“Each year on this date, Canadians pay tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century.
“Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat sent to Budapest, Hungary, during the Second World War. At great personal risk, he helped rescue tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis and their like-minded allies.
“In honouring Wallenberg’s courageous and heroic efforts, Canadians also remember one of the darkest periods of human history. The Holocaust stands alone in history for its depravity and inhumanity. Fortunately, amidst this darkness, there were shining beacons of light in individuals such as Raoul Wallenberg.
“On January 17, 1945, Soviet forces captured Wallenberg as they pushed the Nazis out of Hungary. To this day, his fate remains unknown. In recognition of his heroic achievements, Raoul Wallenberg became Canada’s very first honorary citizen and Parliament declared January 17 as Raoul Wallenberg Day.
“As the Minister for Multiculturalism, I encourage all Canadians to reflect on Raoul Wallenberg’s legacy. It is my sincere hope that all Canadians will be inspired by his selfless spirit and heroism, and that each one of us will act resolutely in the face of intolerance and prejudice.”