13th Ave renamed for Raoul Wallenberg, Swede who saved 100,000 Jews

December 6, 2012 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park) will hold a ceremony to unveil a new street sign dedicating a stretch of 13th Avenue in memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat whose efforts saved more than 100,000 Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis in Hungary during World War II.

The ceremony will take place on the corner of 13th Avenue and 50th Street on Sunday, Dec. 9, at noon. Greenfield and Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn Heights) worked for passage of a bill in the City Council to authorize the renaming of 13th Avenue between 36th and 60th streets “Raoul Wallenberg Way” in honor of the late diplomat.

The new street sign will formally co-name the Borough Park stretch of 13th Avenue as “Raoul Wallenberg Way,” Greenfield said.

The City Council approved the bill earlier this year at the urging of Greenfield and Lander who said they wanted to ensure that Wallenberg’s legacy and heroic efforts would be remembered for generations to come.

The co-naming is the centerpiece of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission’s efforts throughout the year to commemorate Wallenberg’s 100th birthday.

“I am proud to lead the effort to honor Raoul Wallenberg and urge the entire community to join us for this historic event. Quite literally, there are thousands of people in our community who would not be here today but for Mr. Wallenberg’s intervention,” Greenfield said.

“I look forward to joining with the community to pay tribute to the life of Raoul Wallenberg. His actions saved so many lives during the Holocaust. He is a hero not just for Jews, but for all of humanity, and his story should never be forgotten,” Lander said.

Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who put his life on hold in the summer of 1944 and embarked on a mission that led to the saving of as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews who were otherwise bound for death in Nazi concentration camps. He devised a plan to issue Swedish “protective passports” and establish safe houses in buildings throughout Budapest, Hungary, where he was stationed.

Borough Park is home to the largest population of Holocaust survivors in the United States, and many local families trace their lineage to individuals saved by Raoul Wallenberg, according to Greenfield.

In addition to local elected officials and community leaders, honorary Consul General of Hungary Karoly Dan and honorary Consul General of Sweden David E. R. Dangoor are scheduled to attend the event.

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