Remembrance is the medium in the life of a nation, a political or cultural community that enables it to prolong its existence.

Remembering is the act that is the precondition for proceeding from the irreversible, but never sealed past to the present and the future. Without the knowledge revealed by remembering and stemming from remembrance, without facing and confronting memories, not mankind, not a single nation, not a single individual can develop historical consciousness. And without historical consciousness, we would not be able to find our right orientation in the course of our history, or to understand our own fate.

The tragedy of the Holocaust in Hungary had not been talked over almost until the transition of the1990s. Sweeping the horrors of the 20th century under the carpet for more than forty years has in itself caused wounds  so deep in the Hungarian historical consciousness that its consequences can be felt up to the present day. Although the huge majority of our society condemns and rejects without hesitation any discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, or on any other ground, an evaluation of the past, or even unveiling specific facts can sometimes stir up strong emotions.

This is why the Government of Hungary considers its moral and political obligation to deal with the past consistently, and to formulate clear moral value judgments that pave the road from the past through the present to the future along the most noble European traditions.,

Raoul Wallenberg is the emblematic figure of the rescuer during the period of the Holocaust in Hungary. When remembering the centenary of his birth, the silhouette of hope also shines through the scenes of atrocities and the shadows of the culprits: the silhouette of the Swedish diplomat and other self-sacrificing foreign rescuers, the countless Hungarian and Jewish helpers, the many priests, pastors, soldiers, workers and farmers.

Nevertheless, Wallenberg’s fate has a further tragic dimension: not long after confronting a totalitarian system with his bold and efficient actions of rescue, he himself became the victim of another oppressive regime. He was abducted by the Soviets on 17 January 1945, never to return again. This turn of his still unclear fate displays a peculiar similarity to that of another rescuer, the Hungarian János Esterházy.

We are proud of all the rescuers active in Hungary, we are proud that they were able to remain human amidst inhumanity.

Hungary will never allow anti-Semitism, racism or prejudices gain the upper hand, nor any intolerance or discrimination based on ethnic origin, religious beliefs or political convictions.

Only thus can we be worthy of the memory of Raoul Wallenberg.

Zsolt Németh

Parliamentary State Secretary 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary,
Chairperson of the Wallenberg
Commemorative Committee