Letters and Dispatches 1924-1944

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One of the most remarkable and stirring episodes of World War II involved a young Swede from a distinguished banking family named Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg had watched the progress of the war and the treatment of the Jews from his neutral country with growing horror and the burning ambition to do something. When in June of 1944 he was approached to oversee a rescue operation of Hungarian Jews being deported to the death camps by Adolf Eichmann, he accepted this clearly perilous and probably hopeless mission ...
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Overview

One of the most remarkable and stirring episodes of World War II involved a young Swede from a distinguished banking family named Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg had watched the progress of the war and the treatment of the Jews from his neutral country with growing horror and the burning ambition to do something. When in June of 1944 he was approached to oversee a rescue operation of Hungarian Jews being deported to the death camps by Adolf Eichmann, he accepted this clearly perilous and probably hopeless mission without hesitation. Hurriedly accorded diplomatic status by his own government, Wallenberg arrived in Budapest in early July of 1944. By the time of his arrest by the Soviet army on January 17, 1945, roughly six months later, he had helped to save the lives of over 100,000 people. Gathering together several elements of Wallenberg's written record, Letters and Dispatches, 1924-1944 marks the fiftieth anniversary of his tragic and still mysterious disappearance and offers some answers. At the heart of this collection is the correspondence between Raoul and his paternal and sternly patrician grandfather Gustaf Wallenberg, who had pledged to support his fatherless grandson so long as Raoul studied and worked outside of Sweden. He urged Raoul to go to America. In the fall of 1931, Raoul matriculated at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to study architecture and spent four years observing and admiring a country lifting itself up from the depths of the Depression. He also hitchhiked to California, studied New York's skyscrapers, worked at the World's Fair in Chicago, and drove a pickup truck to Mexico City, all the while engaged in a spirited exchange of ideas and impressions with his grandfather. Gustaf's plan was for Raoul to distinguish himself abroad and then, using contacts he himself would supply at the right moment, to go back to Sweden and begin a career. Dutiful though increasingly restless, Raoul obeyed his grandfather's directives and worked in

Few figures in our century have been as revered as Raoul Wallenberg, who saved over 100,000 Jews from Nazi death camps. From the letters he wrote as a student in America, through to his last dispatches from Budapest, where he engaged in his historic mission, here, in his own words, is Raoul Wallenberg. 8-page photo insert.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
During WWII, Wallenberg, a young Swedish businessman, devoted his organizational skills and negotiating talents to rescuing some 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Germans. He was a trade representative in Budapest when, in 1944, he was recruited by the War Refugee Board and, as he writes, began to ``save lives that the rest of the world had given up for lost.'' When the Soviet Army liberated Budapest in 1945, Wallenberg was unaccountably arrested and sent to Moscow's Lyubyanka Prison; his subsequent fate remains a mystery. This welcome collection of his letters and diplomatic reports consists largely of correspondence with his beloved grandfather, Gustave Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat whose influence on Raoul was profound. Raoul Wallenberg's letters reveal his decency, independence and adventurousness. Although the editor of the collection receives no credit line on the title page, the book was edited in-house by Arcade editor Tim Bent (who also procured Wallenberg's letters). One hopes this book will rekindle interest in resolving the circumstances of this Holocaust hero's death. Photos. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The heroic efforts of the legendary Swede Wallenberg to save Hungarian Jews from the clutches of the Nazis are renowned. The fascinating letters in this collection, primarily correspondence between grandson and grandfather over a period of seven formative years, reveal much of the character development of this remarkable individual. Urged by his grandfather, who was intrigued by the American spirit and culture, young Wallenberg earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. While the book also contains dispatches from wartime Budapest and letters to his mother during the last days before the Soviet invasion, no light is shed on the reason for Wallenberg's capture and mysterious disappearance in Soviet Russia. Board's impeccable translation, explanatory notes, and comments make this book a readable and valuable contribution toward appreciation of a true 20th-century hero. Highly recommended.-Carol R. Glatt, Philadelphia VA Medical Ctr.
Booknews
On January 17, 1945, Raoul Wallenberg, one of the great heroes of WWII, disappeared. Six months before, he had, at Sweden's behest, helped save over 100,000 Hungarian Jews from slaughter by the Nazis. This revealing record brings together all that exists of the written record of Wallenberg's life. It consists of correspondence between the young, fatherless Raoul and his mother and grandparents; his 1944 dispatches from Budapest, where he was assigned to oversee a rescue operation; and his final letters to his mother before his disappearance. First published in 1987 in Sweden. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gilbert Taylor
Wallenberg, the Swedish businessman who in 1944 sheltered about 100,000 Hungarian Jews from Eichmann's dragnet, rates a unique place as one of the lonely heroes of resistance to the Holocaust. That, plus his personal tragedy of being kidnapped and probably executed by the Soviets, has earned him a martyr-like status that obscures the real man. Judging from the letters among family members in this collection, Raoul was an upper-class drifter, highly capable to be sure, but rather dilatory in settling on a career. During the war, family connections landed him in Budapest as a company representative, and following the Nazi coup in March 1944, Wallenberg became the Swedish legate with a mandate to rescue as many Jews as possible. The ensuing weeks, he wrote to his mother, were the "most interesting of my life." Complemented by Arcade's reissue at the same time of Kati Marton's "Wallenberg: Missing Hero" ($11.95, 1-55970-276-1), this important collection contributes to the Holocaust Museum's tribute to Wallenberg next January, the fiftieth anniversary of his disappearance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559702751
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/17/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Raoul Wallenberg was born in 1912 and grew up as part of a distinguished banking family in Sweden. At his grandfather’s behest, he spent much of his young adulthood abroad and received a degree in architecture from the University of Michigan in 1935. After his grandfather’s death in 1937, Wallenberg returned to Europe. He was approached in 1944 to oversee a rescue operation of Hungarian Jews being deported to the death camps by Adolf Eichmann. By the time of his arrest by the Soviet army on January 17, 1945, roughly six months later, Wallenberg had helped to save the lives of over 100,000 people.

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