09th September 2012

Speech of President Áder János at the Wallenberg Memorial Evening at Dohány street synagogue

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are people, who - although we are not acquainted personally – we still feel close to. People, who we feel, would be good to talk with, to exchange ideas with, to think together about something and to act together. Or even to invite them for a cup of tea and simply listen to the silence together.

We, who are gathered here today probably all feel like the same about this kind, bright-eyed, intelligent, courageous and resolute young man, who looks at us from old photos yellowed with time.

He is Raoul Wallenberg.

Had the Lord granted him a long life, we could also be celebrating him, as we did with the widow of Miklós Radnóti and Fanni Gyarmati, who is also celebrating a round anniversary.

Wallenberg was also born 100 years ago, as the son of a successful and prestigious family in Stockholm. Despite the very good family background, a serious tragedy overshadowed the birth of little Raoul. His father passed away a few weeks before he was born, so he never got to know him, just as those born after the war couldn’t meet him.

He died in a Soviet prison. According to assumptions on 16th July 1947. It’s been 65 years since.

Who knows, how many of the murderers of this man - who saved so many people from certain death – how many of his faceless executioners are there, who are still living among us today? We will never know the answer. Just as 65 years ago, they deprived us forever of the opportunity to be able to ever say “good evening Mr Wallenberg, welcome among us”.

Nor would we ever find out what he would say, if he were among us now. Would he be happy that we are celebrating him? Wold he ask us not to look on him as a hero, because he never wanted to become one? Because he only wanted to be a man, who always did what he considered to be his elementary obligation.

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