STOCKHOLM (EJP)---A new memorial to Raoul Wallenberg was inaugurated in Stockholm, almost two weeks following the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish diplomat who save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during WWII.
The inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Raoul Wallenberg's sister Nina Lagergren.
The sculpture was designed by artists Ulla and Gustav Kraitz, who also created the Wallenberg monument outside the United Nations in New York.
The memorial consists of a bench made of black diabase with a briefcase of bronze placed diagonally on top. The bench has a text about Raoul Wallenberg engraved on its side.
"It is natural to have a memorial to Raoul Wallenberg just outside the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where he was formally employed," says Olle Wästberg, the Government's coordinator for Raoul Wallenberg Year.
This is the 34th memorial to Raoul Wallenberg.
An Israel-based group has asked the Swedish government to request for Interpol assistance to try to track possible witnesses to the fate of Swedish diplomat.
"We would like the Riksdag to approve the issuing of a yellow notice to find Raoul Wallenberg," said Max Grenberg of the Raoul Wallenberg Honorary Citizen Committee to The Local on Wednesday.
In a letter dated August 2011, Interpol outlined its position to the committee, saying that it would be willing to act on a yellow notice - used for locating missing persons - if the request were to be made by the Swedish government.
Wallenberg was posted to Nazi-occupied Budapest in July 1944 and rescued thousands of Jews by issuing them protective passports in the final months of the Holocaust.
The 32-year-old Wallenberg also acquired buildings to house as many Jews as possible and provide them with extraterritorial status.
Faced with the plight of Jews coming to implore the Swedish embassy for help, Wallenberg "was fired up by the idea of saving lives," Gabriella Kassius, 89, an Hungarian who had worked with him at the time told the Svenska Dagbladet daily.
She described him as daring, inventive and "a frantic activist" and recalled a moment when Wallenberg knocked over his desk shouting "raus!" or "get out" in German when two Nazis paid him a visit to check on the Swedish delegation.
"The two SS officers scuttled off and didn't even pick up their caps on the way out," Kassius said.
Wallenberg was honoured with a Righteous Among the Nations award in 1963 after Israel created it to reward those who saved Jews during World War II.
He died under mysterious circumstances, after being last seen alive surrounded by Soviet officers in Budapest on January 17, 1945.
In 1957, the Soviet Union released a document saying Wallenberg had been imprisoned in the Lubyanka, the notorious building where the KGB security services were headquartered, and that he died of heart failure on July 17, 1947.
But sceptics have questioned that version, with some saying he was executed. In 2000 the head of a Russian commission of investigation said Wallenberg was killed in the Lubyanka.