Thursday, March 7, 2013

His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg

His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg:  Courage, Rescue, and Mystery During World War II by Louise Borden is written in free verse and contains many photographs which bring life to the text.  It begins with his birth in 1912 and continues until January 1945 when Wallenberg and his driver were arrested by the Soviets under orders of Stalin.  What happened and is related between 1912 and 1945 is a remarkable story.  In fact, it was so remarkable that the book was the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Wallenberg, who went to college in the United States, spent his first few years after college traveling the world.  He was a citizen of the world and wanted to make an impact.  He became a diplomat in Hungary from Sweden in July 1944.  At that time, the Hungarian Jews remained in the country, suffering but not yet sent to the death camps.  That was about to change and Wallenberg needed a creative way to save Hungarian Jews.  He decided to make a fake passport called a Schutz-Pass.  This Swedish passport stated the holder was planning on traveling to Sweden and until then was under Swedish protection.  It was printed on an official template and the Nazi's recognized it.  Even after a  last-ditch effort by Hungarian Nazi 's to deport the Jews, many were saved because they had a slip of paper signed and delivered by Raoul Wallenberg.  For this he was declared a Righteous Among Nations.

Here is an interview with the author on Randomly Reading's blog.