Department of Canadian Heritage

Department of Canadian Heritage

January 17, 2017 12:02 ET

Statement by Minister Joly on Raoul Wallenberg Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 17, 2017) -

Today, Canada pays tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat whose incredible courage and determination saved more than 100,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary.

Mr. Wallenberg risked his own life to grant Jews in Budapest and on the trains with certificates that provided diplomatic immunity and saved them from deportation to concentration camps. He also established a network of safe houses, nurseries, hospitals and soup kitchens for those fleeing persecution. While his unconventional methods were questioned at first, they soon inspired diplomats from other neutral countries to follow suit, saving even more lives.

On January 17, 1945, Mr. Wallenberg was taken into Soviet custody, never to be seen again. Mr. Wallenberg was granted honorary Canadian citizenship in 1985. In 2001, the Government of Canada designated January 17 as Raoul Wallenberg Day, and a Canadian stamp was issued in his honour in 2013.

As Minister of Canadian Heritage, and as minister responsible for multiculturalism, I encourage all Canadians to reflect on Wallenberg's inspirational heroism-how a single brave and compassionate individual was able to transform history.

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Contact Information

  • Pierre-Olivier Herbert
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage