A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary by Tanja Schult

By Tanja Schult

Raoul Wallenberg is broadly remembered for his humanitarian job on behalf of the Hungarian Jews in Budapest on the finish of worldwide conflict II, and often called the Swedish diplomat who disappeared into the Soviet Gulag in 1945. at the present time, Wallenberg’s instance is used to speak humanitarian values and human rights in lots of democratic societies. His tale encompasses a classical hero narrative which has survived the ‘un-heroic’ twentieth century.

In 2008, there exist thirty-one Wallenberg monuments in twelve international locations on 5 continents, from Hungary to Sweden, from Canada to Chile, from Australia to Russia. the wealthy variety of the monuments invitations to debate the several strategies of Wallenberg and heroism as expressed within the artists’ works. The art-historical concentration of this interdisciplinary examine makes it a worthy contribution to the dialogue of private monuments, in addition to to the socio-historical examine at the commemoration of Wallenberg and the idea that of the hero.

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Extra resources for A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments (Holocaust and Its Contexts)

Sample text

The company was run by the Hungarian Jew Kálmán Lauer, who had immigrated to Sweden before World War II broke out. Wallenberg became his employee and later his partner. During the war, Wallenberg traveled to Germany and Hungary, among other places, on business trips for the company. For Lauer, being a Jew, such traveling might have proved a death sentence. It was while working at MEROPA that Wallenberg was chosen for the mission for which posterity remembers him. In June 1944, the Rabbi of Stockholm’s Great Synagogue, Marcus Ehrenpreis, asked Wallenberg’s boss if he knew anyone who would be willing to travel to Hungary to investigate the condition of the Jews in Budapest.

The first official Soviet statement, made in August 1946, said that Wallenberg was unknown in the USSR, and that he probably had died in Budapest. This account was not altered until 1957. In the meantime, former German prisoners returned from the USSR, and testified that Wallenberg had been alive, at least until 1947. The Gromyko Memorandum of 1957, written a short time after the Hungarian uprising ended, stated that Wallenberg had died in Lubianka Prison in Moscow in July 1947, as a result of a myocardial infarction.

These coherences are not immediately comprehensible when looked at superficially; comprehensive descriptions and analyses are important. 69 The analyses of the individual monuments follow the hermeneutic circle that determines the process of interpretation: the whole must be understood from the individual and the individual from the whole. ”70 The meaning of a work shows itself first in all its parts that again are determined by the whole. ”71 While the process of gradual understanding is decisive for the final outcome of the analysis, the reader will not be troubled by all the individual steps taken.

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