Statement by Minister Chagger on Raoul Wallenberg Day

From: Canadian Heritage

Today, we celebrate Raoul Wallenberg Day to pay tribute to the memory of this Swedish diplomat whose ingenious humanitarian acts saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.

A hero honoured throughout the world, Mr. Wallenberg risked his own life to lead one of the largest aid operations of the Nazi era and provide Hungarian Jews with a special protective passport, the Schutz-Pass. This passport, which bore the symbols and colours of Sweden, made it possible to save Hungarian Jews from deportation and Nazi extermination camps. Mr. Wallenberg also protected a number of other Jews by creating a network of shelters, such as hospitals, safe houses, childcare centres and soup kitchens.

Mr. Wallenberg was captured by Soviet forces on January 17, 1945, and to this day, there are no exact explanations for his tragic disappearance. In 2001, the Government of Canada designated January 17 Raoul Wallenberg Day to honour the memory of this great man. He became Canada’s first honorary citizen in 1985, and Canada Post released a stamp bearing his likeness in 2013.

As Minister of Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, I want to reiterate our shared responsibility to fight prejudice and racism in all their forms, and to never let hate take root in our communities. On this Raoul Wallenberg Day, let us remember that Canada is strong because of its diversity.

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