A Fond Remembrance of My Friend
Nina Lagergren: the Loyal and Devoted Sister of my Hero, Raoul Wallenberg
On April 5th at the age of 98, my dear friend Nina Lagergren quietly and gently “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and went on to eternity with the same grace and dignity that she showed throughout her life. Nina and I were brought together 40 years ago in the same cause - namely to try and solve the mystery of what had happened to one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century - Raoul Wallenberg. Nina was Raoul’s devoted sister and I was one of the thousands of Hungarian Jews whose lives he had saved. In so many ways our lives could not have been more different, but
our shared love for Raoul and the decency and courage that he embodied made us more than friends - it made us sisters.
Nina had a full and meaningful life in every sense of the word. She was married for over half a century to Judge Gunnar Lagergren and they raised 4 wonderful children and were exceptional grandparents to their many grandchildren. Nina made sure that the next generation of the family was imbued with Raoul’s sense of duty to be his brothers’ keeper and one of her grandchildren, Michael Wernstedt, carries on the family legacy through the work of the Raoul Wallenberg Differencemakers.
Tom and Annette Lantos join Nina Lagergren on stage during the Raoul Wallenberg bust dedication in Washington, DC. November, 1995. Tom and Annette Lantos organize a rally to commemorate Roul’s 75th Birthday in Washington, DC. August, 1987.
Although our shared and individual efforts to find out the full truth about what happened to Raoul Wallenberg never yielded the hoped for liberation in this life, Nina’s lifelong work to tell her brother’s story has ensured Raoul’s immortality and his deserved and imperishable renown. My faith assures me that the reunion that she so longed for has now taken place, and I hope she will share with Raoul the infinite gratitude of those of us who he saved.