Raoul WallenbergDisappeared 60 years ago on this date

Mobius of Jewschool reminded me in one of his comments on the Princess Makella of Sweden post, that today was the 60th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance. I decided to take the time and visit the Wallenberg memorial in the courtyard behind the Christ Church Cathedral off of Ste. Catherine street (in Montreal). The memorial sits in this out of the way area, with a beautiful fountain and nice benches and flowers. Tens of thousands of people pass near it every day and yet it remains one of those hidden Montreal jewels, an oasis of calm amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Today was a typically freezing day in Montreal and of course no one was in the courtyard. It was the sort of day that was perhaps much like the day, on January 17, 1944, when Wallenberg disappeared while on his way to the Soviet Military Headquarters of Nazi Liberated Hungary. Between June and January of 1944, using his position as a Swedish diplomat in Hungary, he is said to have saved 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. He did this with great cunning and guile and at great personal risk to himself. It is suspected that he had either been executed by the Communists as a spy, or to have died anonymously much later, in a Soviet prison cell. You can read more about him here. Gone but not forgotten.

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

30 Comments

  • Great post CK. The ‘gone but not forgotten’ link was a very good and concise history of an exceptional human being.

  • According to other sources Wallenberg was last seen on 19 January when Soviet troops arrested him in Budapest.

    19 January is also the official “Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Day” in Sweden. See HERE

    Shada:i
    (Budapest)

  • Oh, and 19 January also means that we will post on Wallenberg tomorrow.

    ps: I happen to live in one of those ‘safe-houses’ in Budapest (Újlipótváros district). There were about 72 houses like that during the Nazi-occupation of Hungary in 1944. They weren’t exactly 100% safe – sometimes Hungarian Nazis (called Nyilasok) would raid some of these houses (spontaneously) and drag the Jewish inhabitants to the River Danube to be killed (the Dabnube is just few blocks away from these houses).

  • So, are there posts in English over at Judapest that can give us some insight into Jewish life in Hungary today? Just so you know, most of my family on one side was Hungarian and virtually nobody survived. My relationship to Hungary now is that I can say igen and nem, have tasted cold sour cherry soup a couple of times.

  • Well, most Jewish food joints in Budapest are not exactly kosher either. ;]

    Judapest is quite new (started on 4 December 2004) so there aren’t many English-language posts yet.

  • T_M: we have a “column” called Untold Stories on JP. It would be amazing if you could share your story!

    I can do translations into Hungarian.

  • Shada:i, my story actually is incredible, although no thanks to me, it’s my grandfather’s and father’s doing for the most part. However, I am still trying to unlock some information about my family and this is an ongoing process. I will try to write something in the near future and will contact you then. Please be patient, CK never lets me out of my cage and only feeds me when I post on Jewlicious.

  • CK,
    Does the Bay still exist across the street or is it also an entertainment centre?

  • Josh: See behind Wallenberg? That dark brown brick? That’s the Bay, and yes, it still exists and functions as a retail store. On an unrelated note, also behind Wallenberg afixed to the wall of the Bay is a plaque put up by the Daughters of the Confederacy. It is the northernmost plaque they have and it commemorates the fact that after the US Civil War, the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davies, was a guest at that spot of some Canadian dude. He eventually returned to the US because, no joke, he’d rather face a trial than endure one more Montreal winter.

  • Uh… no. Target? Bay? WTF? The Bay is Canada’s Oldest Corporation, predating the country itself. It’s commercial activities helped define the country.

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