling thickly and settling like balls of cotton over Raoul Wallenbergs torg, a square in central Stockholm. Those assembled there are huddled under hoods and thick shawls. It is 10°F and very few are speaking to each other. Someone tries to stamp the snow off or stamp warmth into their frozen feet.

It is Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2010, and the snow is falling so heavily over Stockholm that the photographers have to wrap plastic bags around their lenses. The January-dark water of Nybroviken bay disappears from sight even though we are so close. The stubborn flakes find their way in everywhere.

The square is flanked by tall white banners. These are three-foot-high portraits of the ten Swedes who have received Yad Vashem’s honorary designation “Righteous Among the Nations” because they risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

I count them. Six worked in Budapest: Per Anger, Lars Berg, Ivan Danielsson, Nina Langlet, Valdemar Langlet and Raoul Wallenberg.

“What drove them individually is hard to say. But I think there was a common denominator: when it came down to it, they did not feel that they had a choice. The strength of their empathy made it a necessity,” says Eskil Franck, superintendent at the Forum for Living History, in his introductory speech.

Kate Wacz is listening, standing almost at the front. She has a fur hat and a dark warm coat and her handbag is tightly clenched in her hands. In it she keeps copies of some Swedish protective passports from that dark autumn of war in Budapest. She is seventy-eight years old and one of those who was saved. After coming to Sweden in 1951 she worked mainly in the cosmetics industry.

Afterward, those assembled carry lanterns in different colors and set them on the Raoul Wallenberg monument. Kate Wacz goes up to the introductory speaker, Eskil Franck.

“I have some protective passports in my bag. Can we show them?” she asks.

Eskil Franck tries to blink away the snow in his face.

“I think it will be hard in this weather,” he says and gestures toward the sky.

“But these are copies,” Kate says, dejectedly.

They part. Kate’s brother, Gustav Kadelburger, comes over and takes her arm. He was a messenger boy for Raoul Wallenberg and that was how they came to live in one of the Swedish houses. Kate and Gustav take a couple of steps to the side. Her husband, Niklas, joins them and absentmindedly starts to brush the snow from Kate’s shoulders.

“This is how it was,” she says suddenly.

Niklas keep brushing.

“It was snowing just like this!”

“What do you mean?” Niklas asks.

“This is exactly how it was in Budapest in January 1945.”


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