Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Budapest, is credited with saving as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews from being killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II during the summer of 1944. He devised a plan to issue Swedish “protective passports” and establish safe houses in buildings throughout Budapest.
On January 17, 1945, Wallenberg was detained by the Soviet Union during the Siege of Budapest. He was later reported to have died on July 17, 1947, while imprisoned in the Lubyanka, a KGB headquarters and prison in Moscow, Russia.
On the date of his 100th birthday, the corner of 13th Avenue and 50th Street was renamed “Rauol Wallenberg Way” in his honor. Borough Park is home to the largest concentration of Holocaust survivors in the United States.
“There are literally thousands in Borough Park who trace their lineage to someone saved by Raoul Wallenberg, and many of us would not be here today without Raoul Wallenberg,” said Councilman David Greenfield.
Greenfield also spoke about how it was fitting the sign was unveiled on the first night of Chanukah.
“In essence, this is what Chanukah is all about, a handful of people refusing to stand by and instead standing up to end the religious persecution nearly 2,200 years ago,” he said. “But only 68 years ago. Rauol Wallenberg made the ultimate sacrifice for doing the right thing.”
One individual who was personally affected by Wallenberg was Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, which spearheaded the creation of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission.
Friedlander's grandmother, the late Liska Rebbe, was one of those saved by Wallenberg.