Notebook

Righteousness

When at sunrise this morning, just below the monastery of Strahov in Prague, I found myself in a street named after Raoul Wallenberg, I felt as if I had unexpectedly bumped into an old friend.

I was first confronted with the facts of his life in 1990 through Kjell Grede’s film, Good Evening Mr Wallenberg. In 2012, reviewing two new books on Wallenberg, Inger Dahlman wrote: “In Budapest Raoul Wallenberg was transformed from a dansant élégant always surrounded by beautiful women into a man who, at the end, was unshaven, sweaty, and bleary-eyed, falling asleep for sheer exhaustion as soon as he sat down, though never tiring in his endeavour to find new ways of saving lives.”

The example of Wallenberg shows what nobility human nature can reach in one whose conscience is awakened – and how such awakening comes about. It is a scandal that the circumstances surrounding Wallenberg’s death remain an enigma. May the memory of this man, honoured as ‘Righteous among the Nations‘, never perish.