Hungarian Jews and the Wallenberg Legacy

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Wallenberg’s fate remains a mystery but his heroic actions in 1944-1945 will be long remembered through the many lives he saved. Photo credit, Swedish government photograph.

Visitors in Budapest staying at the highly-rated and luxurious Hilton Westend Hotel can exit into Budapest’s largest shopping mall with over four hundred stores selling top quality products. Andrassy Avenue, Budapest’s most exclusive retail real estate boulevard is minutes from the Hilton. Wealthy citizens and tourists shop, oblivious to the prejudice that surrounds them.

Raoul Wallenberg would not recognize parts of postmodern Budapest, but he would catch the subtle anti-Semitic attitudes and looks. A city that looks to the West for inspiration and economy does not necessarily shed its past easily. Of all the magnificent structures that line the beautiful blue Danube and the grand boulevards of Budapest, it is the Terror House Museum that bears witness to the days when Wallenberg refused to allow evil to go unchallenged.


Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. (1968). New York: Viking Press.

Linnea, Sharon. Raoul Wallenberg: The Man Who Stopped Death. (1993) Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.

Verseck, Keno. Growing Anti-Semitism: World Jewish Congress Takes on Hungary. (May 2, 2013). Spiegel Online International. Accessed May 10, 2013.

Verseck, Keno. Anti-Semitism in Parliament: Hungary’s Far-Right Rhetoric Reaches New Dimension. (November 28, 2012). Spiegel Online International. Accessed May 10, 2013.

© Copyright 2013 Michael Streich, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Past

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