From the office of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, Canberra, 15 April 2013:I am pleased to announce that the late Raoul Wallenberg will be recognised as an honorary Australian citizen.
This is the first time that Australia has bestowed such an honour.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who led an extraordinary rescue operation in Hungary during World War II.
He saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by issuing protective passports and providing shelter in diplomatic buildings.
Tragically, Raoul Wallenberg did not return to Sweden. He was arrested by Soviet troops in January 1945 and his fate remains a mystery.
Mr Wallenberg has been recognised as an honorary citizen of the United States of America, Canada, Hungary and Israel.
Many monuments, buildings, streets, schools and other institutions around the world bear his name.
He was awarded the honour of ‘Righteous among the Nations’ by Yad Vashem, the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust.
The lives of those he rescued are Mr Wallenberg’s greatest memorial and Australia is honoured to have survivors he rescued living in Australia today.
The Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, will host the presentation of a certificate of honorary Australian citizenship at Government House, Canberra, on Monday, 6 May 2013.
The award is made in the year of the centenary of Mr Wallenberg’s birth.
The award of honorary Australian citizenship is symbolic recognition of Mr Wallenberg’s tireless devotion to human life during the Holocaust.