Ottawa, January 17, 2013 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement to commemorate Raoul Wallenberg Day:
“Each year on this day, Canadians pay tribute to one of the greatest heroes in history. At great personal risk, and with remarkable ingenuity and courage, Raoul Wallenberg helped rescue over 100,000 Hungarian Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis and their allies. During the Holocaust, Raoul Wallenberg saved more Jews than any other single organization or government.
“Raoul Wallenberg was a prominent non-Jewish Swedish businessman who was posted as a diplomat to Budapest, Hungary, during the Second World War. On January 17, 1945, Soviet forces captured Raoul Wallenberg as the Red Army marched through Hungary. To this day, his fate remains unknown.
“In recognition of his heroic achievements, Raoul Wallenberg became Canada’s first honorary citizen in 1985. In 2001, Parliament declared January 17 Raoul Wallenberg Day.
“This past autumn, I had the honour to meet members of Mr. Wallenberg’s family at Canada’s embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, for the official naming of the ‘Raoul Wallenberg Room.’ That same month, I paid respects to Mr. Wallenberg and his heroic actions at the official memorials in Sweden and Hungary.
“Today, Canada Post will issue a commemorative stamp to recognize Mr. Wallenberg’s exceptional courage. Also, this year Ottawa and Toronto are hosting the exhibit “To Me there’s no Other Choice,” which presents Raoul Wallenberg’s role in saving Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
“As we pay tribute to this brave hero, we remember the unique horror of the Holocaust and rededicate ourselves to combating anti-Semitism, racism and all other forms of discrimination.
“The Government of Canada is committed to preserving Raoul Wallenberg’s legacy of self-sacrifice and to continuing our proactive role in the international fight against anti-Semitism.
“This year, beginning in March, Canada will chair the Swedish-founded International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance under the leadership of Dr. Mario Silva, a former Member of Parliament.
“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I encourage all Canadians to help combat anti-Semitism, learn more about Raoul Wallenberg, and be inspired by his heroism and selfless spirit.”