The Street of the Righteous Gentile

(Image By: heydayjoe)

(Image By: heydayjoe)

Renamed by an Act of Congress in 1985, Raoul Wallenberg Place SW is the stretch of 15th Street SW on which the Holocaust Museum is located.

While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest from July to December 1944, Raoul Wallenberg successfully rescued tens of thousands of people from certain death by issuing protective passports and sheltering Hungarian Jews in buildings that he rented and designated as official Swedish territory. He was later arrested by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and died at the hands of the KGB in 1947.

One of the thousands saved by Wallenberg was U.S. House Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif., in office 1981-2008), the only Holocaust survivor to have served in the U.S. Congress.

Other streets named after Wallenberg include Raoul Wallenberg Street in Jerusalem, Place Raoul Wallenberg in Montreal, Raoul Wallenberg Boulevard in Charleston, S.C., and Raoul Wallenberg Avenue in Trenton, N.J.

It’s not surprising that many countries want to claim this heroic guy as their own: Wallenberg is an honorary citizen of the United States (the second, after Winston Churchill), Israel, Hungary, Australia and Canada (the first honorary citizen of Canada).

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