President honored by Wallenberg group

  • 2000-08-03
New York - The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has decided by unanimous agreement to include in its honorable list of heads of state the President Vaira Vike- Freiberga, to further broadcast the humanitarian values that lead to global reconciliation.

"Latvia joins the nations distinguished by the light that emanates from the torch of solidarity and her president is honored in the name of her country," said Baruch Tenembaum, founder.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, based in New York and Jerusalem, is involved with projects, exhibits, and seminars in order to make known the collaboration of Latvia through educational centers located on five continents with the cooperation of institutions that support the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

The foundation's goal when established in 1997 was to promote the deeds of the Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg. He served with the Swedish legation in Budapest at the end of World War II and is credited with saving the lives of thousands of Jews in Europe's largest remaining community by issuing "schutz-passes" on behalf of the Swedish crown. These became "passports to life" for people otherwise marked for extermination at Auschwitz and other death camps. After being arrested by Soviet forces after the 'liberation" of Budapest, he was never heard from again.

President Freiberga will join former U.S. President Gerald Ford, Jean Chretien, prime minister of Canada, Thomas Klestil, president of Austria and 12 other heads of state and Elie Wiesel and Jose Ramos-Horta, both Nobel Peace Prize winners.