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Washington - Senate Joins House With Unanimous Approval of Wallenberg Medal

Published on: July 12, 2012 12:20 PM
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In conjunction with the passing of the bill, RWCCC hosted a congressional luncheon held on Capitol Hill yesterday, honoring several individuals including Andrew Stevens, (pictured center) a Holocaust survivor who aided Wallenberg in his rescue efforts and marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Claims Conference which negotiated compensation to Nazi victims and their heirs. Also in photo:Abe Biderman, , Ben Hoffman, The Honorable Charles Freeman,  Jonathan Zalisky, Ken Abramowitz, Leon Goldenberg, Stanley Treitel, Sidney Greenberger, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Senator Orrin Hatch, Peter Rebenwurzel, Ezra Friedlander, David Moskovits, Andrew Friedman, Esq., Michael Birenbaum – historian, The Honorable Emil Fish, Roman Kent – Treasurer, Claims Conference, Julius Berman – Chairman, Claims  photo Credit: Shmuel LenchevskyIn conjunction with the passing of the bill, RWCCC hosted a congressional luncheon held on Capitol Hill yesterday, honoring several individuals including Andrew Stevens, (pictured center) a Holocaust survivor who aided Wallenberg in his rescue efforts and marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Claims Conference which negotiated compensation to Nazi victims and their heirs. Also in photo:Abe Biderman, , Ben Hoffman, The Honorable Charles Freeman,  Jonathan Zalisky, Ken Abramowitz, Leon Goldenberg, Stanley Treitel, Sidney Greenberger, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Senator Orrin Hatch, Peter Rebenwurzel, Ezra Friedlander, David Moskovits, Andrew Friedman, Esq., Michael Birenbaum – historian, The Honorable Emil Fish, Roman Kent – Treasurer, Claims Conference, Julius Berman – Chairman, Claims photo Credit: Shmuel Lenchevsky

Washington - Legislation to recognize World War II hero Raoul Wallenberg with the country’s highest civilian honor was passed unanimously last night by the senate.  The bill, S. 1591, was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, in an effort to award Wallenberg with a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal, in recognition of his heroic acts during the Holocaust and is expected to be signed by President Obama shortly. 

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Below video: Senator Gillibrand talks about Raoul Wallenberg on the Senate floor before the vote July 11 2012.

“Raoul Wallenberg’s heroic rescue of Hungarian Jews during one of the darkest hours of human history exemplifies his outstanding spirit, his dedication to humanity and the responsibility for us all to speak out against atrocities,” Senator Gillibrand told VIN News. “I am proud that Congress has recognized Raoul Wallenberg’s extraordinary and enduring courage by passing my bipartisan bill bestowing him with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

Wallenberg was recruited by President Roosevelt’s War Refugee Board to save Hungarian Jews from deportation in 1944 and was given a diplomatic passport, a large sum of money and instructions to save as many lives as possible, using any means at his disposal.  He is credited with saving more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews over a period of six months by creating multiple safe houses, removing Jews from trains departing to Auschwitz, pursuing convoys carrying Jews, threatening and bribing both German and Hungarian officers and issuing forged identification papers, including the Schutzpass, an impressive looking but counterfeit Swedish passport, which spared the lives of 20,000 Jews.  Wallenberg was arrested by Russian soldiers in January of 1945 and his fate remains unknown.

The Luncheon featured Senator Gillibrand, who introduced the Wallenberg legislation in the Senate From Left to Right: Sidney Greenberger, Stanley Treitel, The Honorable Charles Freeman, Steve Grauer, Jonathan Zalisky, Abe Biderman, Kathryn Soman, Ben Hoffman, Peter Rebenwurzel, Leon Goldenberg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Friedman, Esq, Dr. David Moskovits, The Honorable Emil Fish, Ezra Friedlander, CEO, The Friedlander Group The Luncheon featured Senator Gillibrand, who introduced the Wallenberg legislation in the Senate From Left to Right: Sidney Greenberger, Stanley Treitel, The Honorable Charles Freeman, Steve Grauer, Jonathan Zalisky, Abe Biderman, Kathryn Soman, Ben Hoffman, Peter Rebenwurzel, Leon Goldenberg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Friedman, Esq, Dr. David Moskovits, The Honorable Emil Fish, Ezra Friedlander, CEO, The Friedlander Group

Among those who were saved by Wallenberg was the Liska Rebbe, Rabbi Yoizef Friedlander z’l, whose grandson Ezra Friedlander is CEO of The Friedlander Group, which founded the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission.  This national campaign was established in order to commemorate and publicize Wallenberg’s historic and heroic actions in honor of what would be his 100th birthday.  Among the RWCCC’s initiatives are the renaming of Borough Park’s 13th Avenue, between 36th and 60th Streets, to Wallenberg Way, as well as a joint educational effort in conjunction with Project Witness to have yeshivas and schools include Wallenberg’s heroic efforts in their curriculum. 

“As the world gears up for Wallenberg’s centennial on August 4, 2012, we should remember and celebrate the fact that today, there are hundreds of thousands of American Jews who are the direct descendants of those saved by Raoul Wallenberg,” said Friedlander.  “Special thanks are due to Senator Gillibrand for her hard work and commitment to this historic effort, allowing the world to pay tribute to the extraordinary heroism of Raoul Wallenberg.”

A companion bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Gregory Meeks and Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, both of New York, was unanimously passed on April 16th in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Watch below video: RWCCC hosted a congressional luncheon held on Capitol Hill yesterday, honoring several individuals including Andrew Stevens, a Holocaust survivor who aided Wallenberg in his rescue efforts and marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Claims Conference which negotiated compensation to Nazi victims and their heirs.

Video Credit: Shmuel Lenchevsky



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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM Yechi H. Says:

Congrats to Senator Gillibrand, RWCCC and The Friedlander Group.
Great job!!

2

 Jul 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM lenny Says:

Andrew Stevens is a real hero. He aided Raoul Wallenberg in the rescue of countless jews as detailed in the book 'Rebel With A Cause' - A must read!

Thank you Ezra and The Wallenberg Commission for bringing him to the public's attention.

3

 Jul 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM Idontknow Says:

Congratulations to The Friedlander Group for spearheading this! A true hero will now receive his place in American politics and history.

4

 Jul 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM Yossi G Says:

Nice luncheon and so many important people... Would love to be there

5

 Jul 12, 2012 at 05:23 PM Yankel Says:

Raoul Wallenberg saved Ezra's grandfather the Liska Rebbe so he will get congressional honor , 13 ave renamed 'Wallenberg Way' and all the kovid in the world to him by Ezra . Why does Ezra not Honor Katzner who saved Satmar Rebbe who saved yiddishkeit in America. He should rename Bedford Ave 'Katzners Way'

6

 Jul 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM Wise-Guy Says:

Reply to #5  
Yankel Says:

Raoul Wallenberg saved Ezra's grandfather the Liska Rebbe so he will get congressional honor , 13 ave renamed 'Wallenberg Way' and all the kovid in the world to him by Ezra . Why does Ezra not Honor Katzner who saved Satmar Rebbe who saved yiddishkeit in America. He should rename Bedford Ave 'Katzners Way'

That's because Kastner (not Katzner) did more harm than good.
(Not to mention that the transport still ended up in Bergen-Belsen for 6 months and was ultimately released only when the Orthodox Askanim paid the final ransom.)

What you are saying is like suggesting that The U.S. should honor Benedict Arnold because he was "The hero of Saratoga".
(Before his betrayal, and nearly causing the continental army the loss of West-point, he was actually a hero in numerous battles and was a personal friend of George Washington. It's likely that without Benedict Arnold there would not be a U.S.!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedict_arnold

And yet, due to his dastardly deeds, his name is synonymous with "Traitor" and "Betrayal", and he is infamous in all U.S. history books.

Do you see the similarity with Kastner? In short, he betrayed many thousands of his brethren in the Kluj (Klausenberg) ghetto, and among other nefarious deeds, he got Kurt Becher Y'S freed at Nuremberg.

7

 Jul 12, 2012 at 08:30 PM Benny Says:

Reply to #5  
Yankel Says:

Raoul Wallenberg saved Ezra's grandfather the Liska Rebbe so he will get congressional honor , 13 ave renamed 'Wallenberg Way' and all the kovid in the world to him by Ezra . Why does Ezra not Honor Katzner who saved Satmar Rebbe who saved yiddishkeit in America. He should rename Bedford Ave 'Katzners Way'

Raoul Wallenberg saved not only the Liska Rebbe but over 100.000 people. However Rudolf Kastner did save over 1600 Hungarian Jews among them the Satmar Rebbe. Let Satmar lobby on his behalf and if Ezra seeks to honor him also, so be it.

8

 Jul 12, 2012 at 08:43 PM Lea Says:

Reply to #4  
Yossi G Says:

Nice luncheon and so many important people... Would love to be there

Was it for the public? Next time please report on it in advance. Looks very interesting on the video.

9

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