Morris County Honors 78th Anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg's Disappearance: A Hero Who Saved Thousands during WWII


Community leaders and residents assemble at Smith Field Park to commemorate the legacy of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who protected tens of thousands of Jewish Hungarians from Nazi persecution.

Earlier this month, dignitaries and visitors from around Morris County gathered at Smith Field Park, Parsippany-Troy Hills, to mark the 78th anniversary of the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat known for his courageous efforts in saving thousands of Jewish lives during World War II.

The Commemoration:

  • Who: Participants included local religious leaders, veterans, Swedish consulate representatives, Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus, Mayor James Barberio, and other dignitaries.
  • What: An annual ceremony called "Courage and Compassion: Remembering Raoul Wallenberg," held at a sculpture erected in Wallenberg’s honor.
  • When: Earlier this month, marking the 78th anniversary of Wallenberg's disappearance in 1945.
  • Where: Smith Field Park, Parsippany-Troy Hills.
  • Why: To celebrate the humanitarian message and legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, who provided refuge to tens of thousands of Jewish Hungarians during the Holocaust.
  • How: A gathering featuring speeches, remembrances, and the placement of white roses at the Wallenberg monument.

Wallenberg, born in Stockholm, Sweden on August 4th, 1912, was recruited by the U.S. War Refugee Board in 1944. With no prior diplomatic experience, he coordinated one of the most effective rescue missions during the Holocaust, saving 100,000 Jewish Hungarians from deportation to Auschwitz. Through forged "Certificates of Protection," the establishment of safe houses, and a collaborative effort with diplomats, Wallenberg provided protection and refuge.

Commissioner Director Krickus also paid tribute to two local Jewish figures, Harry Ettlinger and Edward Mosberg, who had unique connections to WWII and Holocaust history. Their stories resonate with the broader message of perseverance, resilience, and the commitment to never forget the lessons of history.

Krickus paraphrased a speech by George Washington, emphasizing the ideals of safety, freedom from bigotry, and solidarity in the United States. He stated, “We have learned the lessons of history, and we will never forget.”

The fate of Wallenberg, who disappeared in 1945 after being taken into custody by Russian soldiers, remains unknown. His selfless heroism continues to be an enduring symbol of courage and compassion, transcending generations and inspiring the values of humanitarianism.

The ceremony resonates with the residents of Morris County, reminding them of the importance of unity, empathy, and the collective responsibility to preserve and honor the values of human dignity and compassion. The gathering not only celebrates a historical figure but also affirms a commitment to shared values and the memories of those in the community who were personally affected by the horrors of the Holocaust.


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