Swedish Humanitarian Honored

Nina Lagergren

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Speaker John Boehner and congressional leaders

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Medal awarded to Wallenberg

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Raoul Wallenberg receives Congressional Gold Medal

House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders honored the late Swedish humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg with a Congressional Gold Medal.

Wallenberg served as a diplomat in Hungary during World War II, where he successfully rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazis by issuing them protective passports and sheltering them in buildings designated as Swedish territory.

He was detained by Soviet authorities in 1945 and disappeared. He is presumed to have died in Moscow.

One of the Jews he saved was the late Rep. Tom Lantos of California, who was born in Budapest and, during the war, hid in a safe house established by Wallenberg. In 1991, Lantos sponsored a bill that made Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States.

During the Gold Medal Ceremony, held in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building, Speaker Boehner noted of Wallenberg: “His deeds may be beyond our capacity but his lessons are not.”

Wallenberg’s sister, Nina Lagergren, accepted the medal on her brother’s behalf. She thanked the lawmakers, saying “everyone has shown so much love to Raoul.”