In memory of the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jewish people in Hungary during the Second World War, the Swedish Embassy in Israel launched a special YouTube channel. At the moment, the channel features four videos that tell the stories of survivors who were personally saved by Wallenberg’s actions. The embassy plans to add more videos soon.
Swedish Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser Photo Credit: Eva Taylor
Last week, the Swedish Embassy in Israel launched a special YouTube channel in memory of Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who served in Budapest during the Second World War. He helped thousands of Jewish people escape the Nazis by handing out “Schutzpasses,” special Swedish passports that protected their owners from the Nazis, establishing Swedish homes that were used as safe havens for Jewish people and more.
The YouTube channel was launched during a special event at the Ambassador of Sweden’s residence in Herzliya Pituah on Thursday, the exact date of Wallenberg’s disappearance in 1945. “One of the main goals of the project is to perpetuate the memory and works of Raoul Wallenberg, to spread to a broad audience the stories of the people who were saved thanks to him, to remember, and preserve the stories for generations to come,” explained the embassy in a press release.
As part of the launch, four videos were uploaded to the channel. Each video tells the story of a person who survived the Holocaust thanks to Wallenberg. In front of the camera, they explain how their survival is linked to Wallenberg’s actions. The embassy plans to meet with more Holocaust survivors linked to Wallenberg’s actions and upload additional videos in the future.
The four Holocaust survivors who shared their stories Photo Credit: Eva Taylor
Shmuel Barzilay was one of the Holocaust survivors who spoke about his survival. He was born in Austria but fled with his family to Hungary when the Germans invaded in 1938. A few years later, the Germans invaded Hungary and forced his family to live in a ghetto. Barzilay eventually fled the ghetto alone, living on the streets and stealing food in order to survive. He made it to one of the designated Swedish safe houses eventually and pretended to be the son of a woman who had a Schutzpass for her son who had been taken already by the Germans.
Watch: Barzilay reveals how Raoul Wallenberg saved his life
On one December night, Barzilay explains, all of the occupants of the house were woken up from their sleep and ordered to run outside and form a line quickly. “As we were standing outside in the cold waiting, a car came driving towards us,” recalls Barzilay in his video. “A man stepped out of the car and walked over to the commander and started to argue loudly. Soon the commander gave orders to let us all go back. Later, I was told that the man was Raoul Wallenberg. He was the one who saved us.” Barzilay then reveals that the commander and his men intended to take the occupants of the Swedish home to the place that is now known as the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial site.
“Raoul Wallenberg’s story demonstrates the strong connection between the Swedish nation and the Jewish people,” stated Swedish Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser. “The testimonies that the survivors reveal in front of the camera are heartwarming and touch each one of us. We all hope that these rare materials will be viewed by the next generations. It’s important to remember and never forget.”