International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Commends Returning of Knight's Cross

Letter sent to The Guardian by Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian and Mr. Baruch Tenembaum, Chairman and Founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.



Ref.: "Daughter of US Congressman among those returning Hungarian award" - The Guardian - Sept., 4, 2016

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation strongly repudiates the decision to award the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit to Mr. Zsolt Bayer, a so-called journalist and author who advanced heinous racist remarks against Roma, Jewish and Muslims.

One of the co-founders of our NGO was the late US Congressman and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Tom Lantos. We were not surprised by his daughter's decision to return the aforementioned Hungary award following the ill-judged decision to offer the same distinction to a racist. We applaud her and all the other laureates who decided to take the same step in protest.

We call upon President Janos Ader and Prime Minister Viktor Orban to recall the award to Mr. Bayer.

Hungary was a country plagued with antisemitism during WWII. The infamous Arrow Cross Militia were Hitler's henchmen and oftentimes, they were more vicious than the Nazis themselves.

It was precisely in Hungary, where Raoul Wallenberg, the young Swede,  embarked in an unprecedented life-saving operation which actually spared the lives of scores of Jews and other innocent victims of the Nazis and their Hungarian partners.

Any form of racism and discrimination should not be rewarded but strongly condemned. Instead, it seems that seven decades later, the present Hungarian government has learned very little from Raoul Wallenberg's legacy. This should be immediately rectified and addressed.

Our current flagship programme, named "Houses of Life", identifies and marks physical sites in Europe that served as shelters during the Holocaust for the benefit of the victims of the Nazi persecution. Hundreds of Houses of Life have been located across Europe, including in Hungary.  The underlying idea is to spread around the brave exploits of the rescuers, instilling their values of solidarity in the hearts and minds of the young generations.

This could serve as an example for the Hungarian government to stress the legacy of the Hungarian rescuers rather than granting awards to those who propagate hatred and divide.

Eduardo Eurnekian – Chairman

Baruch Tenembaum – Founder


The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

34 East 67th Street

New York, NY 10065


Tel: +1-212-7373275

Lantos Foundation Calls on Russia to Release all New Documents on Raoul Wallenberg

August 4, 2016 would have been the 94th birthday of the great Swedish diplomat and hero, Raoul Wallenberg. A few days after this anniversary, the New York Times reported that the recently published diaries of the first KGB Chief, Ivan Serov, contain previously unknown references to Stalin ordering the death of Wallenberg in 1947. (Read the New York Times article here.)

The famed humanitarian was kidnapped by the Soviets in Budapest in January of 1945. Wallenberg’s disappearance and ultimate fate in the Soviet Gulag has been the source of mystery, speculation, and frequent dissimulation on the part of Russian leadership for over seven decades.

The Lantos Foundation calls on the Russian government, once and for all, to make all relevant documents available to researchers, Wallenberg family members, and the Swedish government so that the mystery surrounding the cruel and unjust fate of one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century can finally be resolved.

Lantos Foundation President, Katrina Lantos Swett, said, “It is past time for Russia to come clean on all the circumstances surrounding the death of Raoul Wallenberg in Soviet custody. Both history and justice demand a full accounting of what happened to one of the most important rescuers and heroes of the Holocaust."

She added that, “The Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative (RWI-70), launched in the past year with the goal of answering the many unanswered questions about Raoul’s fate, should be given full and free access to these recently discovered materials and all other relevant documents.”

Raoul Wallenberg is credited with saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives in Budapest in 1944, including the late Congressman Tom Lantos. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan signed into law Congressman Lantos’ legislation granting Raoul Wallenberg honorary US citizenship, only the second man so honored in US history.

Dr. Lantos Swett added, “While many questions remain about what happened to Raoul Wallenberg, what is beyond question is that through his courage and decency, Wallenberg not only rescued countless innocent lives, he also rescued our faith in the power of decency and goodness to stand up even in the face of unimaginable evil. His legacy of humanity and courage will live forever.”

Statement on President Obama Questioning President Putin on the Fate of Holocaust Hero, Raoul Wallenberg

The Wallenberg Family’s announcement that President Obama has agreed to raise the question of Raoul Wallenberg’s fate with Russian President Putin is welcome news to the Lantos Family and to the untold thousands who were rescued due to his heroism during World War II. Without Wallenberg’s extraordinary efforts, neither of my parents would have survived the Holocaust. They both dedicated their lives to seeking his freedom from the Russian gulag and, subsequently, to honoring Raoul’s memory and emulating his commitment to human rights. In fact, my mother, Mrs. Annette Lantos first brought up Wallenberg’s fate with another American President, Jimmy Carter, during a public radio call-in show in the 1970s. My father’s first act as a newly elected member of Congress was to introduce legislation which made Raoul Wallenberg an honorary American citizen - only the second individual so honored in our nation’s history. Today the Lantos Foundation continues their commitment to this remarkable humanitarian and diplomat by working to preserve Raoul Wallenberg’s memory and his rightful place in history as one of the greatest heroes of the Holocaust.

We are gratified by this news that the US government is going to reengage on Wallenberg’s fate after he disappeared in the Russian Gulag in 1945. The Wallenberg family richly deserves the answers they have been waiting nearly 70 years to hear.

Dedication ceremony of the Raoul Wallenberg "safe house" in Budapest Hungary

Mrs. Annette Lantos, wife of the late Congressman Lantos and Chairman of the Lantos Foundation, will travel to Budapest, Hungary next week to participate in a day-long event honoring her husband's service and commitment to Eastern-Central Europe and global human rights issues. The event will include a dedication ceremony for a plaque that will be placed at the Raoul Wallenberg "safe house" where Tom Lantos found refuge after escaping twice from Nazi slave labor camps. Mrs. Lantos will speak at the dedication, which will be followed by an afternoon symposium dealing with human rights and Hungarian/American relations, among other topics.

The participants include a distinguished roster of guests, including NATO Ambassador Kurt Volker, author Kati Marton, Professor Charles Gati, and Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.

The day will conclude with a dinner at the American Embassy.