Sunday, April 15, 2007

Raoul Wallenberg

How many of you know who he is/was? I admit I did not know a great deal about him but I did know that he single handedly saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during WWII.

He was a Swedish diplomat who issued Swedish passports to anyone who could provide the flimsiest of detail that linked them to Scandanavia. The German and Hungarian authorities knew what he was doing but stayed silent as they needed Swedish iron ore and chrome. The Swedes knew what he was doing but stayed silent because they were reaping the benefits of an intelligentsia diaspora. The Russians knew about him too but they could do nothing as they were too far away; until 1945.

Raoul Wallenberg disappeared in 1945 when the Red Army took Budapest. What should have been a rescue and celebration turned into a mystery that has never really been solved. What happened to him? Was he shot? The Russians say he died of natural causes in the Lyubianka in 1947.

No matter what happened it is a travesty. It is a shame that such a good man was left behind. Such a shame that he is now almost forgotten everywhere except Israel and Hungary. I ran across the pics from a trip to Budapest in 2003. I was alone in the park and just thought and thought about what had happened in this cultured and cosmopolitan city. How short our memories are! How focused we are on the here and now! How shallow and trite we can be at times. I wonder who is a modern day Raoul Wallenberg. I'll bet that every day in Iraq there is some unsung person who risks their life for the benefit of others. Some one who does it not for any national, tribal, or religious reason. They do it because it is just "The right thing to do."

Some one still knows and cares. I found pebbles, candles and this yarmaluke. Jews will leave pebbles and stones on the graves or headstones of those they love or admire. I think I remember my good friend Maxwell telling me that it had to do with an ancient belief that you helped to keep the dead at rest because you replenished the earth.

There is a group dedicated to find those who deserve to be recognized. The Raoul Wallenberg Committee were founded not only to memorialize him, but to recognize those who are doing great things. They do this for love of man, no other reason.

Here is why I write this today. In all this mess where are the unsung heroes? I know they are there, you know they are there but you don't hear about them because if it bleeds it leads and good news is page 3 filler. Shame on the MSM for not looking for more Raoul Wallenbergs. Shame on us for almost forgetting him completely.

I wish that the MSM would turn all those powerful resources out to help us find the Raoul Wallenbergs out there. Maybe the fact that I still find him to be a pertinent, contemporary hero is my pebble to leave behind.

When the war is all said and done I will write a book. I have been thinking about this for a long time. I'm not the best writer and my personal story is not one of glory and hand to hand combat but it is a thinkers story. It will be a tedious plod through the detail and behind the scenes effort that it takes to support and wage modern war. It will also be the story of my search for Lava, Raoul Wallenberg, and the ever elusive beer.

It will also be about my long suffering family. It will be about my beautiful wife and her maddening efforts to run the family in an alien culture (Texas), my son who grows up without his daddy, my sister who quietly leads the clan, and my father who I share so much with and converse with so little. It will be a story of love.

2 Comments:

Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 04/16/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Mamabear said...

God bless you. A wonderful writer. And a REAL thinker. I got chills as I read yer piece. Thankyou for the memory, I knew of this man.....thanx for keeping him alive.

4:42 AM  

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